ISO Standards

Standards & Standardisation

August 8, 2013

Why standards don't have to mean standardisation

Every organisation is different, but many consultants seem to forget this when they embark upon an ISO certification contract. They'll give you out of the box frameworks to "install" in your own organisation. At first this might seem organised, credible and prepared. But does it make life easier in the long run?

We don't think so.

We believe that the way to make ISO really valuable, is to tailor the approach to your organisation as far as reasonably possible. NOT to tailor your organisation to fit the approach.

Every ISO standard has a set of requirements, but we see little value in creating new processes or documents for each. Doing so would only serve to burden your staff. Wherever possible, try to meet the requirements using existing business practice and processes.

For example; many organisations already have perfectly good controls for lots of areas of their business. Standards do not require you to duplicate these - that only leads to confusion and contradiction. Instead the purpose is simply to make sure everyone follows best practice. So instead, centre your management system around a 'sign post diagram' that makes it easy to understand the controls and locate the supporting documents. This is where process maps can be really useful - they remove the need for wordy documents and replace them with simple, structured information. For more information or ideas about simplifying your management system please feel free to get in touch.

In conclusion, you're probably closer than you think to achieving certification. Don't let your consultant over complicate things and create a new process for every requirement. Keep it simple, efficient and integrate the standards into your existing practices.

By Paul Stevens

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