From Michael Haycock, Sr. BRC Quality Consultant
Tid – bit
noun : A small and particularly interesting item of information.
“The System Belongs to the Organization”
As the standards change and your organization looks at the effort, some of you may not go forward with the changes as identified in the draft document for ISO 9001:2015. Some of this will be due to the comprehensive nature of changes in “your” world where there never seems to be enough time to get everything done. These will be changes comparable to your ISO 9001 system going from 1994 to 2000 – if what is currently in draft actually occurs. The changes are significant and dramatic.
Now – from what I have read – there will be value to your organization with these changes. So…even if you’re prepared to make this effort…is the work effort going to be compounded by the relationship with your registrar?
In the last year I have had more examples shared with me of instances where the registrar’s auditor has “told” you what to do to address requirements. That was never to be the case. When I worked on the registration side of the business we were told very clearly by our director that the requirement of the standard was to be understood…and if the organization didn’t understand then it should be explained. It was then clearly the responsibility of the organization to decide what was necessary to address this.
Standards were not developed for registration. They were developed to benefit the organization by providing structure and direction. Registrations are one way to confirm this. The registrar has to be a partner…not an entity that adds to your challenge.
“Value Stream Mapping (VSM)”
This does not have to be complicated (but can be made so). It is apparent, at least to me, that there are any number of tools or activities that have been made to appear complicated…mostly so that you will need a great deal of assistance. It also seems that complicated equals expensive, but it doesn’t need to.
Within a company it is essential that the “organization” understands how it operates. Some will disagree but most often this is the case: because people change, customers change, expectations change…the one constant is change.
To me, common sense says that at least every year or two the organization should look at itself and say:
- What do we do that has value to our customers?
- What do we do that has value to our organization?
- What is the reason we are doing the rest?
I realize that VSM has more bells and whistles, but for simplicity sake this is what we need to do. The first step is mapping out our processes – as you are expected to do for your Management System, in any case. The value comes from at least identifying and hopefully removing those activities that provide no agreed upon value. This, in turn, keeps the focus on “effective, efficient”…or as one of my bosses used to say…”nimble”.
Now simple is not the same as easy. NO! The one concept I remember from physics is “inertia”. It is a devil of an effort to move from the status quo. I made a particular effort some years ago when I found that many reports were printed (batch) and the hard copy report was actually sent to a particular branch or location (I know…ancient). Probably 25% of the printed reports were shredded at the corporate Head Office AFTER printing because there was no “owner” that wanted the document. As a corporate administrative manager I decided that this was insane (no big leap) and communicated that removal of the unneeded documents would be carried out. This would speed up processing time and cut out what had to be tens of thousands of dollars spent on “shred before reading” documents.
I allowed 5 working days to respond, and within 2 days I had a response from the corporate lawyer saying that they would be sending a hit man for me if I went ahead with this. (OK…not in those exact words…but I got the message.) Somehow the waste seemed better than the change. That organization is no longer around.
Even with its challenges, the Value Stream Mapping has value. If you can’t change the world…change one small part!