Greater attention to health and safety standards and global environmental awareness are increasing the demand for management system standards within engineering industry. Such standards include: ISO 9001 Quality Management; ISO 14001 Environmental Management; BS OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management; ISO/IEC 27001 Information Security Management; ISO/IEC 20000 IT Service Management.
In addition, high profile industrial accidents and the obsolescence of older equipment have increased the sense of vulnerability among manufacturers, leading to greater demands for organisations to implement robust management systems.
Many organisations that successfully establish a management system develop their business processes further and go on to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of a number of standards. These share common elements. All management systems standards are written around ISO Guide 72, which is a standard for writing management systems standards. Guide 72 states that all management systems standards should be built around Plan, Do, Check, Act and the six common requirements, which are: Policy; Planning; Implementation and operation; Performance assessment; Continual improvement and Management review. PAS 99 asks for an organisation to have ONE system built around the above and not two or more systems, as is probably the case at the moment.
Image: Guide 72 states management systems should be built around Plan, Do, Check, Act
REDUCING COSTS AND AUDITS
Having an integrated system that runs your organisation and addresses all of a company's objectives at once will not only help improve operational efficiency within the business, but also reduce the cost and disruption of numerous internal and external audits.
An integrated management system, such as that described in PAS 99, is designed to optimise operational performance and ensure compliance in strategic areas of a business. PAS 99 was published on the 31 August 2007. There are about 170 registered clients with BSI in the UK. (BSI is considering a British Standard for Integrated Management Systems, but this is still under discussion. ISO has also looked at this, but there is still no clear commitment at the moment, while any agreement is compounded by the involvement of several international committees which must agree on a way forward.)
The management system standard helps demonstrate that a business is meeting all of its responsibilities, and gives confidence to potential customers, suppliers, investors and stakeholders. Furthermore, implementation and certification to an integrated system can save a business money through having one management system, not many competing ones, and can make a real difference to the bottom line.
PAS 99 is particularly applicable to businesses within the engineering sector that will be concerned with integrating processes and systems management in the following areas:
• Maintaining and preserving the quality of the products they manufacture;
• Ensuring safe work environments, through robust health and safety practices; and
• Appreciating the environmental impact of their activities and maintaining sustainable business practice.
A SYSTEM FOR ALL
PAS 99 can be implemented regardless of the size or sector of the business, and provides the framework for a holistic set of documentation, policies, objectives, procedures and processes. In some ways, an integrated management system is probably more relevant to small companies than larger organisations, since small companies will not want three or four burdensome management systems when they can get away with one. Implementation is also often easier for a smaller company.
Certification to PAS 99 offers the following benefits to the engineering industry:
• Increased operational efficiency;
• A holistic approach to managing business risks;
• Reduced duplication and bureaucracy;
• Less conflict between systems;
• Improved communication, both internal and external;
• Enhanced business focus; and
• Improved staff morale and motivation.
The minimum number of standards for an integrated management system is two. If an organisation is busy implementing two or more management systems at the same time, an integrated management system can help the business achieve compliance more quickly and effectively by creating a single holistic system and reducing duplication of work.
A typical integrated management system might include two or more of the standards mentioned earlier.
At the outset, implementing an integrated management system may seem a daunting undertaking. One of the most important tasks is to establish a sensible time frame for implementation through, first, deciding on the scope of the Integrated Management System and, then, producing a project plan that includes everybody, especially senior management.
For a small business, the minimum time for implementation will be approximately six months. However, more realistically a business will be looking at 9 months to a year. Like any business project, the implementation will depend on the amount of time and financial resources committed to the initiative. Successful and swift implementation is much more likely, if senior management are fully bought into the concept.
Like any other management system, the maintenance of a PAS 99 integrated management system is subject to ongoing reviews, assessments and audits. However, as the system matures the maintenance activity should get easier, due to the continual improvement of the organisation.
Taking the right steps
BSI suggests the following steps to successful implementation:
1. Buy the standard – before preparing for your application, you will require a copy of the standard;
2. Make contact – get in touch with a certification body that will be able to understand your needs and give you a proposal detailing the expected cost and likely time involved;
3. Consider training – whether you are seeking to fully implement an integrated management system or would like to increase your general awareness of the standard, there are a range of workshops, seminars and training courses available to help you;
4. Meet your assessment team – your assessor should develop a strong understanding of your business area and support you as you move forward to the assessment and registration of your integrated management systems;
5. Gap analysis (also called a pre-assessment) – review your existing management system against the requirements of the PAS 99 standard and identify any omissions or weaknesses that need resolving before formal assessment;
6. Review and assessment – BSI will do a desktop review of your management system against PAS 99 and identify any omissions or weaknesses that need resolving before formal assessment. Once these have been addressed, a full on-site assessment will be conducted;
7. Certification and beyond – once the assessment has been successfully completed, a certificate of registration will be issued, clearly explaining the scope of your management system. The certificate is valid for three years and your assessor will visit you regularly to help you make sure you remain compliant, and support you in the continual improvement of your systems.
First published in Machinery, October 2009