Automation is the future for ISO Standards!
We have all seen the headlines telling us that robots are taking over in manufacturing and we have had many versions of the science fiction theory that robots will take over the world – well it is coming closer!
Rest assured, I am not referring to a military takeover, nor anything detrimental at all actually! I am referring to the fact that more and more the possibility exists to have programmes take over some of the grunt work behind bureaucracy and tedious repetitive daily grind. Throw in the fact that when it is hooked up correctly, this results in better re ordering of details, trends, nuances and patterns and you can see how these can be better analysed to identify more sensitive indicators to market directions, more precise spotting of quality issues at earlier stages and quicker response times to issues before they turn into problems, than ever before.
What is happening is an ability to ascertain the root causes earlier – leading to prompter action and resulting in less downtime/financial loss/customer dissatisfaction. Alternatively, it allows us to see where we can improve further than ever before with more productivity/profit/customer and staff satisfaction.
So where is this new revolution? Actually, it is not that new – it has been happening piecemeal in the background for a while, but it is starting to break through to mainstream. It is in the daily control of systems. Documentation, training, auditing and purchasing have experienced this already and now it is moving into development of management systems, installation of controls and cross checking of activities.
Specifically, the ISO Business Management systems are getting automated. While there is still need for human control of the systems, the installations are becoming sufficiently automated that there will be a time when ISO consultancy will fall away. It will always be necessary, but more and more, clients will be doing most of the work in tandem with the computer programmes that lead them through the process.
Remember – this is my field – I run a network of ISO consultants – and I am predicting that our work will decline. I prefer to say it as I see it and note, as I certainly feel, that it is better to go with the flow. This will happen more and more and we should not stand in the way and expect the changes to go away!
I know of several automated ISO system programmes now – in 9001, 14001, 45001 and 27001 – with more to come. They offer a number of advantages:
- They are as fast or slow to install as the organisation wants them to be
- They ensure that you have everything you need to gain certification
- They provide direct links between what you do and the clauses in the Standards
- The auditing by the certifier is facilitated as everything is in the history logs
- They can be installed without additional ISO consultants in many cases
- They can be installed with less ISO consultancy in all cases
- Over time your organisation will know and understand the systems far deeper
- They can be up to 10 times cheaper to install than previously!
There are some disadvantages too:
- If you don’t know anything about ISO standards, this may be quite a learning curve – but that was going to be the case anyway – it is just that you may not have an ISO consultant to hand with the automated systems
- You may find that you are not sure where to stop – adding controls where they are not needed
- Combining them with existing ISO systems will be more difficult unless the existing systems shift to automated set-ups as well (but that would potentially be cheaper in the long run anyway)
Notwithstanding these comments, there are a few other areas of interest:
- Those standards specific to particular industries sectors (aviation, automotive, medical devices, laboratory competence etc) will still require a specialist consultant if the organisation has never used the standard before. They are simply too complex and too uniquely focused to let programmes sort this kind of approach at this time (maybe not for ever, but it will be quite a while).
- Auditing of automated systems will revolutionise certification – with assessment visits being capable of being carried out from offsite (via cloud) – not every year and not for all aspects of the system, but enough that costs should come down and certifiers become more flexible. This is my opinion, rather than fact, but there seem to me to be enough smaller certifiers that will do this to improve their business reach that others will get left behind if they don’t follow suit.
- Automation is here to stay and early movers get a huge advantage over late-comers – namely that their systems will be less demanding of human time – and consequently should be more productive.
With productivity being the current focus of attention in the UK’s economic markets (again), this should sound a very attractive proposition.
If you want to find out more, please contact Carl Kruger on 0345 800 6975