Don’t use templates to achieve ISO standards!
I was recently contacted out of the blue and asked to help complete some ISO templates that they had attached. I read the attachments they sent and I could see why they were having difficulty working out how to complete the templates.
The templates were not very well structured and were out of date – some were dated over 10 years ago, or they referred to versions of the standard that have been replaced at least once if not twice by now etc.
I replied expressing the hope they had not paid for them as it was my opinion that they would be spending far more of your time fitting them to their organisation than if they had started from scratch.
So what are the problems with using a template?
While a template will allow you to get the standard certified initially, it is useless for several reasons:
- It does not relate to your organisation (being generic) so no-one reading it (ie your staff) will understand what it is about – so how can the staff follow it
- By the time you/someone in your team has adjusted the clauses so that it does relate to your organisation, they might as well have started from scratch.
- The templates will not detail the way you will actually be working (so you have to run it as an extra task in parallel to your own controls that you already use – ie extra work)
- It will not help you to achieve the goals you are getting the standard for:
- If you want the standard to improve your operations: it won’t – as the templates do not relate to your operations without totally rewriting them
- If you want the standard to meet tender requirements – you might have certification, but so will all others applying and if any of them actually have a proper system supporting it, they will be better than you and you will not get the tender anyway
- If you want the standard to improve your staff capabilities – it won’t as they will recognise that you have cut corners plus they will likely be confused by the fact there seem to be 2 parallel systems one of which they don’t recognise
So what does a good Management System achieve?
- A good control system:
- reduces the time you spend on the system,
- matches what you do already as much as possible,
- its within your normal procedures so you don’t have extra work,
- is understood and used by everyone in the organisation,
- the improvements continue to develop year by year for ever,
- the financial return and profitability improve too.
- Finally, and often most importantly, because you have business systems that achieve this, your organisation becomes one that others want to work with – so you will win tenders as well.
From a cost efficiency point of view, I would never recommend that anyone use templates.
You can choose whoever you like as a consultant, but even if they are bad, they will be better than using most templates that I have ever seen.
So contact us to have a free, no obligation conversation about how to take things forwards. It will cost you to get a consultant in. But it will cost you if you use templates as that will be totally wasted money. With any reasonable consultant you will get systems that match what you do in a way that following them is easy. Contact us via our website or call us on 0345 600 6975 or firstname.lastname@example.org