By Kevin Smith, Sales and Marketing Manager, LRQA

Setting out on the path to implementing management systems can seem daunting at first. However, the good news is that it needn’t be. With a properly timed and costed project plan with defined timescales and appropriate resources in place it is easily achievable.

Covering ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 these guides aim to provide practical guidance and advice for those who have been tasked in gaining certification for their organisations. Written from the viewpoint of both a certification body and an independent consultant, together they give advice and guidance on how the system implementation project can be tackled.

Once you have decided on implementing a management system it is important to identify whether you have the expertise in-house or whether you need to buy-in consultancy. There are pros and cons of each approach and the decision will be influenced by practicalities, such as the time available for the project and reasons for implementing a system.

Many organisations choose to seek help from a consultant to either partly, or wholly, develop their system. If this is your choice, it is important to find a consultant that you trust, one who has a proven track record of the sector you work in and with experience of the standard that you are looking to develop. Your consultant should provide a detailed proposal with costs and timescales in order that the project can be monitored against the proposal.

Bear in mind that the rules of accreditation state that the company or individual that puts in your system cannot be the same person as the certification body that provides the independent verification of your system — after all, this would be a little like someone marking their own homework!

Remember that a well-developed system is not owned by just one individual, ie, quality isn’t just the business of the Quality Manager but is everyone’s responsibility. With this in mind, it is important during the development of the system to bring your people on board with the project and that all employees, at all levels, understand the reason for the management system and their role within it.

To read the implementation guides covering ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001, please visit the LRQA website.