Are you having difficulty achieving your business objectives? How many targets did you hit last year?
Do you want to know how to set your business up to achieve this year’s targets?
If you haven’t already done it, now’s the time to plan for the year ahead. Reviewing the existing objectives, setting new KPIs, and addressing any identified opportunities for improvement.
Planning is so important in business – it determines the course of actions to be taken, and those actions determine the results we achieve.
It always starts with planning…
The latest version of ISO 9001:2015 (specifically in Section 6) requires the business to plan ahead – it divides planning into three broad categories.
Whether your business is already ISO Certified, or still thinking about it, any business will benefit from following these principles to conduct effective organisational planning.
1. Plan to address risks and opportunities
Risk and opportunity identification and management is a significant addition to the latest versions of the ISO Management Standards. Risk and opportunities are like two sides of a coin. In the investment world, we often hear the phrase, “High risk, high return” – in every potential project, every acquisition, investment, and opportunity, there will be associated risks, whether low or high, whether probable or unlikely.
The ISO Management Standards now require businesses to document these risks and opportunities and the planned approaches to address them. Effective risk and opportunity management has significant benefits. It also increases everyone’s awareness which facilitates focussed effort to prioritise and address, for a more sustainable business.
2. Plan to achieve business objectives
Every business should have a vision, mission, objectives, and targets. These give the organisation a destination, direction, and the vehicle for making it happen.
While the concept of planning to achieve objectives is not new, the ISO Management Standards now require the organisation to document the plan on how to achieve the objectives. This includes an action plan with details such as resources required, responsible party, timeframe, and evaluation criteria.
3. Planning for change
Change is inevitable. Whether we like it or not, our business will always need to change in some way to survive long term. We need to keep up with the latest technology, the latest regulations, or new industry or customer requirements.
Implementing a management system to align with the requirements of ISO Management Standards can also be a major change in your organisation. Even though the ISO 9001 Standard does not explicitly require a formal record for change management, it is highly recommended to have some sort of records for tracking, as the organisation evolves.
To be effective and “real” for the business, planning needs to be an iterative process. You can’t just do it once – objectives and related targets need to be monitored and measured – risks need to be controlled and opportunities need to be embarked upon. In addition, a full review at least annually should be conducted to “re-set” where required and ensure plans are still relevant to your current business situation.
Is getting ISO Certified one of your objectives this year?
If one of your company’s new year objectives is to get certified to one or more ISO Standards, we recommend planning ahead.
From our experience, when someone is thinking about ISO, most of the time what is on their mind is only about getting certified. A lot of people call us and ask, “Can we get certified in one month?” or say, “we want to be certified to this Standard or that Standard because we need the certification to pre-qualify for a certain tender that’s coming out, or similar…”.
While it’s not impossible to be certified to ISO Standards in relatively short time periods, and it is also true that being certified to one or more ISO Standards could benefit your organisation greatly by gaining customer’s trust, more effective and efficient operations, quality assurance, and many other benefits, what most people often don’t understand is that being Certified to ISO Standards is not just about getting a piece of paper. It requires dedication, time, resources, commitment, and planning.
Getting certified is not just about hanging the certificate on the wall of your office, or adding a logo to your website. It’s the everyday habits and becomes the DNA for how you operate your business. Just like individuals, every business is unique in its own way. Every business has its own characteristics – different challenges, different cultures, different sets and combinations of risk factors, and many other external and internal factors.
This is why one “template” can’t fit all for implementing the requirements of ISO Standards to all businesses.
The design and implementation need to consider your specific business requirements to meet your organisation’s context, customer requirements, and objectives.
(Read another one of our blogs for further details on this: https://isocertificationexperts.com.au/why-is-it-critical-to-understand-context-of-the-organisation-in-iso-90012015/).
Implementing ISO Standards needs dedication and commitment, and especially leadership. Before getting started, we suggest taking these few factors into consideration as part of your planning:
When we start up a new project, we always take the time to get to know the business – including industry-specific details, the company’s position in the market, the vision and mission, risks and opportunities, and any other relevant information that will contribute to us “reverse-engineering” an effective management system to facilitate achievement of your business objectives.
Sound like too much effort? Once it’s all set up, it’s easy to manage (and worthwhile! – Some of the benefits include – clarity in decision making, bringing concepts to reality, providing structure, reducing overall business risk and staying ahead of the game). We’re here to help – whether your planning is for ISO Certification Readiness or just for improved structure and business improvement.
Hans, B 2018, ‘Business Environment – Conceptual Framework and Policies’, International Educational Scientific Research Journal, vol.4, no.3, pp.67-74.
Nasri, W & Zarai,M 2013, ‘Key Success Factors for Developing Competitive Intelligence in Organisation’, American Journal of Business and Management , vol.2, no.3, pp.239-244.
Ivascu,L, W & Cioca,L 2014, ‘Opportunity Risk: Integrated Approach to Risk Management for Creating Enterprise Opportunities’.
Cochran, C 2015, ‘ISO 9001:2015 In Plain English’, Paton Professional, California.