The problem

The client, an asbestos removal company, had been saddled with an integrated 9001, 14001 & 45001 management system that wasn’t working:

• Simply running the system took 4-5 days a month

• It was unintelligible to directors, office and operational staff

• It sat outside of normal business practices and processes

The system comprised:

• An 84-page integrated policy manual

• 150+ forms

• Unnecessary processes and practices

• Forms about forms

• An audit schedule of byzantine complexity

• An unworkable legal and aspects register

The system was neither understood nor useful. The ISO tail was wagging the business dog!

The approach and the solution

Asbestos removal is the second most regulated sector next to the nuclear sector and the client is an Essex based £8m turnover asbestos removals and building contactor undertaking high risk asbestos removal work for prestigious clients across the UK and into Europe

The management team wanted a system that was both

• Useful and usable

• Could be used as a platform for “best practice”

• Link to the company’s strategic objectives and targets

An initial obstacle was an imminent external assessment. Actions taken to address the situation included:

• A senior management workshop to develop a map of the core activities – a flowchart showing the core processes and how they delivered value to the client

The Core Activity Map showing how the work works to deliver value

• A “quick and dirty” audit against the clauses of the standards

• Developing a plan to show how the system would be re-developed so it was:

     o Simple to understand

     o Easy to follow

     o Capable of delivering on the management’s objectives

A management review which documented the plan with timelines and the route forward

The outcome

Management Systems in the past have been a minefield, I now think I’m getting to grips with it and that’s down to you. You listen to our company needs and convert them into the easiest process to work to whilst keeping us compliant. I actually look forward to our brainstorming process’ rather than dreading them, no more sleepless nights it’s actually a pleasure!

Management system co-ordinator.

The external audit was passed without incident, following which it was time for the real work:

• The existing processes and procedures were reviewed against the core activity map, unnecessary procedures were jettisoned, overlapping procedures were merged and complex procedures simplified, all using the company’s language and terminology.

• Flowcharts were developed for all core and supporting processes each with their own KPI’s and links to the KPI matrix in order to measure and drive change focused on improving the cash to cash cycle

• The audit schedule, possibly the most complex we’d ever seen, partial copy below, was drastically simplified from a 52 row x 74 column excel spread sheet to a single page 13 x 10 table

Original (partial) audit schedule – showing about 1/4 of the entire schedule

New complete schedule

In summary

• Managing the system was reduced from 4-5 days to ½ day a month

• The policy manual was reduced from 84 pages to 24 pages

• The audit schedule was reduced to one page

• The policies, processes and registers were made useful and understood