Twenty years ago small businesses focused on one thing: how to make profits. Today, environmental impact is turning out to be just as important as meeting the bottom line. Here’s how to manage it for growth:
- Incorporate planning – the very first place to start with addressing environmental impact and risks is to include them in strategic planning at every level. Because ISO 14001 is the cornerstone of environmental standards for a business, planning is essential. If the matter isn’t addressed to begin with from the top down, one of two things occur: 1) no one internally treats the matter as a priority, and 2) responses that do occur end up being ad hoc and disparate, which often incurs more costs than expected.
- Anticipate that not everyone will be happy at first – getting environmentally focused is still a politically-charged approach. Education is probably the best response, even though it may require a bit more effort. At the end of the day, however, socially-conscious businesses sometimes have to stake out a claim. Choose wisely and then stay the course.
- Embrace leadership – businesses that really break out and become the major players using ISO 14001 as their environmental management system are not necessarily the biggest in their industry. Smart businesses are out ahead looking for these leadership opportunities to craft their own path and market niche before anyone else.
- Use size to an advantage – Being a small business comes with a lot of advantages in terms of flexibility and speed for adjusting to changes. Rather than a big bureaucracy involved in shutting down an assembly line, small business can test the waters far more rapidly and frequently with new ideas in environmental impact and that’s a huge competitive advantage when used effectively.
- Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water – Every new change should have a thorough cost-benefit analysis. There are plenty of existing quality management procedures that align with ISO 14001, including ISO 9001 and IATF 16949.
SimpleQuE offers customized consulting solutions for all sizes of Aerospace, Automotive, Laboratory, Manufacturing and Service organizations. When it comes to environmental impact and responsibility, ISO 14001 certification makes good business sense for businesses small and large, across all industries.
As a consulting company, simpleQuE specializes in quality and environmental management systems and we are frequently asked what services we provide and how we are different from a certification body. This article explains the objectives, roles and responsibilities of the organization, consulting company and certification body to provide a better understanding of the connection between all three.
Organization (Manufacturing or Service Company)
Seeks to achieve one or more of the following objectives:
- Implement and develop a new quality (QMS) and/or environmental management system (EMS)
- Upgrade certification or expand to a new standard
- Improve and/or simplify an existing QMS or EMS registration
- Obtain certification
Consulting Company (simpleQuE)
Assists organizations with implementation, improvement or transition by:
- Providing customized consulting, training and internal auditing services and solutions
- Assessing existing processes through a gap analysis and developing an action plan
- Offering internal and supplier audits
- Training for internal auditors and management including implementation and full standard reviews
Helps organization partner with Certification Body:
- Assuring a common language for auditing and interpretation of the standard so it corresponds with the expectations of the Certification Body and requirements of the standard
Certification Body (Registrar)
Issues certifications: Provides organizations a resource for management system certification by evaluating policies and procedures to verify implementation and effectiveness against the specific requirements of the standard. Assessment consists of a series of audits:
- Document review (sometimes combined with Stage 1)
- Initial certification audit – Stage 1
- Confirm that organization is ready (or not) for a full Certification Audit. Typically 30-60 days prior to the Stage 2 Certification Audit.
- Verifies required documentation exists, certain requirements have been met such as a full internal audit completed, a management review completed, and risks considered.
- Verifies processes have been established and is appropriate for the scope of certification, and that appropriate monitoring and measuring of processes are in place with appropriate objectives.
- Plans the Certification Audit based on information and data gathered
- Certification audit – Stage 2
- A full QMS or EMS audit. Confirms that the management system fully conforms to the requirements of the standard.
- Certification is issued upon successful completion of Stage 2 assessment and closure of any findings.
- Surveillance audit
- Certification is maintained through a series of annual surveillance audits (sometimes semi-annual). Every third year a full recertification audit is performed and a new certificate issued.
In summary, good communication between all partners is important to ensure all requirements and objectives are met in a simple straightforward way to comply with the standard. At simpleQuE we partner with the client and Certification Body to make quality excellence “simple”.
In October 2016 IATF 16949:2016 will be published by IATF and it will replace the current ISO/TS 16949, defining the requirements of a quality management system for organizations in the automotive industry. It will be aligned with ISO 9001:2015 and its structure and requirements. IATF 16949:2016 will be implemented as a supplement to, and in conjunction with, ISO 9001:2015. www.iatfglobaloversight.org
IATF has also released a new transition strategy document for automotive suppliers and certification bodies to help with the transition. It includes information about timing and transition audit requirements. After October 1, 2017 no audits (initial, surveillance, recertification or transfer) will be conducted to ISO/TS 16949:2009. IATF Transition Strategy ISO/TS 16949 › IATF 16949
It is also important to note that IATF/IAOB will recognize TS certified companies that have upgraded to ISO 9001:2015 prior to IATF 16949 and allow reduced audit days when the company does eventually upgrade to the new IATF 16949 standard. Companies should coordinate with their registrar to determine the optimal audit approach and cost benefit. (Separate audits may be not be cost effective, but it will depend on each company’s situation.)
SimpleQuE consultants and instructors are ready to assist companies now with implementation, transitioning and training for ISO 9001:2015 and TS 16949:2009. Consulting and training for IATF 16949 will be available after its release in October. Contact simpleQuE
Have you ever heard the old business saying “You can’t manage what you can’t measure?” ISO standards are the answer to the problem of measurement.
The International Organization for Standardization, based in Geneva, Switzerland, publishes over 19,500 international standards that cover everything from quality management to sustainability to codes used to convey international currency types. Continue reading “So what exactly is “ISO?””