This week, we at QCS International completed our own internal management review to support our ISO 9001 certification. Given what is happening in the world at present and given that we had to do this through a conference call you may be wondering what the point was and why would we even be thinking about ISO 9001 at this time.
Simply, the requirements of ISO 9001 and meeting our clients’ requirements remain important and are probably more important just now. Whilst we are suffering from restrictions being placed on our ability to work it is the same for our clients. ISO 9001 is all about meeting client requirements – if our clients’ requirements are changing then so do we!
As a result, we are putting in place arrangements to do work remotely, to be better at responding to requests via email and teleconference and to answer the myriad of questions thrown up from placing staff on furlough. Amongst the many things we are doing (which may simply be trying to survive as a business) we also need to be mindful of clients and customers – for it will be the relationship we can maintain with them that will help to support all parties as we return to better times.
ISO 9001 has within it a requirement for an organisation to consider risks and opportunities. Few of us may have considered the risk of a work pandemic such as we are facing now, but no doubt it will be something we will have in place for the future. Mitigation of the risks generated in current circumstance need to be developed – such as what to do to maintain staff competence, how to deliver audits required to maintain certification and how to do what we can to deliver our products and services to clients if necessary. Do not lose sight of these amongst everything else – what you can do now will strengthen your position in the future.
Opportunities in the current situation are hard to see and nobody can be criticised for focussing on survival at the moment. However, as and when things improve it is worth thinking now about how you will take steps towards a return to normality – not to take advantage of the situation but to ensure you are able to begin operations successfully and to approach normality with greater speed. We will issue some further blogs on what we can all do to in the return to normality phase.
Those of you with scheduled certification body audits may have noted that most continue to deliver these, albeit remotely. There appears to have been little or no relaxation in the requirement to host certification body audits. Note that there will be an expectation that you will also be undertaking your own internal audits or that you have at least adjusted your audit plans to take in to account current constraints. We plan to issue a blog with guidance on how to prepare for and host a remote audit next week – of use for your internal and external audit requirements.
In response to the question at the top of this blog entry, this is not a time of business as usual – but it is a time of using a quality approach to make changes in what you do to meet your and your clients needs. In that respect, ISO 9001 provides us with some sound structures to do so.
Finally, all of us at QCS wish you well and that all your colleagues and their families are safe during these unprecedented times. If you think there is anything we can do to help, then do get in touch on 01236-734447 or firstname.lastname@example.org