Management System Success is Management Success


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My books Success in Safety Improvement Model Management System Success Improvement Process 17-Step Process Improvement Process Rating Management System Structure Management System Content Improving the Management System The Audit Management System Rating International Safety Rating System Accidents and Incidents Accident Investigation Protocol Safety Opinion Survey



Management System Success = Management Success

The success of a management system depends largely on the following items:

  1. the need felt by top-management to reach desired objectives and make the system work
  2. the process to build the management system, including:
    1. the contents of the management system - management activity areas or "elements"
    2. the structure of the elements
  3. the initial success when implementing the system; to be obtained within a reasonable time period
  4. persist in doing the right things the right way and do not give up!

Management Success: Plan - Train - Do - Process - Content - Structure

The first item on the list may be the most important one. It also appeared as the "Motivation and Leadership" foundation of the Platform Model. Without the need felt by top-management the foundation for the platform model will not be there and development of the plan, training of people and implementing the necessary activities will be less than optimal. Increasing the performance level will at least be doubtful.  

The principle of economic association

A manager will usually pay more attention to statistical or general information when expressed or associated with cost terminology

Some of the following may help management to provide its leadership to make the management system work:

  • demands from customers requiring a performance level in such areas as quality or safety. Proof thereof could be a certificate showing efforts to reach objectives. Such (input) efforts could be combined with a maximum output levels in terms of accidents, product deviations or other unwanted events.
  • government requiring compliance with legislation or meeting certain industry standards which have a semi-legislative character. Meeting these requirements may be necessary to obtain an operating license
  • other stakeholders having an interest in the performance of the organization: employees, unions, insurance companies, the public, neighbours form the surrounding area
  • providing information regarding actual and potential losses. This starts with the reporting of unwanted events and the risk classification system to be part of the accident investigation protocol

The principle of economic priorities

A manager will usually give priority response to items possessing the potential for the greatest proportion of results from the least investment of available resources

Management System Success - two phases

The success of the management system may take place in two steps:

  1. obtaining a certificate which could be the short term - commercial - wish to meet requirements from customers or the authorities. Obtaining a certificate could be done relatively easy to meet minimum certification requirements with the help of an external consultant.  
  2. improving based on certificate requirements through the application of the 17-step process which may have to be adapted to fit the certificate situation. This would mean moving beyond the level of certification and may take considerably more time also depending on the size of the company. The ultimate level to reach will depend on the efforts at all levels in the organization and involve the motivation, cooperation and training of all people, operational as well as non-operational - workers, supervisors, managers and staff - through a top-down/bottom-up approach.

In practice, a management system is often setup to meet requirements from external parties, such as customers or authorities. The customer requirements may relate to safety or quality and certificates like OHSAS 18000, VCA/SCC for safety and ISO 9000 concerning quality. Government requirements may be related to environment (ISO 14000) or certain legislation like OSHA 1910.119, Seveso II or others. Such certificates often have commercial implications and drivers such as not being invited to bid or losing an operating license.

Time wise, getting the certificate may a first priority while improvement may follow later. From a practical point of view this is a good sequence: it is generally easier to get the certificate than to improve the organization which takes more effort and is more time consuming. Unfortunately, many companies may stop after the certificate has been obtained believing that the certificate is the proof of excellence. It is not: certification may be the start; certification is there for the outside world, to get the in-company benefits work has to be done. The concepts and principles described on this website and further detailed in my book would help to move beyond certification and reap the benefits of a management system that works.


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