Are We Out of Context?

In Clause 4 of ISO Standards using the High Level Structure (HLS) you’ll see that we’re required to identify ‘internal issues’, ‘external issues’ and ‘interested parties and their requirements’. What possible value can this bring us? First of all, change the word ‘issues’ to ‘conditions’ or ‘circumstances’ so that the negative association with the word

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What’s your ‘Purpose’?

John Seddon has been a Systems builder since the 80s. He bases his work on the genius of Taiichi Ohno – The Toyota Production System – Beyond Large-Scale Production. Seddon has been successful adapting Ohno’s TPS approach but using it in services. There’s always a temptation to set targets and try to convince people to

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Two Management System Mistakes We Make

Seth Godin is one of my favourite authors – a great thinker and terrific business person. Even though he’s not ‘ISO’ his thoughts on ‘systems’ fit beautifully. The first mistake we make is the underestimation of the importance of something. Think of the internet. We assume it’s stable and will always work. We don’t really

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A New Twist on PDCA

John Seddon, Vanguard Consulting, released a great book called ‘Freedom From Command and Control’. There are plenty of great ideas in there, and I enjoy sharing them with you! Seddon started applying the ‘Toyota Production System’ to the service industry back in the 90s. You’ll find his insights very helpful. Systems Thinking is what he

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Whose Management System is it, anyway?

We need to focus on our users when we’re designing and improving our management systems. This may seem obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many times a client will ask, “Will the auditor accept this?”. Of course we want to get certified, but if we are sure of the requirements and decide what we

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Give your employees credit for having a brain

One way to simplify your management system is to reduce the number of super-detailed text-based procedures. Once they are in place, you might be temped to audit simply to see if everyone’s following them. This causes two problems. The first problem is that the ‘follow the procedures or else’ message creates a culture of fear.

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You’ll be right 6% of the time…

…if you choose ‘Operator error’ as the cause of your latest non-conformance. When Ishikawa introduced the world to his ‘Fishbone’ for doing root cause analysis, his research showed that employees in organizations make errors, of course, but only about 6% of the time. The other 94% of the time, the error is caused by a

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