The commitment and involvement of top management is essential for the success of any management system. Top management must participate in the implementation process and must ensure the continuity and improvement of the system. Also, they are the ones that should guarantee the availability of resources necessary for the establishment and maintenance of the management system. However, in too many cases, top management’s involvement ends with the appointment of a Management Representative.
There are reasons why top management doesn’t truly commit to a management system, and one of them is that they just don’t see the value of it. They don’t see why they need to be attending management reviews, looking at audit results, and spending money on trainings and “improvements” that don’t seem to improve anything.
Because top management’s involvement is essential for the success of the management system, here are some ways to help them see the true value of any management system.
Speak their language
Management usually speak the language of money. The information presented to them should consist of a cost analysis. They want to know facts such as how the ISO management system will:
- Help the organization use their resources more efficiently.
- Promote improvements that reduce cost.
- Create a work environment that will increase productivity.
Present information that motivates them.
Show them how the ISO management system is helping achieve the organization’s objectives, how targets are being improved, how customer satisfaction has increased (less complaints, increase in sales), or how the organization has received less complaints from other interested parties (regulatory bodies, community, etc). Show them what the system is doing for their business.
Make Management Reviews important to them.
Management doesn’t want to spend time on a meeting just to comply with an ISO requirement. During management reviews, present an overall picture of the organization’s performance; make sure that these meetings represent an opportunity to make important decisions regarding the improvement of processes and performance.
Explain the importance of improvements.
Among other things, top management is responsible for questioning anything that adds activities, time and requires money. When asking for resources for an improvement, show them what the nonconformity or non value added activity is costing the organization, how will the improvement save them money, how will a process become more efficient and how it will help the organization achieve its goals.
Make sure they understand their responsibilities.
Top management needs to understand their role within the ISO management system. They need to know its requirements, the benefits it may bring if it is implemented correctly and what is most important, they need to understand that without their participation, any management system will fail to bring success to the organization.
To the novice quality manager, ISO jargon can be extremely overwhelming. What is an NCR? What do you mean by OFI? Are we certified or accredited? But before you go and pull out your hair, let’s take a moment to go over some of the most frequently used terms and their definitions with regards to ISO and Management System Certification.