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05 January 2018

For the times they are a-changin'

By Dominic Emerton

When I was asked to write a blog on the transition to the new ISO 9001:2015 standard, one of the immediate challenges I recognised was trying to put this in a context that was more than just a list of the changes to the 9001 standard and the ways in which our suite of products could be of benefit. 

One thing I found the more  I worked on this blog was that the same song kept popping into my head, no not ‘Las Ketchup’ or ‘The Macarena’ I am pleased to say, but ‘The Times they are a-changin’ by Bob Dylan, a classic song I am sure you’ll agree, and one that is entirely relevant today as it was in 1964, over 50 years ago when it was written.

I don’t think when Bob Dylan originally penned the song title or the lyrics, he had any doubt that change is a process, it isn’t immediate nor static but a continuous process of growth through communicating, learning and adapting, which it occurred to me has many echoes and similarities to both the world in which we live today and modern production environments including the process of achieving operational excellence through continual improvement, and the way in which the application of standards such as ISO9001:2015 will assist within this process.

However equally, I am also pretty sure that Bob, was in no way referring to the transition to the new ISO 9001:2015 standard, but offering a commentary on the socio-political and economic upheaval of the 60’s, something that is still applicable an relevant today given the advent of globalisation and advances in technology.  With less than 10 months until the transition deadline for ISO 9001:2015 (September 2018) the clock is very much ticking for companies to adapt their current Quality management systems to align to the requirements of the new standard and maintain their certification. 

As Bob would say: ‘Then you better start swimmin', Or you'll sink like a stone’

ISO have highlighted the intention of the new standard is to maintain the original principle of helping, ‘businesses and organisations to be more efficient and improve customer satisfaction.’ With the latest revision taking into account the changing face of modern globalised business which offers greater opportunity on one hand, but increased risk, adversity and complexity on the other, with one such example being the evolution of truly global supply chains as a consequence of a globalised marketplace. 

So the ‘the waters around you have grown’.

But what does this mean in the context of a specific organisation, and how can Ideagen’s product family such as Q-Pulse, Q-Pulse IMS, Q-Pulse FAIR and Q-Pulse Risk support you in minimising the impact of change whilst ensuring you gain the maximum benefit? As with all revisions, the new standard is an evolution not a revolution, with what were previously implied requirements in 2008, now given greater emphasis and mandated in 2015. Q-Pulse has been designed to offer a framework that fully supports this both now and going forwards, and can be adapted to meet the new standard as well as any new legislative and regulatory requirements as that may be introduced as we move forward within the Brexit process. Therefore those Q-Pulse customers already holding ISO 9001:2008, are already well placed to transition to 2015 by deadline of 23rd September 2018, but the clock is very much ticking.

The major changes that have been highlighted and need to be addressed are here

The new standard whilst being less prescriptive than the previous, offers a more consistent structure and will support organisations in improving the identification, on-going management and mitigation of operational risk and embed continuous improvement as a central principle throughout all levels of the business.

Implementing solutions such as the Q-Pulse Incident management module (IMS) and Q-Pulse Operational Risk module will offer significant benefits and efficiencies in the definition and management of both proactive barriers and controls, as well as (post incident) reactive recovery measures, mitigating the potential of an incident and ensuring, that should one occur it can be quickly reported and progressed through to resolution enabling a swift recovery from an undesirable event to the benefit of your business and more importantly your customers.

Organisations such as the Multi-Color Corporation who utilise the Q-Pulse Enterprise system in the UK and Ireland and US operations, have already transitioned to the ISO 9001:2015 standard using the full suite of standard modules offered by Q-Pulse to underpin their transition.

MCC are one of the world’s largest label companies operating across 47 sites globally and employing approximately 5,000 staff across North America, Latin America, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and Asia Pacific regions. Having completed the initial pilot phase of their European implementation within the UK and Ireland region of EMEA, and having achieved ISO 9001:2105 as part of this, MCC are already well on the path to realising and reaping the rewards of implementing a comprehensive GRC (Governance, Risk and Compliance) management system, that has assisted in standardising policies and procedures across multiple locations, meeting and demonstrating regulatory compliance, improving lateral integration and embedding continuous improvement and Lean principles to attain operational efficiency and excellence.

Additionally operating in a multi-site context the implementation of Q-Pulse Enterprise has offered an economy of scale, removing the individual or siloed approach where sites implement new standards in isolation conducting their own time consuming gap analysis and corrective actions at each. Instead allowing the entire policy, manual and procedure system to be defined collaboratively by all sites to collaborate offering input into best practise and ultimately adopt. Thereby allowing MCC to upgrade documentation, procedures and meet new requirements, be they standards, regulations or legislation, in a single process that meets the specific requirements of all sites.

In MCC’s case, the implementation and on-going use of the of all standard Q-Pulse modules to support this has offered the framework within which to ensure that key principles are supported and met as highlighted in the below diagram:


The Q-Pulse system has offered the framework to support MCC in their transition to ISO 9001:2015, but the true credit for achieving certification does not sit with the Q-Pulse system itself, but the diligence and hard work of the MCC Quality, Health and Safety and Environmental team members across UK and IRE. Ensuring that the ISO 9001:2015 focus on processes, objectives, measurement and change management are fully realised within their implementation of Q-Pulse.

This ensures that all sites are operating under the same compliance umbrella, sharing knowledge and best practice, as well as the effort involved in implementing any new requirements.

It also offers the senior management team greater visibility of performance against KPIs and the ability through analysis to identify areas of concern that require further focus and improvement, as well as allowing production capacity to be more flexible and better balanced across sites.

Through this improved lateral integration, external audit costs can also be significantly reduced by implementing a shared audit programme, reducing the requirement for individual sites to be audited on an annual basis, and instead through an agreed ‘sampling system, sites will be audited every two to three years instead, offering a clear ROI on the purchase of the system.

This is one example from our Q-Pulse client base of approximately 2,500 Organisations, where the implementation of Q-Pulse has supported the business in achieving their business goals and strategic objectives, strengthening quality processes, mitigating operational risk and leveraging efficiency savings in terms of time.

So giving the final word to Bob, ‘If your time to you Is worth savin'’ then please do not hesitate to contact your Account Manager here at Ideagen to further understand what we can offer both in terms of our solutions and services to support you in these changin’ times.

Interested in learning more about the transition to ISO9001:2015? 

Register for our free webinar here

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