Early in my first job, in 1998, I had no idea what it was a management system, and in particular a Quality System. I was recruited primarily to design and implement a cost analysis system; but the company was growing and had recently signed a contract with a consulting firm to implement a management quality system according to the former ISO 9002:94; who to entrust this task, if not the rookie?
We started almost from scratch; apart from some recordings in production on spreadsheets, and paper records related to a product certificate, the company ran no requirement of the standard. The thing that struck me most was the huge amount of paper produced in terms of procedures, operating instructions and registrations, which grew further first with the ISO 14001, and then with OHSAS 18001.
Although inexperienced, it was clear from the beginning that a software would have been very useful in management of the Integrated System.
Few years later the company started a computerization process: it started the implementation of an ERP for production, warehouse management, and logistics, for an investment of a few million euros. The company invested more than 30 thousand euros for the cost management software. Although I had been involved in all software implementations, the company did not put a single euro for a software for Integrated Management System.
I made the best of a bad situation by developing an application in Access and Visual Basic that grew up day by day with many of the features required by the integrated management System. Many, but not all, since, among others, I felt terribly lack of a software for document management: only one who found himself having to manually deliver tens of operating instructions and procedures at least thirty managers and supervisors can understand what I mean.
The application I developed, though not particularly professional and full of restrictions, became necessary, and avoided me to sink in the sea of diversified and often irrational duties, fulfillments and stresses of a company that struggled to adapt the organizational structure to a constantly expanding market.
In 2015, after many years from my early days, if on one hand there is an increasingly widespread adoption of management systems, on the other hand we are not seeing a corresponding growth in the adoption of appropriate software.
The reason for this “delay” is above all closely linked to that of which I discussed in the previous posts, namely the purely self-referential certification system, and the opportunities that the legislature has given to certified companies (public tenders) that has turned a certificate into empty shells. If you consider a certificate a fee to work, as well as the CB auditor, and the consultant, let alone the software!
However, where the company believe in the certification as a mean of growth and improvement as it should be, today, in 2015, I believe that a software for management systems is essential for the benefits, with the limits and under the conditions that I will explain in later posts.