A management system is not a goal but a solution

What is a management system?

We can probably all agree that good management is systematic, transparent and fair.

It requires that common practices:

  • have been agreed,
  • are known,
  • guide action and
  • are available.

In a management system, the goals set by the management, the expectations of the stakeholders and the requirements of the authorities are transformed into understandable everyday activities.

The goals and development projects that guide operations are set from top to bottom. The objective indicators needed to monitor progress, as well as subjective surveys, evaluations and feedback, collect data from the bottom up. When results are monitored and analyzed, and decisions on actions are made at different levels of the organization, operation begins to improve. This is when you create unparalleled success.

A management system can also be called an integrated management system or a quality system, and often a quality management system.

The responsibility of management is to set priorities and ensure efficient use of resources

Business management could be compared to air traffic control. In addition to day-to-day operations, management needs to take care of cash flow, growth and profitability. It is the responsibility of management to set priorities and ensure the efficient use of resources.

Alongside objective goals, humanization has a place on the leadership agenda. By this I mean building a corporate culture and value management. When this leadership is successful, the values of the company and personnel meet.

A company wants to hire employees who are committed because they are productive and give their energy to the organization. Employees, on the other hand, want to work in an organization where their own and the company’s values ​​meet, making work meaningful and developmental.

What are the benefits of a management system?

The purpose of a management system is to clarify and unify the activities of the organization and thereby release more resources for productive work, instead of trying to figure out already resolved practices.

The benefits can be seen as a guided and monitored activity, where everyone knows what is expected of them. In the definition phase, the best-known course of action is sought, which is recorded and to which everyone is expected to commit. During the development phase, operating methods are usually clarified while various development targets and risks are identified.

Following the same guidelines reduces deviation and increases customers’ confidence that the organization is able to continuously produce products or services that meet their needs. When the operating environment changes, the management system acts as a place where the changed policies are updated. This way, a unified presentation in one place makes it easier to manage change.

How is a management system built?

The starting point for building a management system must be the fulfillment of requirements and the benefits desired.

Meeting requirements is often a necessity for submitting an offer or continuing a customer relationship. However, this may still lack the incentive for development culture, a motivation that serves as the engine of beneficial development.

If the benefits have been identified, descriptions are normal business operations and the results can be measured in a balanced way from the perspective of finances, the customer, operations and personnel.

ISO standards and the criteria for the EFQM quality award, serve as a good guideline for describing the organization’s operations, also taking into account the business aspects.

ISO 9001 is a requirement standard that specifies the practices that must be found in a certified management system. EFQM, in turn, raises questions that need to be addressed in an organization’s operations, results, and improvement cycles.

In both cases, operating in accordance with either ISO standards or EFQM, the organization should define its own practices, operating environment, and objectives, taking into account stakeholder expectations.

Present things in a concise and simple way

In a management system, things should be presented in a concise and simple way. Remember that in this case, less is more.

Descriptions should only be made when the instruction supports the achievement of the organization’s goals and the fulfillment of customer requirements. If too much guidance exists or it is too detailed, it will be difficult to find the essential and important factors.

Orientation, training, and professionalism reduce the need for guidance, but like descriptions, they require updates.

In my opinion, a good management system is built on three cornerstones:

  • Firstly, everyday descriptions keep the operation stable and clear. Follow this route to get to the finish line and as a bonus, be on time.
  • Secondly, objective metrics energize action, or at least indicate the current status.
  • Thirdly, subjective feedback and evaluations emphasize development goals to improve operations.