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Practical ways employees can contribute to the effectiveness of a management system

1. Gain understanding of all relevant policies

A policy is described by ISO 9000:2015 3.5.8 as, “intention and direction of an organization as formally expressed by its top management”. An understanding of top managements’ intention and direction helps you ensure all the work you do falls in line with that intent. It is not a matter of memorising the policy but understanding what top management are trying to achieve in the grand scheme of things and working toward that.

If your company policy includes a commitment to meet customer requirements (as would be expected) you may ensure to always check and double check your work to make sure customer requirements as related to your role are met; in all its ramifications.

2. Understand the relevant objectives and how your work contributes to their achievement

All management systems will have some established objectives and these objectives will include some actions that need to be taken to ensure they are met. Some of these objectives and tasks may be directly linked to your department or even your job role. Ensure to complete all tasks in such a way that they contribute toward meeting the relevant objective. By contributing towards meeting objectives, you are significantly contributing towards the improvement of the management system.

Your organisations will have processes established to successfully maintain the management system. The established processes could be in various formats including process flows, procedures, work instructions or quality plans among others. Every time you are following the processes related to your job role, you as an Individual are contributing to the effectiveness of the management system.

An example would be a shoe manufacturing process the includes an inspection of various established quality parameters at the end. If you are the inspector, you would need to follow the established process by ensuring the inspection is carried out to the scheduled frequency and the sampling regime (this could be a 100% regime). You will make sure that inspection is done to the established, likely documented arrangement; ensure all measurements meet the established tolerances and that all instruments used are fit for purpose and within any established calibration or comparison information available.

Working in line with the ensures a reduction in variation from worker to worker and equipment to equipment and ultimately that a consistently fit for purpose set of shoes is sent out to the customer- ALL the time.

4. Report any non-conformities you are aware of.

A non-conformity is the non-fulfilment of a requirement. The requirements are the established processes of your organisation.

It is very important that when a requirement is not met, the situation is dealt with in such a way that any immediate consequences are corrected, and it does not happen again. Reporting these things that go wrong gives the organisation an opportunity to fix them before they get out of hand. This is another way you will be contributing to the effectiveness of the management system.

When you remember that a non-conformity occurs every time an established process is not followed, then you will recognise that non-conformities occur more frequently than most organisations care to report. Non-conformities may or may not lead to a defective product/service. Helping to identify and report non-conforming situations especially as it applies to your job role and indeed around the organisation; through the structured non-conformity process, helps your organisation to learn and improve its management system.

5. Share your ideas and feedback to improve the management system

You are the person doing your job day in and day out. In the process of doing your job, you will spot issues in your area and have some ideas that can make things better. A contribution you can make to your organisation’s management system is to share your ideas and give feedback on your day to day activities to your team members, managers and any relevant stakeholders in the established format for providing these improvement ideas in your organisation.

The feedback gives your organisation a chance to take act and address any risks or opportunities that may arise from such. Even if action is not taken to the extent you expect you have done your duty to provide the information within the area of your influence and you have sent it through the established channels. There are other arrangements within the management system to address the effectiveness of response to learnings from the management system.

All the best.

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