A few steps to an improved management system
I have been consulting and auditing for a number of years. My primary focus has been the ISO family of management system standards. But there have been other, industry specific standards that I have worked on well, such as Responsible Distribution and Drinking Water Quality. Some of these industry standards keep me wanting. They are not as structured or thorough as the ISO standards. It makes it difficult to help support clients when they are not willing to meet the intent or use additional information to better their systems. It actually becomes frustrating.
The new DWQMS standard was finally published this year. I have to say, for the better.
The best addition to the standard, in my opinion, is the revision of element 21. It always boggled my mind that this was the only element that did not have a “Plan” component. You were just supposed to “Do” continual improvement. But in actual fact, you need to plan improvement, you can’t just do it. One of the key components to improving is taking corrective action on your weaknesses or deficiencies.
It is true that the old version of the standard did require that, but only for audit findings. The remaining were actual corrections after an exceedence or an emergency. And that was only to take mitigating action, correction rather than corrective action. (check out my previous blog on correction vs corrective action.)
Now the standard requires a systematic approach to addressing and taking corrective actions. And corrective actions can come from many sources. Yes, audits, but general observations of processes not being completed correctly, and even causes to exceedences and emergencies, taking corrective action in addition to the correction.
Embrace the change. Take advantage of the continual improvement that will occur. Remember Einstein’s definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result each time.
Check out our quick presentation on the changes. DWQMS 2017
Our try our more in-depth course on Root Cause Analysis and Corrective Action.