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The Road from Chaos to Management System

From Gap Analysis to Implementation Master Plan

The first question when you are ready to make a big change is always where to start. Every organization, company, startup or established business has a management system. Every individual has a system for getting through the day. Without thinking about it, we create processes that help us accomplish daily tasks. Over time we find things that work better and improve our processes. So you start with the realization that you have a system and have established processes that work for you because if they didn't, you would not be in business today.

Next you need to determine which management system standard is the best for your organization. All the standards have been established over the years of trials by thousands of other companies and organizations. The current standard revision encompasses all those lessons learned. A big part of the decision may be determined by your customer base or the regulatory compliance you may fall under. Take the ISO test if you are looking to get the ISO-9001:2000 compliant system.

Once you decide which standard is for you, get a copy of the standard. Warning: Before you read it make sure that you have a big cup of coffee handy. Standards are not very entertaining. They are not rocket science, though. They are common sense documents that describe what components of management system you need to have in place in order to be compliant. Every sentence in each standard has a purpose that you will need to understand in order to make sure your management system meets the requirements. There are hundreds of books written to help you understand the standard. (See our Books & Publications)

IF IT WAS EASY, ANYONE COULD DO IT! Anyone can do it but it does require a lot of effort.

The first step in implementing any change in your management system is to figure out what you have and what you are missing. A Sample Gap Analysis- Implementation Master Plan can be viewed on this website. This can help you start and plan your implementation. You can create a spread sheet like the sample for any standard. You can use it to evaluate two or more standards and see how you compare to both. There are standard checklists that are used for auditing a management system that can help you determine the components you need. You start with the standard and finish with the Master Implementation Plan.

Danuta Highet

Foqus, Inc. Feb. 28, 2006

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