How to reengineer business systems to achieve ISO certification

A business’ processes bring structure to everything they do. They can be the difference between a profitable company that thrives and grows over time, and one that doesn’t survive the constant challenges business is exposed to.

If your business is being burdened by outdated systems that are difficult to use, you could be losing 20 to 30 per cent in revenue every year due to inefficiencies.

The good news is, if your systems are holding you back, there are simple, practical and proactive steps you can take to implement meaningful improvements.

What is ‘reengineering’ business systems?

Reengineering your systems can sound intimidating at first, but it simply means reviewing all of your business’s current processes and determining what’s working and how exactly your way of doing things could be improved.

This isn’t something you need to pursue blindly. Many businesses can get the outcomes they’re looking for through following a similar process, which brings structure to the efforts of themselves and their employees.

  1. Define objectives and framework
  2. Identify customer needs
  3. Conduct a gap analysis
  4. Plan for success
  5. Implement your plan
  6. Monitor outcomes

If you’re looking at this list feeling a bit overwhelmed, or maybe just want more information about the why and the how of progressing through each step, read on – as we go into more depth later in this article and provide a step-by-step guide.

If you’re going to put time, money and resources towards reengineering your business’ systems, you want to make sure this is not only a feasible decision, but also a justifiable one that brings real value to your organisation. So, what types of benefits do businesses that invest in process reengineering generally see?

  • Improved customer satisfaction;
  • Business growth;
  • Productivity and profitability;
  • Get a competitive edge in your sector;
  • Meet growing business demands;
  • Satisfy ever-changing customer preferences.

Reengineering business systems and getting ISO certified

When compliance is dependent on clunky systems, organisations will struggle to maintain conformance into the future, as requirements and business needs adapt. One way to combat this is incorporating reengineering capabilities during the ISO certification process, so they are deeply rooted in everything you do.

There are some strong ties between reengineering business systems and getting ISO certified, and this overlap can make it easier for your business to do both at the same time.

When you’re reengineering systems, you’re essentially alleviating any redundant functions and processes. This has a strong alignment with the requirements of ISO certification – at its core, compliance involves risk assessment, analysis of processes, identification of inefficiencies and continuous improvement.

Reengineering builds the strong, lean and adaptable foundations you need to get certified with a standard or set of standards in a way that will not slow down your business or create an unnecessary burden of busy work for you and your team.

Importance of ISO certification for businesses

Worldwide, more than 20 million businesses are ISO certified or recognised.

The ISO standard organisations most commonly get compliant with is ISO 9001, the international standard for quality management. Companies can also pursue compliance with standards like ISO 45001 (Occupational Health and Safety), ISO 14001 (Environmental) and ISO 27001 (Information Security) just to name a few.

ISO standards can be seamlessly implemented simultaneously – as ‘integrated management systems’. This is because all ISO standards follow the same set of clauses, which are applied differently depending on your compliance goals. This translates into less documentation and duplication, and also makes keeping your systems up-to-date far less burdensome, time-consuming and expensive.

Why are so many organisations getting ISO certified?

  • Improve the effectiveness of internal management systems;
  • Can be achieved regardless of a business’s size, industry or location;
  • Reduce waste and minimise mistakes;
  • Increase productivity and profit;
  • Better capabilities for monitoring and measuring performance, and implementing any necessary improvements;
  • Drive continual improvement across all organisational levels;
  • Maintain legislative compliance;
  • Increase staff morale and satisfaction;
  • And more!

Reengineering systems as part of ISO compliance involves developing leaner and more maintainable processes that are adjusted to conform with the guidelines of a given ISO standard now and into the future. But, how can your business do this? In the following section, we’re detailing the tried and tested process for effectively reengineering your business’ systems.

The process of reengineering your business’ systems

1. Define objectives and framework

Before jumping in headfirst, you want to make sure you have a clear idea of what you’re trying to achieve. Here, it’s important to be specific. If your goals are vague and lack purpose, your efforts towards achieving them can easily become misled, disjointed and ineffective.You also need to make sure the objectives are relevant and meaningful to the business and staff, NOT just focussed on compliance.

These defined objectives then need to be communicated with employees, which gives them the opportunity to clarify any questions they have from the get-go. At this point, they can align what they do in their role with the overall organisational objectives, and determine how their day-to-day work may change because of the new goals.

2. Identify customer needs

As a business owner or manager, or even as a customer yourself, you would see first hand just how much the needs, preferences and requirements of customers can change over time. Market research helps you fill in the blanks, and determine the how and why behind these changes.

It’s not just your products or services that need to reflect the demands and needs of customers – customer feedback is just as valuable when redesigning business operations and systems. Listen closely to what your customers are saying, ask for their input where possible, and of course, take all of this on board.

3. Conduct an ISO gap analysis

Completing an ISO gap analysis involves comparing systems to the ISO standard guidelines you’re looking to get compliant with, pinpointing any discrepancies, and developing a practical and feasible plan for implementing necessary changes.

During this stage, you’ll want to ask:

  • What do your systems currently look like?
  • Where do you want them to look like?
  • What changes need to be made to get there?

Many organisations find that this is a good time to have a consultant on board as they can give an outside perspective, answer any questions and point you in the right direction.

4. Plan, plan, plan

After determining what needs to get done, you need to develop a comprehensive and realistic plan for reengineering business processes based on your findings from your ISO gap analysis.

Your plan should detail corrective actions and clear steps for how improvements will be implemented. At this stage, you also want to consider the likelihood of the plan generating the desired business outcomes – in this case, ISO certification.

5. Implement your plan

You’ve done all your preparation work – and now you’re ready to implement and move through each of the phases of your plan. Remaining adaptable is essential, as challenges can arise along the way.

6. Monitor outcomes

There’s only one way to find out how successful your company has been in reaching your initial goals, and this is monitoring and measuring your ongoing performance.

This should be done continually, so that any issues can be quickly picked up on and implementation can be adjusted accordingly. For instance, you’ll want to look at when you are in line with your anticipated timeline, if you’re seeing the results your expected and if there’s any pushback from employees. Based on all of your findings, it’s then of course to make improvements that get you back on track.

How a consultant can help you reengineer systems and get ISO certified

Many businesses feel they can take this on without input from an external party. But if the business lacks strong leaders to drive this change , the internal skills and experience to identify and implement changes and/ or the time to do this, handling this whole process in-house can be stressful and costly.

There are many reasons why organisations seek out assistance from an ISO consultant, including that they:

  • Can leverage their experience: ISO consultants know the challenges faced by businesses during the certification process and can help them avoid these, answer all of their questions along the way and get them one step closer to reaching their compliance goals.
  • Bring an outside perspective: ISO consultants bring a fresh set of eyes and outside perspective to your business’ processes, so they can observe things those in the organisation might miss.
  • Speed to implementation: ISO consultants are much faster than your internal team can be. Businesses who use a consultant reach their desired goal in about a quarter of the time it takes to DIY.
  • Save time and resources with reengineering systems and getting ISO certified: ISO consultants know what they’re doing, which translates into less costly mistakes and less time spent rectifying them. You will avoid newbie mistakes like over-documenting, which would result in bloated systems your team are reluctant to use.
  • Provide customised solutions: ISO consultants can help you implement systems that are built around the way you do business and are tailored to your specific needs and goals, rather than following a template system you will need to bend over backwards to accommodate.
  • Help you with cloud-based systems: An ISO consultant can help you establish user-friendly tools that make systems easy to update over time.

Speak with a consultant

Get in touch with our team of ISO consultants and get your business well on the way to achieving your ISO certification goals these coming months.

Whether you’re looking to get certified with ISO 9001ISO 45001ISO 14001 or another standard of your choosing, we can help. For years, we’ve assisted organisations across Australia in getting and staying compliant with various ISO standards.

We also specialise in other areas, including compliance softwarelegislative updates and contractor services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact our consultants.

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