To integrate, or not to integrate… Part 4

We’ll conclude our discussion on Integrated Management Systems by looking at the supposed ‘Holy Grail’ of business management: a management system that goes many steps further than simply EHS and quality concerns, and is applied across all business lines, even those outside EHS and Quality realms. This would be a truly integrated management system that could cover areas such as corporate governance, sustainability…basically any business processes and activities.

For example, document control, Corporate Social Responsibility, auditing, and training could be governed along the same integrated management standards. According to Robert Pojasek’s 2006 article in Environment Quality Management, one synergistic or ‘umbrella’ system could enable an organization to ensure the quality of its products…and demonstrate that those products are consistent with the organization’s vision, mission, core values and objectives.”

This idea is based on the premise that, by some means or other, all business activities overlap with some other (if not all other) … Read more...

To integrate, or not to integrate… Part 3

For a company over-anxious to reconcile EHS and Quality processes and data, some complications may emerge.

For example, some integrated management opponents argue that strict adherence to one specific set of standards can be sacrificed in the name of integration. That is, in defining a broad-base of widely applicable standards to enforce across all EHS and Quality domains, some details are institutionally enabled to slip through the cracks.

Really, it all depends on what specifically a company is attempting to integrate. For example, getting managers across all departments to employ the same audit checklists and reports can be like mixing apples and oranges. However, leveraging the same auditing software that allows the importing of individual EHS and quality checklists can reduce costs.

The standards governing quality can be far removed from those governing environment, health and safety. However, this notion can be a very particular function of a particular corporate … Read more...

To integrate, or not to integrate… Part 2

A consideration of the relative advantages and disadvantages of an IMS is a sound starting point to evaluate whether the time has come to integrate management platforms, or whether integration would generate no immediate or long-term payoff.

  • Cost efficiency: The aforementioned standards share several common requirements, including document control, auditing and training. An obvious cost-reduction arises when a business addresses each of these areas with shared software and processes. Also, registrars tend to provide discounts when they are able to audit two or more management systems together, as opposed to one at a time.
  • Time efficiency: While the logistics of implementing an IMS may be complicated at the onset, the relative simplicity of managing EHSQ systems together on an ongoing basis will ultimately save time and frustration.
  • Corporate Brand: Most Businesses understand that a negative EHSQ ‘event’ (for example, a spill, a product recall or an employee
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To integrate, or not to integrate…

Though environment, health, safety (EHS) and quality management issues are often handled by individual management systems, the guiding principles behind each of these areas share a common link — W. Edwards Deming. The American quality guru is most commonly associated with the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, an iterative problem-solving process used to resolve quality issues and improve business performance. But it is important to remember the foremost EHS and quality management standards — including ISO14001 (environment), OSHAS 18000 (health and safety) and ISO 9001 (quality) — are all rooted in the PDCA or Deming Cycle.

Businesses that encounter regular overlap between these areas ought to consider the potential benefits of an Integrated Management System (IMS). An IMS coordinates all of an organization’s procedures, systems and processes within one complete framework and, in an ideal scenario, allows the organization to operate as a seamless whole, with unified objectives across all departments.

But a … Read more...

Improvement: To be Continual… Or Continuous?

Any student of W. Edwards Deming or quality management in general is no stranger to the term ‘Continuous Improvement’.

Over here at Intelex, we use the term an awful lot, as we believe that, though it is most frequently cited in conversations on quality management, it is more of a meta-process that can be applied to all aspects of business management: environment, health, safety, governance…anything!

But a bit of an internal conversation was struck up recently as we noticed some people prefer ‘continuous’, while others use ‘continual’. So we thought we would do a little research and find out which term was correct, or if they represented two ways of stating the same thing.

Here’s a comparison chart outlining what we found (with an albeit highly unscientific methodology):

 

Metric Continual Continuous
Definition “Recurring regularly or frequently”

“Forming an unbroken whole; without interruption”

Google Pickup About 1.2 million results

About 9.5 million

Read more...

Full disclosure: A report on reporting

Is your business considering sustainability or corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting? What will it be: CERES? GRI? CDP? FRP? A4S? WBCSD? Or IIRC?

Phew. That’s a lot of acronyms for what’s really a simple premise: reporting on sustainability and CSR data to stakeholders and the public at large. The above organizations are all associated with voluntary reporting frameworks that organizations can use to standardize sustainability and CSR reporting. While the frameworks differ in scope, to sort out any potential confusion, here’s a quick rundown of each:

Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP): Based in the UK, CDP brings together investors and works with large corporations around the world to develop effective carbon reduction strategies and disclose greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data. Less a sustainability/CSR reporting framework than an emissions reporting organization, CDP’s scope is nonetheless broad: it publishes emissions data accounting for more than a quarter of global air emissions associated

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Make Your Job Easier with the OpenPass API

Intelex
Technologies has released its latest software innovation, the Intelex OpenPass
API, a revolutionary application programming interface that will enable its
users to sync and report data between multiple business management systems.

The Intelex
OpenPass API functions as a conduit for seamlessly feeding data between
multiple software programs. This means that Intelex’s environment, quality, and health & safety, and business management Software can now share data with pre-existing
business software applications; thereby, saving time and resources while
maintaining a degree of accuracy that’s difficult to achieve when data is
transmitted manually.

The City of Calgary
and St. Gobain are the first Intelex clients to take advantage of the OpenPass
API.  The City of Calgary used our
OpenPass API to import employee and location data from their pre-existing HR system
into their Intelex System. They also used the OpenPass API to export employee
injury data (i.e., incident number with date … Read more...

Free Management Review Scorecards and Configurable Reports

Free Management Review Scorecards and Configurable Reports are now available on the Intelex-Exchange.  Learn how to import them directly into your Intelex System for effective Management Review Meeting reporting. 

SCORECARDS
Management Review – Overdue Scheduled Reviews
Management Review – Overdue Follow Ups
Management Review – Current Year Scheduled vs. Completed Meetings by Type
Management Review – Current Year Completed vs. Scheduled Meetings by Month

CONFIGURABLE REPORTS
Management Review – Current Year Scheduled Reviews by Meeting Type
Management Review – Previous Year Reviews
Management Review – Follow Up History
Management Review – Current Year Follow Ups by Meeting
Management Review – Follow Ups Next 90 Days
Management Review – Completed Follow Ups Last 30 DaysRead more...

White Paper – The Importance of Integrated Management

The topic of managing environment, quality, and safety business processes under a single management program has become a popular topic in 2008. More and more, organizations are recognizing the reciprocal relationship that each of these business areas has on the other. In a 2008 whitepaper entitled Gaining Competitive Advantage Through Environmental, Health, Safety, and Quality Programs the author uses the following example to illustrate this point:


"… changing a process or procedure in one area without considering the impact on all areas could improve performance where the change is made but actually harm performance in other areas. For instance, replacing a chemical sanitizer in the laundry processes at a hospital with a less-toxic organic alternative might win points in the environmental category, but if the alternative is less effective at sterilizing linens and a spike in infections results, then quality has been diminished"


Simply put, environment, quality, and safety business … Read more...

Avoiding Dashboard Pitfalls

DashboardDashboards have become virtually indispensible to workers and managers. They provide graphical information in the form of charts and graphs as opposed to spreadsheets and reports, thereby enabling a big-picture view of an enterprise.

Despite the obvious benefits, dashboards can tend to become counterproductive if not properly deployed. There is a risk of information overload if care is not taken to select only the necessary indicators.  Privacy concerns and employee morale issues can also arise if details of individual worker performance are widely accessible.

Here are a few suggestions for successful dashboard implementation:

  1. Keep it Simple. Avoid overloading your dashboards with every conceivable metric related to your business.  Information overload will lead to distractions and keep the focus away from your organization’s vital stats. 
  2. Participate in the Development. The design and implementation of dashboards is often left to consultants and IT personnel. It is important to include the
Read more...