February 2008

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the first issue of Goode Advice.

This is a new and exciting step for Goode Management and I have tried to include as many friends, colleagues and contacts as possible in the first mailing who might be interested in keeping up-to-speed with the ever changing world of quality and health and safety management. If you do not want to receive another issue please forgive me for sending this one, but do think about forwarding it on to someone else who would benefit from receiving it before you ‘unsubscribe’!

And so, to business. Goode Advice aims to provide news and ideas on current issues relating to quality and safety. I hope it will provide insight for anyone new to this area of management and a memory jogger for the experienced; to prompt and encourage you to revisit, review and improve on the systems you already have in place in your company.

As this is the first issue, and it’s still early in the year, it seemed appropriate to start at the beginning and whichever way you look at it, it has to start with planning. Read on to find out more about:

  • Planning for Quality
  • Goode Tip - PDCA
  • Scheduling for Safety
  • Goode Footnote

Best wishes

Planning for Quality

Fail to plan : Plan to fail is an old military saying and it’s as true today as it ever was. Whether you’re buying a new washing machine or steering the direction of the company, a plan is essential. Without a plan, it’s like driving a car blindfold whilst the person giving the directions is looking out of the rear window!

All companies have a financial plan of some description, but business planning is essential for focusing decision-making and growth. In fact planning at all levels, whether it’s a project that needs to be broken down into tangible, bite-size pieces or simply preparing (planning) for a meeting, ensures that time is focused and resources utilized sensibly.

Section 5.4 of BS EN ISO9001:2000* outlines the planning requirements of the a quality management system and the quality policy provides a framework for quality objectives. If you look closely at an ISO9000 quality policy statement you will see the words ‘framework for quality objectives’. But what does that actually mean?

Within a mature ISO9000 system, effective planning impacts on every aspect of the management system:

Quality planning – What are the company objectives? Who has responsibilities for the various aspects of the business? Who will implement and manage the company objectives? How will they be achieved? How will they be measured? Who are your competitors? What markets are you aiming for?

Human resource – How are the quality (business) objectives communicated to staff How will you develop staff so they contribute fully to the company’s objectives? How will their objectives impact on the company objectives? How will they be measured?

Infrastructure – What other resources (buildings, equipment, vehicles, IT, H&S) are needed to achieve the company objectives? How will they be maintained?

Emergency planning – What would be the effects on the business in the event of fire, flood, theft, long term out-age, serious illness, etc? What are the contingency plans in the event of an emergency?

Product or service – What does the customer want? How can you meet that need? Who will supply the raw materials? How will you ensure customer owned property is safe in your hands? How can you make sure that faulty items don’t get mixed in with good ones?

Design and development – If you design and develop a product or service, how can you be sure it’s viable? Is it safe? Does it meet customer needs? See PDCA below.

Measurement and analysis – How well are the systems working? Are they achieving the quality objectives?

This is just food-for-thought, but whichever way you look at it, a plan has three basic elements:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to go?
  • How are we going to get there?

Well constructed and implemented plans transform business performance and minimise risk.

BS EN ISO 9001:2000 – Quality management systems- requirements

Goode Tip - PDCA

The Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle is often referred to as the Deming Cycle, after its exponent Edwards Deming. It is a useful tool for controlled problem solving or goal management.

PLAN – Identify the problem or the desired goal

DO – Generate possible solutions and ‘try’ or ‘test’ them out

CHECK – Measure the effectiveness

ACT – Fully implement the solution

Plan>Do>Check can often be repeated several times before the ‘Act’ is fully implemented.

Scheduling for Safety

Where do you start when it comes to planning safety inspections and risk assessments? How do you spread the message on safety within the company without seeming to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut?

Scheduled risk assessments, carried out routinely throughout the year, are the simplest way of keeping health and safety quietly but firmly on the agenda. They encourage people to accept safety as part of the whole management picture rather than a bureaucratic add-on.

Ideally inspections and risk assessments should be carried out prior to the event, and that includes seasonal considerations, not just a one-off risk assessment for a high-risk activity. Can staff get safely to their cars in the dark on a winter’s night? Is there sufficient ventilation to prevent staff and customers suffering heat stroke on a hot summers day? Can staff make their way safely to an external exit in a dark, smoke filled room? Considered, planned and implemented before the event ensures everything is in place and people know what to do before an emergency happens.

If your company routinely has a quiet period at a particular time of the year, it is far easier to schedule in the more routine risk assessments, such as Display Screen Equipment (DSE) or manual handling, when people have time to actively take part in the assessment.

Too often, following an accident we hear the words ‘failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment’. By scheduling the inspections and risk assessments throughout the year, it ensures considered reports with time to plan and review the options and implement them appropriately with cost effective solutions.

Goode Footnote

How do you know if you’ve covered all the essentials of health and safety in your company? Download a free copy of Health and Safety in a Nutshell to find out more.

Safety in the office – basic awareness course £65

A half-day introductory course on office safety. Click for dates and location throughout Oxfordshire during 2008.

Staff development

Need help with HR? Gap HR Services provides an outsourced HR service that can help you manage and develop your staff into a motivated and effective workforce, supporting your business growth, and saving time and money in managing them.

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