The challenge of increasing performance from a poor management system

Over the past twenty-five years, most QHSE software products have been focused on reducing the day-to-day burden of spreadsheets and manual recording for the discipline manager to maintain compliance.

While these support modules ease the daily burden by recording audits, non-conformances, incidents, accidents and more, the processes and work practices that are the core of the management system are often neglected.

This article discusses why many organisations are now recognising that while there are obvious efficiencies to be gained by using compliance-focused software, the cost benefits are often negligible and that it is the core and supporting business processes that deliver increased performance that lowers operating costs.

Improving the management system often requires a hideously damning audit report from a client/certifying authority or major incident to jump start the investment process and find a budget that had been elusive for years.

What senior management are often unaware of is that a poorly structured management system choked with documents decreases the efficiency levels not just for the QHSE disciplines but for every function across the business who need to be guided by its contact.

The indirect costs lost through wasting valuable resources and inefficient work practises will quietly reduce profit levels however the loss of direct costs through regulatory non-compliance, inferior product/service quality and poor customer performance will have a significant impact on the bottom line.

Reduce the Stress….

With ISO 9001:2015 advocating the process-based approach and `risk-based thinking`, many managers get stressed on how they can transition to a simpler and easier to maintain framework.

The changes to the ISO 9001:2015 have provided the ideal opportunity to transform the traditional document-centric systems into an integrated process-based model. This model, termed the integrated Business Management System, (iBMS) includes QHSE information together with all the core and supporting processes of every area of business within the organisation. In effect, one central source of guidance for all departments, projects and regions.

So what does “the process approach” to Business Management Systems actually mean?

The process-based management system manages all policies, processes, procedures organisational structure, roles & responsibilities, and links to supporting databases and applications by creating an over-arching, holistic framework.

The system is designed using graphical models to represent the unique way the company operates. This can include process overviews that graphically detail the end-to-end processes that deliver `strategy to task`.

The fundamental requirements of the process approach are to:

  • Graphically reflect the way the organisation delivers products /services to customers
  • Ensure users can navigate to correct content to easily understand instructions
  • Keep user interface simple, provide ease of maintenance, in-built scalability

Example: Business Model providing an overview of a company structure

The iBMS represents a company-wide model that provides a central repository not only for QHSE Management System content but also acts as a central repository for all guidance documents that includes business processes and related content across the organisation.

A strict governance standard allows for the overall framework to be managed by a core team while providing each discipline, department or region access to their area of interest.

There are several benefits from becoming process-based, such as:

  • Clarity of content: Process mapping presents the key stakeholders with visibility of ‘who does what, where and when’, and supports Continuous Improvement
  • Process Optimisation: Inaccuracies and wastage are reduced, and improvement becomes simpler when you can clearly see the process steps
  • Increased Ownership: Improved visibility of individual role & responsibilities and a greater understanding of user actions within each process
  • Quick Access: End to end process overviews guide users to the right document quickly and at the relevant time
  • Process Harmonisation: Remove duplicated processes by distilling into generic, lean processes for use across the organisation
  • Workforce Guidance: Providing clear guidelines of work activities to the workforce
  • Improved Efficiency: Highly visual Swim-lane Processes to drive optimisation
  • Customers: Greater visibility of customer-facing processes increases confidence and provides a platform for process change as market demands alter.
  • Auditing Bodies: Greater visibility of compliance obligations offers more transparency for both the internal managers of standards and regulations and the Auditing Bodies.

And more benefits……

  • Provides quick access to required process & documents
  • Process Maps are easy to understand, (as opposed to text-based procedures)
  • One Stop Shop approach – Integrated Risks, links from processes to associated documents, databases and applications simplify access to key information

For more information on the Process-based Business Management System and how it will help increase your company’s performance, contact Daniel Christian at

Written by Peter Shields, MD, BusinessPort Ltd

Peter has extensive experience from 1979 within Quality Management, Risk & Compliance in the Energy, Nuclear & Defence industries and has worked on projects from the US to Australia via the Middle East.

BusinessPort was formed in 1996 to specialise in Management Systems that deliver both Performance and Compliance. The company have an impressive list of global and medium-sized clients who operate in highly regulated, safety-critical sectors and use the Agility System software to control their processes, documents, risks and compliance in one integrated Business Management System (iBMS).

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