You can’t out-train a bad diet, so why expect process improvement from a poor management system?

The structure of the traditional management system in the 1990’s invariably consisted of a multitude of text-based procedures, occasional flowcharts, isolated spreadsheets and a mountain of legacy documents inherited from recent QHSE regimes.

Press the fast forward button to today (2020) and you would think you had been transported to `Back to the Future` due to the similarity of system structure. Many people now recognise that the design of the traditional document-centric system is inflexible and unable to cope with the demands of today.
With text-based documents still occupying the bulk of the content within many company management systems and the `process approach` as advocated in ISO 9001:2015 often being paid lip service to, the lack of investment in this area has become more apparent now that there is a pressing need to restructure the traditional system to the process-based model.

While much of today’s QHSE software is available to ease the discipline managers’ day job by recording audits, non-conformances, incidents, accidents and more, the core of the management system (namely the process, procedures and work practises) has been neglected.
It is therefore not surprising that the young, techno-savvy professionals shake their head in disbelief when faced with a traditionally structured management system choked with documents.
So what does “the process approach” to Business Management Systems actually mean?
The process-based management system (PBMS) manages all policies, processes, procedures and links to supporting databases and applications by creating an over-arching, holistic business model.
The model design should represent the individual 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:
 Provide discipline managers an efficient set of tools to manage their area of responsibility effectively
 Ensure users can navigate to correct content to easily understand instructions
 Design functionality that simplifies system administration for ongoing operations

Example: Business Model providing overview of company structure

The process-approach concept that has been operating since the early 1990’s has now morphed into a Business Management System (BMS) as the framework provides a central repository not solely for QHSE/Compliance but also for the control of all business processes and related content across the organisation. The integrated model continues to be managed by the relevant discipline managers who follow governance rules on system behaviour.
There are a number of benefits from becoming process based, such as:
 Clarity of content: Process mapping presents the key stakeholders with visibility ‘who does what, where and when’
 Easier identification of improvements: 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 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 consistent, generic processes for use across the organisation
 Workforce Guidance: Providing clear guidelines of work activities to the workforce
 Improved Efficiency: Optimised processes

Benefits to Customers and Auditing Bodies:
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.
More Process-based Benefits…
There is a raft of simple yet highly effective improvements to this type of management system, these being:
 Providing 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
The model below represents another sample depiction of a Value Chain of core, operational and enabling processes:

Once the design of the overall Business Model and supporting Process overviews have been graphically represented, detailed process mapping can then commence.
Our next blog will discuss the most efficient way to map your processes, saving time and energy!

Written by Peter Shields, Managing Director, BusinessPort Ltd
For more information on the Process-based Business Management System and how it will help increase your company’s performance, contact Daniel Christian at

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