“Management system refers to what an organization does to manage its processes /activities. In a very small organization, there is probably no "system", as such, just "our way of doing things", and "our way" is probably not written down, but all in the manager’s or owner’s head. The larger the organization, and the more people involved, the more the likelihood that there are some written procedures, instructions, forms or records. These help ensure that everyone is not just "doing his or her thing", and that there is a minimum of order in the way the organization goes about its business, so that time, money and other resources are utilized efficiently.”
“To be really efficient and effective, the organization can manage its way of doing things by systemizing it. This ensures that nothing important is left out and that everyone is clear about who is responsible for doing what, when, how, when, why and where.”
“Management system standards provide the organization with a model to follow in setting up and operating the management system. This model incorporates the features which experts in the field have agreed upon as representing the state of the art. A management system which follows the model – or "conforms to the standard" – is built on a firm foundation of state-of-the-art practices.”
What Is A Quality Management System?
In the Words of the ISO Folks:
“Both ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 are known as generic management system standards.”
“Generic means that the same standards can be applied to any organization, large or small, whatever its product – including whether its ‘product’’ is actually a service – in any sector of activity, and whether it is a business enterprise, a public administration, or a government department.”
What this amounts to is the ISO 9001 requirements are what the ISO folks have determined to be ‘Best Practices’ in a business. The ISO folks comment that these are “…now available to small companies…”. I contend they always have been and, in fact, most of my smaller clients had well established systems which functioned quite well to begin with. It’s hard to say that their ISO registration process was particularly value added. As with the vast majority of companies, they were required by one or more customer(s) to register. Or the sales folks saw registration as a potential for increased sales (everyone’s doing it).