Guidance - Setting up an integrated quality & environmental management system

T

tuglet

#1
Hi All

I've been the sole IT guy for a manufacturing company for the last 15 years. I've always worked in IT since I graduated 20 years ago.

I have been given the job of setting up an integrated quality and environmental management system and gaining 9001 and 14001 certification.

My question is, how realistic is this?

I ask because I've been working at it for a few months now and I feel like I'm totally out of my depth. I'm constantly frustrated and feeling like I don't know what I'm doing. I've attended two 1-day Foundation courses where we read through the standards clause by clause and discussed them, and a 2-day Internal Auditor course.

Am I just not as smart as I thought I was? Should a reasonably intelligent person be able to take this on?
 
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qpled

Involved In Discussions
#2
Re: Seeking guidance

Tuglet,
IMHO it is common to feel this way when starting out on the road to certification. You are off to a good start with the classes and it sounds like what you may need now is some guidance from the certification body your company will be using for external audits. Perhaps a gap analysis or even just a one-day consultancy could get you to a comfortable spot. Is there a specific part of the entire process that is frustrating you? And/or are you being pressured to accomplish certification in a short period of time?
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#3
Re: Seeking guidance

In your situation, I would look for a small group program which is designed to get your system set up. Check you local associations or schools. Usually, it's a group of 3-6 similar companies who meet say once a month and work on their QMS to get it ready. Cheaper than a one on one consultant and you have your peers to bounce ideas off. Good luck.
 
J

johnboywalton

#4
Re: Seeking guidance

Could be a great move! Make sure you use a customizable software like Quickbase and not a canned package, where you have little or no control over the programming. IT folks are used to having creative freedom, and that will be your strength in the new position.
 

gpainter

Quite Involved in Discussions
#5
Re: Seeking guidance

You can do it, but are you comfortable with it? There is plenty of good help here. Is your system certified at present? If not I would start with the QMS and after a year or so add the EMS. Do you have a quality and health and safety person? It has to be a team effort and you be the guide. Good Luck!
 
T

tuglet

#6
Re: Seeking guidance - Setting up an integrated quality & environmental management sy

Wow. Wasn't expecting so many replies so quickly. I'm just home from work so I'll work through and respond to each post now. Cheers.
 

Eredhel

Quality Manager
#7
Re: Seeking guidance - Setting up an integrated quality & environmental management sy

Would the company be willing to hire a consultant? If you find the right one it can make a world of difference. We are a small shop moving to ISO 9001 certification and our consultant has been great, as well as affordable.
 
T

tuglet

#8
Re: Seeking guidance

Tuglet,
IMHO it is common to feel this way when starting out on the road to certification. You are off to a good start with the classes and it sounds like what you may need now is some guidance from the certification body your company will be using for external audits. Perhaps a gap analysis or even just a one-day consultancy could get you to a comfortable spot. Is there a specific part of the entire process that is frustrating you? And/or are you being pressured to accomplish certification in a short period of time?
No pressure at the moment, other than lack of time. I’m still doing my IT work, plus several other jobs that have come my way, including responding to tenders/RTQs, raising invoices/credits, processing expenses claims, scanning documents, franking the mail and answering the door (I kid you not). To explain, the company has shrunk from about 300 staff to only 80 and I’ve inherited work that used to be done by about 4 other people. I’m squeezing in the ISO stuff whenever I get a spare hour or two.

To be honest, I find most of it frustrating. It seems that every time I sit down to complete a task, I find myself lacking the experience or knowledge to do it.

For example, it took me an age to set up our Environmental Aspects and Impacts Register. Once I eventually found a spreadsheet template that I was happy with, I really didn’t have a clue what information to put in it. I didn’t even know what an aspect or impact were, or how to identify them, or determine their significance and how to control them. Probably basic stuff for someone who knows what they’re doing, but days of Googling and banging my head on my desk for me.

COSHH risk assessments, VOC emissions calculations, waste carrier licences, PPC/B permits for emissions to sewer, etc... All things that need to be done, and done right, on penalty of fines or worse. All things I’ve not been trained to do. It gets frustrating not knowing if I’m doing it right and having nobody to learn from.
 
T

tuglet

#9
Re: Seeking guidance

In your situation, I would look for a small group program which is designed to get your system set up. Check you local associations or schools. Usually, it's a group of 3-6 similar companies who meet say once a month and work on their QMS to get it ready. Cheaper than a one on one consultant and you have your peers to bounce ideas off. Good luck.
That sounds like a great idea. I'll make some enquiries to see if there's anything local. Cheers.
 
T

tuglet

#10
Re: Seeking guidance

You can do it, but are you comfortable with it? There is plenty of good help here. Is your system certified at present? If not I would start with the QMS and after a year or so add the EMS. Do you have a quality and health and safety person? It has to be a team effort and you be the guide. Good Luck!
To be honest, it’s not something I ever saw myself doing, and I’m really not enjoying it. I keep hoping that I’ll become more comfortable with it as I learn more but it’s not happened yet.

We don’t have a complete system yet. I’m still trying to put it together from scratch. The boss wants an integrated quality and environmental system as she was advised this is the best way to go so I’m doing it all in one hit.

You make a good point about team effort. While I’m not meeting any actual resistance, it’s clear that nobody is particularly interested, and it’s hard to inspire others when you’re not confident in your own abilities.
 
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