How do you determine system suitability and effectiveness of a new system?



System Effectiveness

How do you determine system suitability and effectiveness of a new system?

Our system is aprx 3 months old and we have just undergone Step 1 in an two Step registration process. An action item was written that "there was no objective evid. that effectiveness had been determined" even though there was documentation in our Mgt reviwed minutes that based on the results of audits the system was in its early stages of development but was effective even though there was room for improvement.

Thoughts anyone on how this can be quantified?


Super Moderator
How have you been doing in meeting your Targets? It may be that you haven't improved upon your initial position in relation to your proposed one.

The term "effective" is abiguous and open to interpretation.

Can you show improvement? Can you prove it?

Are you complying with legal and other requirements? Can you prove it?

Are your "stakeholders informed and aware of your policy, significant aspects, your targets? Can you prove it?


Randy, Thanks, good points you make.
I have since learned that part of problem may have been how our Environmental Manager articulated answer to the Registrar Auditor.

Otherwise the Step 1 of the registration audit went pretty with 8 other Action request over the three days; nothing big just stuff that needs tweaking.


Hi Folks:

This is my first post, so I'm just a bit nervous...however here is my best shot:

No.1: Three months is indeed a very short time for an ISO 14001 implementation. In my five years of experience with ISO 14001 (my first audit was in 1996, in South America), generally 6 months was found to be a good "minimum" time to collect data. The idea really is to work with the env. objective and targets, that is, gather hard data (kg's of waste, effluent reduction, energy saved..). The other part is to "train the troops" which is often more difficult. All of this takes time and effort.

No.2: "Effectiveness" is indeed ambiguous and often depends on auditor experience. I remember one registration that we ended up taking over because the pre-audit by another registrar had seriously offended the Q-Manager. The auditor (an apparent novice) had written up a finding that groundwater conditions had not been studied in the immediate plant area, normally a valid point but made totally superfluous by the fact that ALL of the groundwater in the area (Buenos Aires, Argentina) is a huge sewer (for more than 100 years of indiscriminate dumping in open pits).

Anyhow, that's my two cents worth. I am a contract auditor based in the Austin, TX area, pretty close to you. If you would like some personal advice, feel free to give me a call, either at (512) 837-3376 or (512) 698-7880 (cell). I also speak German and Spanish.


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