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What is a Management System

Why do organisations need management systems?


Almost all organisations strive to:
provide a service to their clients which meets their requirements and expectations
achieve high levels of client satisfaction
achieve profitability and/or financial stability

Organisations have strategies and policies aimed at achieving this purpose. These are supported by lower level processes which people apply to undertake their daily work, aimed at for example: making sure the client's requirements are understood, and delivering a service which fully meets the client's expectations. These processes help to define the culture or ethos of the organisation - 'the way we do things around here' or 'the xyz company way'

In small organisations (1-10 employees, say) communicating and sharing the vision, strategy and processes is relatively straightforward. As the organisation grows and the structure becomes more complex, the 'company way' needs to be documented so that everyone shares a common view of how the organisation delivers quality to its clients.

The documentation is known as a 'management system'.

Content of a management system

A management system comprises:
procedures, which define processes: who does what, when, how? what is the output? what happens to it?
standards, which define the 'shape' of outputs: e.g. what does a quotation to a client contain? what does a purchase order look like?

Many of the standards will be forms or templates.

IIt is often helpful to structure the system into:
delivery procedures: defining the processes which determine the client's requirement and deliver the product or service
support procedures: defining the processes outside the main delivery line, but which are important to the general running of the organisation e.g. purchasing, information security, invoicing
feedback procedures: however well designed, the management system will never be perfect; there need to be mechanisms for capturing and applying improvements; these include:
    suggestions from staff
  feedback from clients
  quality audits

Form of a management system

Traditionally management systems have consisted of paper documents in manuals. Nowadays technology enables systems to be accessed from PCs, via the Windows desktop or corporate intranet. This makes the system far easier to access and use and reduces maintenance costs.

Benefits of using a management system


Organisations who use a management system typically find:
costs are reduced: doing things right first time eliminates the need for rework
senior management reduce the time they need to allocate to day-to-day running of the organisation, freeing up time for business development and other strategic work
clients are satisfied and loyal
winning new clients is easier

To build an effective management system we recommend you follow five key principles


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