We all know this, but we can’t emphasize it enough: QHSE is not about the certificates. The certificates should be an end result of the organization doing a great job on QHSE and taking it seriously. When an organization approaches it like this, it becomes embodied in the organization, and any kind of audit will go so much smoother, whether it is a supplier audit, customer audit, external audit, or internal audit.
Culture is the lifeblood of the organization, of course. Having the right culture attracts the right people, which increases the culture. As touched upon earlier, the QHSE culture should be really embedded in the values of the organization. Openness and transparency are key when it comes to improvement. The organization needs people to be open about the things that go wrong. The number of created issues or NCR’s per number of employees is a great way to see how open the organization is. The open culture will make improving the quality and safety much easier, which will lead to seamless certification.
An organization cannot have a great QHSE management system when it is running separately from the strategy of the company. When QHSE isn’t embedded in this strategy, it is not that important to top management, which makes it very difficult for it to be important to employees. In this case, the certificates and therefore the management system becomes a stand-alone system detached from the operations, and their advertisements hardly have any value. This detachment is a recipe for disaster when it comes to external audits. The management system is not part of people’s day-to-day tasks, and therefore, they need to be trained in order to give the right answers during the audits.
The certificates an organization has should be the result of having a company-driven QHSE management system. There are still lots of companies that need the certificates to operate, which is understandable at the beginning of certification, but after years it is simply not worth it. All the hours and effort that goes into merely holding the certification for the sake of holding them. It is important to be embedded in the culture and strategy to prevent the management system from being a stand-alone thing. Yes, the certificates might look great from a sales and marketing perspective, but they are too expensive. Not only because of the audits, but also because of all the effort and time it takes.
When it comes to the adoption of the QHSE management system within the organization, technology can help a lot. Qooling allows for automating mundane tasks such as reminders and scheduling. Also, it has the ability to make it a lot easier for people to interact with the management system, such as with digital forms on a smartphone by simply reporting an NCR by taking a picture.