If you are not sure if you have the talent in-house to replace the ISO Management Rep or if you have decided to hire a replacement, then the first thing you want to do is assign an interim ISO Management Rep since there is no telling how long the search may take. The interim ISO Management Rep will be the point of contact with your Registrar for the time being as well as take note of any questions that may come to his/her way.
You have to notify your Registrar in order to avoid the risk of lost communication. This is particularly important if your audit is coming up soon. By notifying the Registrar on time, you will prevent the Registrar from emailing somebody who is no longer with your company. If you feel you are close to hiring a replacement, you may even ask them to postpone the audit for a few weeks or months.
If your company has a management system that is decentralized, chances are the system can run on its own with little disruption due the ISO Management Rep’s departure. In this case, figure out what his/her specific roles were and reassign them as necessary. Pay particular attention to Internal Audits. The ISO Management Rep typically runs the audit program, so this is one you don’t want to miss. Again, if your company is decentralized and matured, all you have to do is pick the Lead Auditor from among your pool of auditors and he/she should be capable of following your audit schedule and procedure to form a team and carry on with the Internal Audits.
Now, if your company has a management system that is very ISO-Management-Rep-centric, then you are in for a treat. If you don’t have the talent in-house, my best recommendation is that you bring a Consultant to act as an ISO Coordinator for the time being. While that may seem like an added cost, if you don’t bring in someone who is knowledgeable, you run the risk of your entire management system falling apart. This could actually cost your company to regress in terms of quality, undoing years of progress in just a few months, especially if you halt your Internal Audit program. So your best bet is to bring a Consultant with an Auditing Team, have them perform your Internal Audit, and ensure that he/she helps out in the closure of the nonconformities along with your own team. If possible, use their expertise to begin decentralizing your management system, so that you are not left in that same situation again.
Another area where the Management Rep is usually heavily involved is the Management Review. He/she is typically in charge of creating the whole presentation, arranging the meeting, inviting the correct personnel, and issuing the minutes. In this case, if you have good procedures and a good history of Management Reviews, I suggest giving one of your team members the challenge of carrying out this major event. If he/she was taught well, chances are he/she will welcome the challenge.
But if you know – deep down – that your Management Reviews have never amounted to more than a dog and pony show, then this is your chance to break free. Get your Consultant back in and have him/her help you to prepare and conduct the Management Review the way it is intended to be: a fruitful exercise whereby your team can accurately review your management system and make decisions as to where your organization is going and what actions are needed to get there. Once again, use the Consultant’s expertise to update your procedures so that you can follow them for years to come.
I’m certain these simple steps should help keep your management system in check. Of course, there are more details to a management system than the ones presented here, but those discussed above are the ones that can render your management system unworthy of a certificate. So, keep these simple steps in mind when transitioning through ISO Management Reps and your system will prevail. And don’t forget, “a good management system is one that is ingrained in every employee and every process and drives on its own.”
Miriam Boudreaux is the President of Mireaux Management Solutions, a consulting firm headquartered in Houston, TX. Mireaux’s products and services encompass ISO consulting, ISO Training, Internal Auditing, implementation of Web QMS platform and electronic QMS hosting.
To get in touch with Miriam Boudreaux, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.