Frequently Asked Questions
The business world is changing probably faster than ever before to meet these challenges. Organisations are more frequently looking to develop alliances both with customers and suppliers. As customers seek to evaluate potential partners and alliances the international standard provides a high level of confidence. ISO 44001 is a neutral platform on which to create more effective engagement.
The benefits of collaboration will be organisation specific based on the business objectives and much of this can be realised without going down the certification route. The value of certification is that introduces a level of rigor to ensure internal processes are maintain and followed proving greater sustainability in relationships. A first step might be to focus on ISO 44000 Principles for Successful Collaborative Working. Understanding these 12 principles and their applicability within your organisation will help in assessing the value and impact of moving to a more systemic approach.
The cost of implementation is reflective of the level of maturity in terms of collaborative working. An initial self assessment will enable organisations to gauge the current level of compliance and a facilitated GAP analysis will provide a definitive implementation programme. It is important to recognised that much of what ISO 44001 requires are more likely to be minimal changes to existing company processes therefore the internal costs can be minimised. Certification costs will vary dependent on the scope but the best approach is to start with a limited pilot programme and build from there.
Current experience working with reasonably mature client suggests that between 3-6 months allows for the necessary processes to be embedded in an organisation.
Whilst the ICW team can help guide the implementation the value of certification is that it is undertaken by an independent certification body, ICW would recommend careful consideration the selection of which you choose. Those that are members of ICW executive Network have been validated by the Institute as having a robust understanding of the intent of the standard. Currently ICW is working with UKAS on a pilot programme for accreditation of certification bodies to assess ISO 44001 and with ISO/CASCO to define assessor capability.
Partnering is a commitment between two or more parties in a collaborative relationship to create value by striving to achieve shared competitive goals and operational benefit through a spirit of mutual trust and openness. It is important to recognize that not every relationship is a partnership but it can encompass the partnering ethos.
Every relationship is unique so there is no one-size-fits-all solution but based on experience the standard provides a route map that will enable organisations to consider the implications and benefits of collaborative working.
There are perhaps three key issues in any relationship. The first is to appreciate that in every relationship there are three sets of objectives Yours-Mine and Ours. A robust relationship must recognise all three and work towards satisfying them all. This must be supported by an effective dispute management process and finally the development of an exit strategy since once people understand the issues for disengagement it relieves the constraints for engagement.
Effective relationships help drive performance and whilst we have many management processes these relationships are frequently left to chance. Having a robust and systemic approach ensures that relationship issues do not become performance failures. Organisations are made up of people and whilst systems, procedures and processes can direct performance it is the interaction between people that are the catalyst for success. Simply put: "companies make contracts but people make business".
There are many different outcomes for collaborative relationships which depend on the objectives of the partners. The easy way to think about potential benefits is to consider improvements in delivery processes, which could be achieved by working with external organisations with complementary skills and resources. It very much depends on the strategic objectives of the organisations involved.
There has been a lot of emphasis on measuring performance through Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Service Level Agreements (SLAs), which are outcome based but very little done to consider how well organisations work with each other. The CRAFT range of tools developed to monitor and test the strength of the relationships, which drive these outcomes.
The more integrated the relationship and the greater the focus on innovative approaches the more likelihood of differing views. Strong relationships are built on the ability of the partners to resolve disputes effectively.
Organisations are about people who in turn are a kaleidoscope of traits and styles and whilst companies may have strong cultures success rides on the ability of people to work together and share knowledge. Critical behaviours of individuals can undermine even the strongest of relationships. Whilst ISO 44001 is a standard based on implementing a robust management system every requirement within it has a direct influence on the way individuals behave it is not simply about process.
The simple answer is No. Whilst there is always a place for adopting collaborative behaviours, implementing a systemic management approach will likely require organisational changes, investment and skills development thus it should always be linked to the organisations objectives and a robust business case. Implementing ISO 44001 has to be judged based on the specific value proposition.