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Guide to BS 11000 / ISO 44001

06 September 2017

Companies have long known that a tight-knit, productive level of teamwork and camaraderie are vital to a healthy business culture. 

Companies have long known that a tight-knit, productive level of teamwork and camaraderie are vital to a healthy business culture. An increasing number of companies are also coming to the realization that an organized, methodical approach that outlines the benefits, procedures and understanding behind the teamwork is equally essential for a sustained healthy business model.

Background of the BS 11000 Standard

In the world of business, it's long been understood that constructive relations on both the consumer and supplier side are best for generating revenues and profits. It's only been in recent years, however, that the need for tight business communication on both ends has come to be more broadly recognized. The shift has been driven by heightened incentives to safeguard profits and markets.

Studies into the workings of business culture over the span of a quarter-century suggested that there would be an increased need for a more sophisticated set of operating models — a belief that has ultimately materialized through the widespread adoption of BS 11000.

As more financial cuts have taken place in the public sector, there's been an increased demand on businesses to implement projects and fulfill service obligations in ways that make the most of resources. Developments such as these have made it obvious why collaborative business relationships are essential in today's market.

What Is BS 11000 and What Does It Encompass?

Launched at the end of 2010 by the House of Lords, BS 11000 is a collaborative working standard that enables organizations to more effectively implement productive and efficient joint efforts with like-minded entities. Proponents of the standard argue that in today's business culture, where organizations have come to increasingly rely on external entities for results, there's a need for a concrete set of standards that cover the complex concerns of collaborative working relationships.

What Type of Organizations Apply BS 11000?

Joint efforts are of mutual benefit to entities across a vast range of industries, especially those that involve intricate supply chains that require large sums of capital. BS 11000 is particularly beneficial to organizations that handle commissions or project fulfillment in the areas of construction, national defense, railroads and utilities.

One of the initial movers behind the spread of BS 11000 was the Institute for Collaborative Working (ICW), which realized that business relationships could be more effective with structured protocols. The specifications of the standard can be implemented by companies of all sizes and format. Depending on the needs, size and scope of the collaboration, the components of the standard might be implemented in part or in full.

Implementation Processes & Requirements

When it comes to the question of why an organization should implement the components of a standardization framework, there are two main thoughts to consider: the potential benefits to gain from implementation and the extent to which this could help increase business growth.

With its emphasis on quality and progress, BS 11000 helps participating entities achieve mutual objectives and be more productive. With the improved communication solutions that are gained through the standard, participants become more skilled, knowledgeable and resourceful at bringing the goals of a working partnership to fruition.

Components of the Standard

The components of BS 11000 are grouped into three phases, which are divided into multiple stages. The first two phases concern strategy and engagement within a collaborative effort, and each is divided into three stages. The third phase covers managerial concerns and consists of two stages. There are eight stages in all to the standard, which has since been incorporated into the larger framework of ISO 44001:

Phase 1. Strategic Components

The first phase of BS 11000 deals with the strategic requirements for collaborative efforts between organizations. The strategic components are designed to help business entities understand the full potential behind collaborative efforts and how to implement the protocols that make it possible to achieve the mutual goals of the partnership.

The phase is divided into the following three stages, all of which are designed to help organizations gain an understanding of the strategic fundamentals that make it possible to implement a working partnership:

The other part of this knowledge is developed through innovative thinking and experimentation, which allows each business entity to find its own best methods.

  • Stage 1. Operational awareness. This deals with the question of how management can be utilized to maximize the business objectives and the structural elements that make it all happen. Operational awareness gives organizations a better understanding of how individuals play a personal role — and how each group plays a collective role — in implementing goals and harnessing strengths.

  • Stage 2. Knowledge. This refers to the development of a greater awareness of how relationships are built through business for the greatest benefit of all parties involved. Part of this comes through a deeper understanding of how other business cultures work at developing mutual interests between suppliers and sellers, and between sellers and consumers — all while maintaining strong inside communication protocols that allow organizations to function with utmost efficiency.

  • Stage 3. Internal assessment. This concerns the evaluation of an organization's collaborative abilities. Does the company have a proven track record for collaborating efficiently and for the maximum mutual benefit of all parties involved? Or are there problems in this area that need to be worked out before productive collaborations can take place?

Some entities come to the table with only their own interests in mind, and they fail to comprehend the mutual benefits of working toward the common good. With this stage of the strategic components, organizations realize the strengths and weakness of their collaborative efforts.

Phase 2. Engagement Components

The second phase of BS 11000 deals with the components of engagement. During this phase, the parties that enter into a partnership deal with the fundamental aspects of working relationships, from the selection of partners to the assessment of benefits. Along the way, partners learn to recognize mutual strengths and seize unique opportunities that make processes more efficient.

By covering these steps, partnered organizations have the potential to gain in areas that would have otherwise been inconceivable. As with the first phase, the engagement phase is divided into three stages:

Partner selection is one of the most critical steps in the process. Collaboration efforts can only really thrive when all parties involved are on the same page as one another.

With this stage of the engagement process, partners devise the most efficient and productive ways to achieve a common goal with maximum benefits for all parties involved, while eliminating steps that could be counterproductive or detrimental to the project at hand.

  • Stage 4. Partner selection. This concerns the selection of partners for each given project. Is the person or entity chosen for the collaboration the right choice based on like-mindedness and personal compatibility? Could a better match be found if further research and evaluations were conducted?

  • Stage 5. Working together. This focuses on the development of a joint approach that will make it possible to fulfill mutual goals as efficiently as possible. When partnerships are formed for a given project, the selection of partners is the crucial beginning, but the development of a joint working strategy is a much further bridge to cross.

  • Stage 6. Value creation. This concentrates on the development of additional value within a partnership. Each party knows its own strengths, and each individual or group that becomes involved in a partnership knows what they can bring to the table.

The next question after that concerns the strengths that can be gained through a partnership — collective strengths that exceed the sum of the parts. When the individual talents are combined, what new strengths emerge in the process? In what ways does the partnership accomplish more than the individual parties could have accomplished separately? Out of these discoveries, which ones are the most surprising and beneficial?

Phase 3. Management Components

The final phase of BS 11000 concerns the management of a partnership that has formed and been put into action, as well as the wrap-up of said partnership once every goal has been achieved, and all the parties involved are fully satisfied with the results.

During this phase, partnered organizations continue to learn of ways to mutually benefit from a collaborative effort by harnessing strengths and ironing out weaknesses that might be identified along the way. The management phase is divided into the following two stages:

Upon the review of strategies currently in motion, a partnership can enhance its strengths, eliminate any weak spots and achieve even greater success than initially envisioned.

  • Stage 7. Staying together. This deals with the maintenance and maximization of a working partnership once a project has taken flight. With everyone on the same page and united around a common goal, the challenge here is to measure the results of the partnership on a step-by-step basis to determine how everything is progressing and what might be improved upon to make the collaboration even more productive.

  • Stage 8. Exit strategy implementation. As the name implies, this stage concerns the point at which it's time to exit a partnership. The point here is to wrap things up at the best moment, which would be the point at which all goals have been achieved, and everyone is satisfied.

From this point onward, the partnership ceases to have further value, and the parties involved are best to go their separate ways. Of course, parting is easier said than done, and that is why it's crucial to have a disengagement plan in place — one that ensures all partners are happy with the results and the take-away benefits of the collaboration.

ISO 44001

ISO 44001 is an international business standard that updates and expands upon the concepts of BS 11000. The standard consists of 10 clauses. The first three cover basic concerns, while clauses 4 through 10 deal with the more complex aspects of implementing a quality management system (QMS) — most specifically, how to put a QMS into context and provide it with leadership, standards and support. Clause 8 incorporates the eight stages of BS 11000, and the final two clauses cover evaluation and improvement.

ISO 44001 was published in March 2017 by the International Organization for Standardization, and it is tied to the high-level ISO structures that are used by organizations to establish standard practices in management.

Clause 1. Scope

The first clause lays out the scope and aim of a QMS. The objective here is to outline a set of processes that will positively impact the areas of business that affect successful products. Initiatives taken to broaden the scope include improvement processes, conformity assurance and procedural development and implementation.

Clause 2. Normative reference

The second clause consists of a list of documents used for the preparation of the current document in hand. This clause is primarily for reference purposes.

Clause 3. Terms and definitions

The third clause covers the terms and definitions of a quality management system. In most cases, the terms and definitions carry over from prior applications.

Clause 4. Organization Context

The fourth clause of ISO 44001 deals with the context of organization. In this clause, each prospective partner in a proposed collaboration gains an understanding of the other party's organization. Just as importantly, all sides gain an understanding of the stakeholders involved.

From here, all sides come to agree upon the meaning of value and how it can be achieved, and this helps determine the scope of the effort. Essentially, organizational context can be broken down into the following four points:

  • Understanding the organization

  • Understanding the interests of stakeholders

  • Creating value

  • Determining the scope of the collaborative business relationship (CBR)

When Party A enters into a partnership with Party B, both sides must understand the objectives of the partnership. Therefore, the organizational context of a proposed joint venture first and foremost concerns an understanding on Party A's part of Party B's aims and motives, and vice versa. If the two agree and find it mutually beneficial to work jointly toward a common goal, the partnership can proceed to the next stage of development. Trust is key to forming such a partnership, but both parties must research and study one another before entering into any formal agreements.

Aside from the main players involved, it's also crucial for both sides to understand the needs of the backers behind a given project. Most specifically, why have the stakeholders agreed to invest in the project, and what do they intend to get in return for their investments? Of course, when big money gets involved, it can affect the aim and intentions behind an undertaking. That means the intention and needs of stakeholders should be evaluated as well as understood. Otherwise, one or both parties could enter an undesired or morally objectionable set of clauses.

The next stage in the process of contextual organization involves the creation of value, which should be established before a partnership takes flight. Party A must understand the value that Party B brings to the table, and vice versa. Ultimately, the aim is to generate value within a partnership that would be unattainable — perhaps inconceivable — if either party were to individually undertake the venture at hand.

The final component of organizational context is to determine the scope of a collaborative business relationship. In the broadest sense, this refers to all the ground that partnered entities intend to cover throughout the course of their collaborative efforts. Most specifically, what do they intend to achieve for their mutual benefit?

However the scope might be conceived on either side, it needs to be understood and agreed upon by all parties involved. If disagreements arise or certain aspects are deemed impractical, the problems need to be worked out so a tangible scope can be reached before things proceed.

Clause 5. Leadership

The fifth clause of ISO 44001 concerns the factors of leadership on a CBR. Leadership, of course, covers a whole range of areas, from the establishment of quality standards for a product or service to the appointment of roles within a business organization. The clause addresses the following areas:

  • Commitment

  • Customer focus

  • Establishment and communication of quality policy

  • Organizational roles, responsibilities, authority

  • Organization charts

The first area covers the commitment of leadership to the implementation of a QMS, which encompasses the policies, processes and procedures required for the execution of a business organization. If the QMS is going to work, the party at the helm must have a thorough understanding of the collective needs of all parties involved.

The next area focuses on the needs of the customers and how to best fulfill them. What is the customer looking for in a given product or service, and how can those needs be met by this product/service rather than one by a competing entity? How can first-time buyers convert to customers, and how can current customers be maintained over the long haul? Furthermore, what new products or services might customers consider if the marketing is right?

The next area deals with the establishment and communication of quality policy, which concerns the standards of a product or service and the level of excellence that must be uniformly met without exception. To achieve these objectives, quality standards must be established at all stages of design and production — and communicated and understood at all stops along the production chain.

Further areas of leadership encompass the organization of roles, responsibilities and levels of authority. For a collaborative effort to function properly, each party must have a clear definition of their respective roles. Additionally, the levels of authority as well as who is best suited to lead a given team or department need to be determined.

Finally, leadership must develop an organization chart that lays clear the roles and duties at each link in the chain of command. From the quality inspectors in the middle to the manual hands at the bottom, the chart lets each department know its own level of authority, as well as who to report to should questions or problems arise.

Clause 6. Planning

The sixth clause of ISO 44001 deals with the planning stages for a QMS. It addresses planning in the following areas:

  • Actions to address risks and opportunities

  • Quality standards and implementation plans

  • Quality performance objectives

  • Changes

When it comes to implementing a collaborative undertaking, create a procedure for dealing with potential problems. There also needs to be a set method for harnessing opportunities that might arise during a project.

In addition, plans must also be established for the implementation of quality objectives. It's one thing to have a set of quality standards, but how are those standards supposed to be integrated across all stops on the production line? Lay out the objectives to ensure the quality standards of a given product or service are fulfilled at each stage. Alternately, establish plans for weeding out examples that fail to meet these standards.

Of course, quality objectives are merely half of what it takes to achieve quality within an organization. Quality performance objectives also should be in place and must clearly define the exact steps required at each level to ensure excellence from start to finish. Quality standards are upheld through the review and monitoring of performance at all levels on a consistent basis to ensure product conformity.

There should also be a procedure in place to handle any possible changes that might arise during a given production. In case the means of production should ever be altered, a set of contingencies should be established long in advance to ensure the change is dealt with as quickly and smoothly as possible. Likewise, plans should be made at the outset to handle a change of location, should a situation emerge that would make it necessary to move operations to a different facility.

Clause 7. Support

The seventh clause of ISO 44001 covers support proceedings and policies in a variety of areas that are pertinent to a collaborative effort, from the training and evaluation of work staff to the control and distribution of documents and information. The many areas covered in this clause include the following:

  • People

  • Resources

  • Infrastructure

  • CBR competence and behavior

  • Awareness

  • Communications

  • Information control

  • Creating and updating

When it comes to the support of the people involved in a collaborative effort, individuals need training to complete the tasks that they’ve been assigned on a given project. Further measures should also be taken to record the performance of each individual and reward exceptional work accordingly.

Each person on the team should also have access to the resources they may need for any given situation — be it help with a problem or answers to questions that might arise. In the event of an accident or injury, parties need to quickly and easily find available resources as well.

Support must also be established for all levels of infrastructure for a QMS, from the layout of workspaces to the supply of equipment and transportation. If more workspace is needed for a project, the infrastructure should already be in place to back the renovation work. When new hardware or software is added to the computer arsenal, these things need to be supplied without delay.

Reevaluate the competence of each team player on an annual basis to ensure they are up to par with the current demands and performance standards of a given assignment. Provide tutoring and training materials to all personnel for each new project assigned. If an individual exhibits unsatisfactory traits, take steps to see whether the person in question can be brought up to speed with the rest of the team.

On a related note to competency support, make each team player aware of the basic standards for the collaborative effort at hand. Anyone who performs work should be aware of the quality policies and quality objectives as laid out in the planning clause. Each person should be aware of their contribution to the team and the impact it has on the project overall. All personnel must also understand the consequences for non-compliance to QMS requirements.

Communication protocols must also be supported to ensure all relevant info is delivered promptly, both internally and externally, to whomever it concerns. Those in charge of communication must determine the most appropriate nature of contents and headers, as well as the best times of day for communication to occur.

Maintain the regulation of information at all times to ensure the security and integrity of a QMS. Make all pertinent information on a policy or process available to each concerned party and protected from loss or unauthorized alteration. If any information or documents are confidential, only authorized personnel should have access.

Uphold the creation of documents, which need to be distributed and updated accordingly. Support in this area involves several levels of the process, from the identification of relevant information to the review and approval of printed words. Along the way, make specifications regarding the format and media in which documents should be distributed, be it in digital or paper form.

Clause 8. Operating Activities

The eighth clause of ISO 44001 concerns the operation of a QMS. The areas covered in this clause are the same as the eight stages of BS 11000:

  • Awareness

  • Knowledge

  • Internal assessment

  • Partner selection

  • Working together

  • Value creation

  • Staying together

  • Exit strategy

Unlike BS 11000, which divides the eight stages into three phases, the operation stages in the eighth clause of ISO 44001 are divided into two halves — operational compliance requirements and collaborative compliance requirements.

Clause 9. Performance Evaluation

The ninth clause of ISO 44001 deals with QMS performance evaluation. During this phase, a QMS is examined at all levels for its effectiveness at fulfilling a stated set of objectives. Everything from the performance of staff and management to the conformity of products and the satisfaction of customers are evaluated and reviewed here. The areas covered in the clause include the following:

  • Monitoring, measuring, analysis, evaluation

  • Customer satisfaction

  • Internal audit

  • Management review

  • Exit evaluation

The objectives that fall under the categories of monitoring, measuring and analysis consist of process and performance evaluations. The results of these evaluations help organizations implement more effective QMS as they are submitted to leadership for review. From here, winning strategies are harnessed and maximized, while sticking points are identified and rectified.

Another key area of performance evaluation concerns the response of customers to a product or service. The goal of any commercial undertaking is customer satisfaction, but it takes more than just a good product idea to bring a satisfied customer base to fruition. Through constant evaluation of customer feedback, businesses can continually find ways to build brand loyalty and develop more persuasive marketing innovations.

Performance evaluation also covers the various facets of internal auditing, which allows organizations to determine performance quality at all levels. This, in turn, helps organizations determine whether the work-related results of a given department are successful at meeting the expectations outlined during the planning stage of a business undertaking.

The performance of management at every level is also audited during the evaluation phase. Some of the key concerns in this area include the implementation of corrective actions since previous management reviews, as well as an ongoing analysis of quality fulfillment. Evaluations of customer feedback, process performance and product conformity are also done during this phase.

A further area that comes under evaluation is the exit strategy, which needs to be studied to ensure organizations exit partnerships as smoothly and timely as possible, once the fruits of collaboration have been realized for all parties involved. A poorly conceived exit strategy can cost an organization time and money. The objective here is to distinguish good from bad strategy, so only the best methods are implemented going forward.

Clause 10. Improvement

The tenth clause of ISO 44001 deals with the identification of improvement opportunities and the actions needed to bring them to fruition. During this phase, problems with a QMS are ironed out, and successful processes are identified, duplicated and often improved. The following two areas are covered in this clause:

  • Nonconformity and corrective action

  • Continual improvement

To ensure the success of a product and the satisfaction of customers, identify and correct nonconformities as early as possible. The process of identifying nonconformities and the actions taken to correct such issues are carried out in several stages. Identify the cause of the nonconformity first, and determine the rate of such occurrences. Next, implement corrective actions, and evaluate the results of those actions for effectiveness. When a corrective action succeeds at eradicating a conformity, make modifications to the original plans, as well as any necessary changes to the QMS.

Lastly, the purpose of this final phase is to identify ways to continually improve a QMS through the enhancement of processes. Based on the findings collected through performance evaluations, improvements are made in the techniques that are used in the areas of business that impact products and services.

What Are the Benefits of Compliance?

Through an assessment of your BS 11000 compliance, NQA can support your organization in its efforts to implement productive business partnerships. Through the development of a collaborative management plan, we can help you gain increased knowledge of the processes that are essential in business partnerships. To learn more about how NQA can be of benefit to your collaborative goals, contact us today for a free quote.