How to transition to a paperless office

Transitioning to a paperless office is often identified as an organisational improvement initiative. The transition need not happen overnight and can be progressive. Initiatives to implement in order to transition to a paperless office are outlined below:-

  • Pay bills online;
  • Scan as many documents as you can. This will ultimately reduce how many paper documents need to be stored around the office;
  • Utilise programs like Survey Monkey to prepare and issue customer surveys;
  • Utilise file sharing software since it may allow several users to access files in a controlled manner. Possible file sharing software solutions to consider are:-
    • Drop Box
    • Share File
    • Box
    • Secure Docs
    • Open Drive
  • Utilise electronic signatures wherever possible provided appropriate delegated authority guidelines have been developed and implemented. Ensure internal audits are conducted regularly to check correct use of electronic signature(s).

Potential disadvantages associated with implementing a paperless office are outlined below:-

  • Email statements can sometimes be blocked by spam filters;
  • A full inbox has the potential for an important email not to be opened and actioned;
  • Staff may resist change especially if they are not IT savvy;
  • There is the potential for unauthorised third party access i.e. hackers.

The compromise is for an organisation to move towards a paperless system and digitise all documents wherever practical.

For further information regarding management system certification please email: info@obsequentia.com.au

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Maintaining certification

Once you are certified you are issued with a certification certificate. This certificate contains details of when the certification expires. In order to maintain your certification you are required to complete surveillance audits. The objective of the surveillance audits is to ascertain whether the management system is being maintained.

In order to ensure that annual surveillance audits are as pain free as possible it is important to ensure the following:-

  • Management system processes are followed on a regular basis
  • Project documentation is completed when required and not retrospectively
  • Internal audits are conducted in accordance with the Audit Program
  • New staff are inducted and are made aware of all organisational processes
  • Organisational improvements need to be documented and when required appropriate revisions made to management system documentation.

If you do not conduct your surveillance audits then you run the risk of having your certification lapse. The consequence of letting your certification lapse is that you can ultimately damage your organisation’s business. You will also need to remove all references to your certification from all marketing material. Failure to do so could result in legal action.

For further information regarding certification please email: info@obsequentia.com.au

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How to avoid rework

A common issue often reported in audits is the amount of rework having to be conducted. Rework can be avoided by ensuring the following:-

  • ALWAYS PRIORTISE YOUR WORK.
    This will ensure that deadlines are met without that last minute rush. Important deadlines are to be communicated to appropriate stakeholders so that everyone knows what they need to complete in order to meet a deadline.
  • DOCUMENT CLIENT REQUIREMENTS AND DELIVERABLES
    This will ensure that deadlines are met without that last minute rush. Long gone are the days where a hand shake meant the deal was done! The complexity of documentation will vary depending on project value and complexity. However, simple documentation can be drafted that outlines project deliverables and timeframes agreed by both parties.
  • COMMUNICATE
    Communicate with all appropriate stakeholders. This will ensure that everyone knows what is happening. Any changes need to be communicated promptly and clearly. Use staff meetings to reiterate high priority work.
  • LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES
    Everyone makes mistakes! Despite best attempts there will be times when things go pear shaped and rework is required. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes and get feedback from stakeholders on ‘how can we improve and make sure this never happens again’. Management review meetings can be used to discuss these issues.

For further information regarding management system certification please email: info@obsequentia.com.au

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How to keep costs to a minimum for a certified management system

There is common myth that a certified management system is expensive to maintain. However, costs in reality should be reduced when implementing a certified management system. Here are a few tips for ensuring that costs of maintaining a certified management system are kept to a minimum:

  • Ensure that processes are streamlined and that there are no areas of overlap. Duplication frustrates users
  • Ensure documentation is user friendly. Get input from staff that will be using specific documentation. Getting feedback from the beginning could reduce the amount of rework further down the track
  • Conduct internal audits / management reviews as and when they fall due. If they are left just prior to an external audit then staff overtime costs could be incurred
  • Ensure that there are several staff trained on how to conduct internal audits. Organisations need to avoid the situation where there is only one person in the organization who can conduct internal audits. If that particular person is sick or leaves the organization an external consultant may be required to complete internal audits
  • The culture within the organization needs to be one that incorporates processes in every aspect of the environment. Senior management need to support this ethos and promote the sustained benefit of implementing and maintaining a certified management system.

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