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Using ISO 9001:2015 to Improve Sustainability Tracks The Drivers of Change

The need for basic systemic change can be driven by several external and internal factors. External factors include:

• Changes in customer perception of the organization’s products and services. Competitors may improve their market share at your expense by changing customers’ perceptions of their product and services vis-à-vis yours. Or, your actual performance may have declined. An organization may fi nd its management system is ill-equipped to sense or understand this situation, much less address it.

• Rapid changes in technology. An organization may fi nd technology is changing rapidly.

• Rapid changes in market conditions. Such factors as ecommerce may be changing the way customers expect to be able to purchase products and services.

• Increasing regulatory requirements. An organization participating in regulated markets may determine new regulations could signifi cantly reduce fl exibility.

• Deregulation. An organization in a stable, highly structured market may fi nd itself open to unbridled competition.

• Situations related to fi nancing the organization. Often, organizations face increased pressure for improved return on investment to get loans or sell equity to fi nance ongoing operations and growth.

• Pressures related to stock price and dividends. Equity markets and stock analysts often demand real and perhaps unrealistic improvements in performance.

• Direct pressure to change the management system. The organization’s whole industry may be moving to compliance with a management system standard, such as ISO 9001, or customers may demand that suppliers become certifi ed to ISO 9001.

• Board of directors (BOD) pressure. Major changes requested by a BOD may be based on data or perception of impending changes in the external environment.

Internal drivers of the need for basic change to consider may include:

• Competitive advantage. All organizations seek to achieve advantages over competitors, and top management may believe a better, faster, smarter management system may enable the organization to attract customers.

• Self-assessment results. Through review of the organization’s internal self-assessment, top management may decide there is a need to make basic changes to the management system.

• New markets. Top managers may perceive major opportunities in markets never before penetrated, and these markets may be half a world away.

• New product lines. If current markets are saturated and highly competitive, there may be a need to create whole new lines of products or services while maintaining growth of current offerings.

• Related markets. Top managers may perceive opportunities for growth in tangential markets for existing products.

• Product obsolescence. The organization’s only products are like typewriters and slide rules; they will be replaced quickly with different items that perform the same function better and faster.

For most, there is only one reality related to the drivers that are causing the organization to need change: there is nothing they can really do about them. If the changes are driven by external conditions—and most really are—even top managers can have little effect on these external forces. Organizations must, however, have processes to sense them early and to consider actions to address them swiftly.

Review Organizational Basics

The action plan to review organizational basics is a responsibility of top management, and sometimes it is viewed as a part of the strategic planning process. Such a review should consider:

• The organization’s basic principles and core values against needs for the future.

• The organization’s formal mission. If there is a basic shift in product strategies, there may be a need to November/December 2015 37

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