Businesses and Management Systems

There is no doubt that, there is an upsurge of businesses in Ghana. The good thing about this development is the fact that, the private sector seems to be leading this positive trend. Businesses however must have a competitive urge to thrive, especially when the market place has been merged into one global playing field. In the free zones consideration, there should be minimum 70% export of your output and the remaining sold on the local market.

Some businesses however choose to trade locally, and only dream of venturing into getting their products onto the global market. In Ghana, the survival of a business and of course the strengthening of the economy would much depend on an equation where export of goods and services must necessarily outweigh imports. For those who have not put their houses in order, they can no longer have the luxury of shirking competition even on the local market. As we operate a liberal market system, where everything from toothpick to second-hand clothing is imported, the competition has meandered its way onto our markets with full force.
The need for Management Systems
The starting point of a business after identifying a product and a market is management systems. A management system can be defined as the framework of policies, processes and procedures used to ensure that an organization can fulfill all tasks required to achieve its objectives. It is very interesting to note that, many businesses exist without management systems. There are no documented policies, processes and procedures. Every organization should have aims and objectives from which policies are drawn.

Where organizations start without proper documentation of their aims and objectives, it is obvious they’ll not be able to come up with any meaningful policy. Standards and procedures emanate from policy statements in that order. There are several other processes that follow but the starting point is considering management systems as a must have, if your business would survive the extremely competitive market we now have.
For instance, a quality management system enables organizations to improve their overall quality performance through a process of continuous improvement. It normally follows the Deming Cycle; Plan, Do, Check, Act but a deeper understanding of this cycle reveals details that would include accountability (an assignment of personal responsibility) and a schedule for activities to be completed. Making the system full proof would involve auditing tools to implement corrective actions in addition to scheduled activities. This then creates a powerful spring of continuous improvement.
Management System Types
There are several management system standards. These include ISO 9000: standards for quality management systems (QMS), ISO 14000: standards for environmental management systems, ISO 18000: standards for occupational health and safety management systems, ISO/IEC 20000: standards for service management systems (SMS) and many others.
There are several models for management systems but the most widely known and used is the ISO management system standards. These provide a model to follow when setting up and operating a management system. It is widely used because they result from international, expert consensus and therefore offer the benefit of global management experience and good practice.
These standards can be applied to any organization, large or small, whatever the product or service and regardless of the sector of activity.
The end goal of every management system comes down to satisfying customer requirements. The benefits of an effective management system include: more efficient use of resources, improved risk management, and increased customer satisfaction as services and products consistently deliver what they promise.
Where to Start?
The starting point for organizations with regards to management systems might be quality management systems, occupational health and safety management systems and environmental management systems. Of course depending on the sector involved there would be the need for additional management systems to fully satisfy customer requirements.
For instance, players in the food industry would definitely need to implement the food safety management systems, ISO 22000.
If businesses are to thrive and compete favorably on the global market, there would be the need to invest in management systems, especially when customers and consumers as well, are increasingly becoming aware of the benefits these systems bring to them in terms of the quality and safety of the products they purchase.

Johnson Opoku-Boateng is the Executive Director & Lead Consultant, QA CONSULT (Consultants and Trainers in Quality/Safety Management, Manufacturing Excellence and Food Safety) and can be reached on +233209996002, email: johnson@qaconsultgh.com.

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