80:20 Management Consulting

80:20 Management Consulting
part of the 80:20 Group

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chemical and Hazardous Substances Management

For Australian readers you would know that any hazardous chemical in your work place requires and MSDS and a chemical risk assessment.

Too many businesses I visit view chemical and haz subs management as an afterthought rather than an integral part of their purchasing process.

When developing your purchasing process, ensure that there is a section devoted to the purchasing of chemicals and other hazardous substances. You should work with the people using the chemicals to develop a list of standard substances and suppliers for purchase. Each supplier would need to provide current MSDS's and if possible a chemical risk assessment before any chemicals are supplied.

By determining set limits for purchasing stock you can ensure that you are not spending too much AND you have a better idea what quantities you are storing on site.

Far too many businesses have no idea what they have in their workshops/storage cupboards etc.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Document Control Part 2

Following on from my post yesterday about Document Control (sorry I ran out of time and didn't get to finish it).

My last tip was if you have to have a file path or location in your footer then you have a problem with your document control. 

To elaborate on that point, you need to set up a solid filing structure so that files are easily located. This includes the folder structure AND the naming protocol for your documents. 

You should try to stop employees having their own folders where everything just gets dumped and forgotten. Even if something is a work in progress it should be filed properly, marked as a draft in the file name and given a revision number.

I have a good example of a solid filing process but I'm not going to give away all of my secrets on here. If you have any questions about document control feel free to ask me in the comments section below.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Document Control Part 1

Aaaaaaah document control, everyone has to do it but no one seems to do it effectively. It always seems to be inadequate or total overkill.

If you follow the below guidelines you can't really go wrong and you can gain much greater control over your documents.

1. Before you even start writing your Document Control Procedure, pick someone within your organisation to take ownership of it completely. You want one person only to be allowed to create documents for approval. Others may create drafts but they must all be funnelled to this one person.

2. Choose somebody who is a bit of a stickler for detail. People who get annoyed if things aren't spaced properly or aren't aligned are great when it comes to keeping control of their documents.

3. Create a solid approval process. Your employees need to know that documents they create MUST be approved before they go anywhere. I have seen many tenders get messed up because it has been sent out without final approval and the price is incorrect.

4. Document control must be driven from the top. If you are the business manager or owner be on the lookout for document control issues and be sure to follow the process yourself.

5. Create a standard footer for all documents which shows the following details
- Page x of y (too many people just do page x, how do you know if a page is missing???)
- Revision Number or date or both
- Approved by (preferrably with a signature)

6. If you have to put a path in your document footer, it is a good sign that your document control system isn't working. 

I will continue this either later today or tomorrow as I have to do some real work but as always if you have any questions about document control please feel free to ask me in the comments below or shoot me an email

Monday, June 27, 2011

Aspects and Impacts

I apologise for the long delay between posts (not that there is a massive crowd awaiting my written word) but it means business has been good.

When building an Environmental Management System for the first time, The part that pretty much everyone gets wrong is their Aspects and Impacts (followed closely by legal and other requirements). The reason for this is fairly simple. Unless you have been trained in how to do it or have some assistance, it is actually very difficult and will require a lot of time and research to do it properly (depending on your business type).

When assessing your aspects and impacts you are essentially performing an environmental risk assessment on all tasks performed in your business. Unless you know what you are doing or have some guidance most people get it wrong because they don't know what they are doing.

If you are looking at getting your business ISO14001 certified do yourself a favour and enrol in a basic 2 day course on how to implement an EMS. It may cost you around $1500 but it is money well spent. Alternatively use that money to get a specialist to spend some time with you to explain how it works and how to apply it to your business.

If you have any questions though in regards to Aspects and Impacts contact me in the comments and I will be happy to help.