Difficulties small businesses face in implementing management systems
Although the different standards, mainly ISO 9001 quality, AS/NZS 4801 safety and ISO 14001 environmental standards are applicable to any organization, regardless of size, small businesses face unique difficulties when trying to implement theses standards.
A main difficulty that the quality, safety and environmental management standards are written in a language that can be quite difficult to understand and may contain elements that suggest the systems are bureaucratic and intended only for large organizations. In reality, quality management systems do not have to add bureaucracy and paperwork. This ha been the case since the more latest versions of the standard have been published where there are much less requirements for documented procedures. A consultant can work with management, explains the critical ISO 9001 requirement in a simple language and develop an easy-to-read quality management system. However, not all small business can afford the services of a consultant.
From cost perspective, some small business owners believe that the cost of development and certification of a system is too expensive for a small business. While this has been true for many years, since ISO Global has introduced its small business methodology, hundreds of small to medium size business were able to achieve certification. ISO Global has been working closely with certification bodies to provide special rates and schemes to make certification more affordable to small businesses.
Another issue small business face is that the project leader has other responsibilities and does not have time to lead the development of the system. A different issue is when the project leader does not have a position of influence within the business.
An approach that makes the implementation more cost effective for small business is integrating the tree systems into one management system that complies with the requirements of the tree standards. An integrated management system allows for a quicker system development time, reduced development costs compared to developing individual systems and reduced certification costs compared to certifying individual systems.