Documentation Templates: Are documentation templates worth it? How to use documentation templates
There is a lot of chatter online about the pros and cons of documentation template packages used for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001 and R2v3 implementation. Some documents and document packages are available free of charge while others are charging an obscene amount of money for them. In this blog post we will explore the nature of these documentation templates for implementing your management system. We will discuss the benefits and problems commonly associated with their use. Additionally, we will talk about how to use them and if they are a good fit for your organization.
All about documentation templates for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001 and R2v3 implementation.
If you are looking to get certified to an ISO quality, environmental, health and safety, and/or electronic recycling management system standard you need to explore all your implementation options. Generally speaking, the first step to certification is preparation of your management system documentation.
For the vast majority of you this will be your first real encounter with the ISO or R2 standard requirements. You may have heard about it or worked for an organization that was ISO certified. It is a whole different ball game however to be in the hot seat now charged with establishing and implementing your management system standard.
When making the decision on how much support you need for your implementation project it’s important to consider a few things. First, do you have the time and resources for this project, and can you complete it on your own?
What is your current timeline and resources for implementation/certification?
If you are in a hurry, which let’s be honest nearly every organization I speak with wants this completed rapidly. Many say I want to get certified by tomorrow or in a month! This unfortunately is a pipedream and minimum time honestly is about two – three months if you’re already keeping records properly and have at least some of the major requirements in place.
Using a consultant for the implementation is still the fastest route to certification. As a consultant I have audited hundreds of organizations, worked within organizations and helped implement or maintained management system standards, and worked as a consultant to implement these standards from scratch. I have the insight and experience to move quickly and efficiently. A good consultant can also keep the system minimal in size so its efficient and easier to maintain in the long run. The downside is that using a consultant is the most expensive option.
If you are not in a rush but sensitive to cost and want to keep this implementation project cost as low as possible using a documentation template can save you thousands of dollars. Just remember to calculate the cost of you or your employees time in learning about, establishing and implementing your management system. You may find out that will cost you more than just using a consultant! Not to mention the stress and headaches! Oh, the headaches!
Documentation Template Benefits and Downfalls
If you are stocked up on your Advil and wish to self-implement, then there are many benefits to using documentation template for establishing and implementing your management system. The most obvious benefit is that it will cut out all the time wondering which documents are needed and what they should include.
For example, our ISO 9001:2015 Documentation Template Package includes all the documentation that will be required to implement your Quality Management System. There is no guessing at what the standards requirements are asking of you! Everything you need is pre-written and setup for you! For a single low cost, you can easily download the documentation and begin to review and customize the key sections to fit your organization.
All our documentation template packaging come with an implementation guidance document to help you step-by-step through the customization process. They are designed to be simple and easy to complete.
3 Main Benefits of using a Documentation Template Package:
1. Saves time – short cut to establishing management system documentation
2. Cost Savings - Lowest cost option
3. Elimination of the guess work of what is required
How to use documentation Templates
Using documentation templates is pretty straight-forward. Once you complete your purchase of the documentation template package you will receive a downloadable zip file of all management system documentation as well as an implementation guidance document. The guidance document will walk you through each of the main phases.
Management System Implementation Phases
1. Establishing your Management System Documentation
2. Implementing the requirements of you Management System
3. Checking / Auditing the implementation of your Management System
Establishing your management system documentation has largely been completed upon download. However, you will need to review the management system manual to ensure its accurate to your organizations processes. There will be several sections in the provided management system manual and other documents that you will need to add information specific to your organization’s processes.
Once the documentation is updated with your current activities covered by your management system certification the implementation phase can begin. During this phase you are rolling out and training your staff on the newly created documentation to ensure they are now doing what has been said in the documentation.
Upon completion of the implementation phase, you will usually wait a short period of time to let the system you just implemented take hold and run. After a period of time, say a month or two later, you will come back and check the system with an internal audit. An internal audit checklist is provided in the documentation package to simply this process. However, some thought should be given to outsourcing the internal audit process to an independent party so that will remain objective and without any conflicts of interest. Here is a good blog post about the internal audit process – Internal Audits – Link: https://www.wilkshireconsulting.com/single-post/diving-deeper-into-iso-9001-2015
Once the internal audit and issues have been addressed the organization can conduct a management review. The management review meeting is in short, a comprehensive review of all elements of the newly implemented management. This is the final status check on the management system to ensure its good to go for your certification audit.
Which organization are a good fit for documentation template utilization?
While organizations of any size can really benefit from using a documentation template here are a few things to consider.
If you are a small organization with between 1 – 30 employees, you will generally be better off using a consultant to expedite the process. The reason I say this is that organizations of this size generally have employees wearing multiple hats. There just aren’t enough resources to make this certification project happen in a reasonable and efficient way. Additionally, you will unlikely be able to conduct the internal audit on your own without significant education and training required. Lastly, the organization will also benefit from an external set of eyes performing the internal audit in an independent and objective fashion.
Organization with greater than thirty employees may have the resources to devote an employee to take this implementation project on. If this is the case, then a documentation package would be ideal to save time on implementation and cost of using a consultant. If you can devote an employee or two for a period of 3-6 months, they will be able to work with the documentation templates effectively to implement the system. Overall, the templates provide a huge short-cut and eliminate the guess work completely. Consulting support can also be arranged to assist with review of the project process at a very reasonable rate.
Have more question or concern? Shoot us an email or give us a ring to discuss which options makes the most sense for you and your organization.
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