The standard that undergoes a revamping approximately every 8 years, was streamlined with other international standards in 2015 meaning that 9001 certified companies have until September 2018 to upgrade their Quality Management Systems (QMS) and get certified against the revised standard.


This is a milestone in the cases of most companies, especially if a lightweight and manageable QMS is concerned and a possible stabling mile-stone and a challenge for the others. Whatever the situation, it offers an opportunity to “clean and lean” one’s QMS.


2018 is to commensurate with the 20 years anniversary of the implementation of ISM that calls for a Safety Management System (SMS); the two may run in parallel having a joint QMS with a SMS which is in fact what most companies have done.


This may have been the reason that during the past 20 years Management Systems (MS whether QMS or SMS or both) have grown asymmetrically; they appear to be unsaturated in terms of content (open ended allowing room for expansions, additions etc.), tend to stockpile and hoard which are all symptoms of a fouling MS.


Self-checks for the condition of own MS:

  • Does the MS contain contradicting information?
  • Is there text open to interpretation?
  • Is content easily traceable?
  • Do audits bring confidence or stress & discomfort to employees?
  • Does the MS display a structure similar to ISO / ISM?
  • Is it a HEAVY system, whereby information takes long to be retrieved?
  • Do employees refer and reference content?
  • What do employees think over the system and how much disparity is there in the opinion of staff?
  • Does the MS heavily repeat legislation (from SOLAS, MLC etc.)?
  • How user friendly is it (are there any pictures, diagrams, graphs and photos for example)?
  • Are there suggestions for improvement made by staff and crew? If yes is the number an indication whether large or small and if no, why would that be?


Best MS may be described as condense, saturated, articulated and minimal. The cure involves sacrificing some of the MS’ content in favour of clarity, comfort, saving repetition, arguments and discussions.



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