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Are System Templates Useful?

Jackie Stapleton
Posted by Jackie Stapleton on 9 June 2020 12:00:00 AM

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of System Templates.

Have you used templates before?

You know, if you're trying to build a system or certain procedures, have you purchased a bundle of templates to help you to do this?

Or have you had a consultant provide a full system template or package?

As a certification auditor, I’ve come across my fair share of good and bad templated systems too. 

If you are looking for a great template system, I will share with you a great toolkit I recently used myself. 

Note – this is an excerpt from the Auditor Training Online Facebook Live, which you can see here

My experience with templated systems …

As a certification auditor I have come across many, many systems in my time. We do have to remember that all systems are different, so that's why it's important that we have to be open-minded as auditors, because people will implement their systems differently.

I've seen great systems that are flexible and agile and relevant in size to the organization.  I’ve also seen really complex systems - I call them monsters!  Monster systems are those that are really too complicated, too complex and just too big for the size of the organization.  It's like someone has just gone CTRL F Replace All from one business name which could have had 1000 employees and replaced it to another company that might just have 5 employees.  The procedures have nothing, absolutely nothing to do with what they actually do.  It doesn't align with their own activities, products or services at all.

I had an auditor send me a photo in the last few months where he was auditing a company with about half a dozen employees.  The photo he sent me was of a bookshelf with about 3 shelves full of lever arch folders, so there was about 30 folders all up – this was their integrated management system – for 5 employees!  You find in systems like this that there are a lot of duplications and inconsistencies in what they say they do.  This is what I referred to earlier as a monster system!

Align it with what you already do …

When you build your management system, the first thing you have to do is look at what you already do!  If you’re in business and have been for a while, you must have some sort of systems in place already, whether it's formal or not is another thing.  So, you build your system based on what you already have in place. Don't make stuff up, honestly, keep it real. 

Let’s use the requirement for a Management Review in a small business, the owners would be top management more than likely in this instance.  If it’s a family business then they are more than likely already sitting down each week and having a chat about sales, planned jobs, installs booked, suppliers, staffing and so on.  Essentially, they're already having a management review, aren’t they?  The only difference is it may not be formal, and they might not maintain records or evidence that this has been conducted.  We take what is already being done within the business and formalize it – you don’t have to make stuff up! 

Some of these monster systems do not support businesses to do this.  Instead they enforce a whole new set of rules and processes that is just too hard to apply or not relevant to what they do at all. 

What toolkits and templates are out there?

Now, don’t get me wrong - there are some fantastic toolkits and templates out there and they do help businesses to keep things simple and flexible.  When you are looking for a template option, look for one that prompts you to record and document what you actually do and then you can build off that.  Stay away from templates and systems that are a quick-fix and are all just words that represent some generic business system and not yours.

Recently I had a friend approach me to help him with developing some OH&S documentation that he needed to renew his business’ industry accreditation.  Now, I do want to be clear, he did have these processes in place, however they were not documented for him to be able to provide to the industry body.  I was fortunate enough to be able to use the latest addition to our product offering to help us with this process – a system toolkit with all types of templates to use! 

My first step was to go looking for the templates that he needed.  I needed about 10-12 different templates to meet his requirements – I found these easily and much more too!  I spent about an hour and a half finding them and then updating the footers and headers to make them company specific.  We then had a Zoom meeting and worked together to update the templates with what was actually conducted – what was real. 

The templates helped to prompt us with what to consider and include.  We didn’t have to make anything up at all.  We used a mix of word document templates for procedures and forms as well as excel spreadsheets for registers and a training matrix. 

Where can you find these toolkits?

You can find this toolkit on our website under the Resources tab. 

it on our website, under resources and just through chatting to him and asking him the right questions. We were able to document what he actually already did. Okay. So he, and I suppose this is a really good example of a business. And again, it's a small family business that already has the systems in place.

The toolkits include eBooks, training presentations, case studies, planning tools, templates and sample documents for policies, procedures, forms and letters. 

These sample documents are available for a wide range of ISO Standards such as ISO 9001 Quality, ISO 45001 OH&S, ISO 14001 Environment, ISO 27001 Information Security and most recently added ISO 22301 Business Continuity.

All of this in one great kit!  

Your Qudos Club membership entitles you access to all of these great toolkits for a full 12 months with free updates as they are released.  No lock-in contracts.  

You can download all of the templates and make them your own.  They are easy to update to what processes your own business follows while providing the base requirements that you can build on.

Take advantage of this great product and use it to save you and your business, time and money.  You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or recreate documents that you can already access here.

Topics: Careers, Auditing

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