Ask yourself the question: Is the implementation of a Business Management System (BMS) a requirement for ISO 9001 certified organisations or still just a good idea?

April 15th, 2019

In my experience of consulting and working with many organisations, I have seen a wide range of QMS designs, some quite innovative, partially and completely integrated within the business whilst also being technology enabled and high performing from a business and a quality perspective.  This sounds great but is often viewed by Top Management in such organisations as being a voluntary business/QMS improvement initiative rather than a requirement of modern day ISO 9001:2015 management systems to achieve certification.

The other side of the coin is that I have also experienced many organisations with QMS’s that were very much more minimalist often with the sole purpose to attain certification by focusing only upon achieving a reasonably acceptable level of direct customer satisfaction and doing the bare minimum in terms of procedural documentation, internal audits and management reviews for example.  These minimalist, tired systems tend to have little or no actual connection nor relevance to the running of the organisation from a business perspective and hence in the majority of cases, deliver little or no internal value to the business with the exception of being able to tender for certain contracts perhaps.

The informed view would be a QMS that is equally aimed at managing business change, business performance and delivering successful ROI’s, financial performance results and internal efficiencies for the organisation itself, as well as delivering and enhancing external customer and stakeholder satisfaction, surely has to be a leadership initiative worthy of serious and thorough consideration.

Moreover, unaligned strategic and operational goals will almost certainly lead to worse outcomes.

So maybe the question Leadership should ask themselves is, “whether it is a requirement or not, are you delivering a Business and Quality aligned system and if not, why not?”.
David White, Senior Consultant

For more information about ISO 9001 training, audits and certification talk to one of our team on 01908 793246 or email

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The Consumer Beliefs Conundrum

April 10th, 2019

Consumer’s behaviour surrounding the food they eat has changed forever and will continue to do so. To future-proof our industry and move with the times, we need to find a healthy balance between what the customer wants and what we can realistically give to them.

The way that consumers learn about and eat food has transformed dramatically over the last couple of decades. Our diets, eating habits and the way we shop, cook and dine are almost unrecognizable to that of our grandparents and the rise of the internet age has been a significant enabler of this evolution.

As digital platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube have grown, it’s allowed communications to progress faster and further than ever before. The world is a smaller place today, where real-time has become the expectations and with the click of a mouse, consumers instantly have access to a hive of information – providing the industry with many challenges to cater to the new ‘informed’ consumer.

The democratising effect of the web is adding to the complexities of this new, informed consumer, giving everyone the chance to become a food influencer or critic simply through the power of their smartphone camera and social media. The effect this has on eating trends is to diversify the voices that are being heard and the result of this is a new breed of consumer – the ‘Prosumer’. Rather than simply consuming products, people are also becoming the voices of those products and significantly impacting the success or failure of companies, products and brands.


“There is no panacea and the challenge to meet this new consumer ethos can’t be tackled alone. The answer lies in the industry’s willingness to be open; to share individual learnings and best practices applied as each of us work to address these existing and emerging challenges.”

Kimberly Carey Coffin,
Head of Food, Retail and Hospitality at SAI Global Assurance

The domino effect is that consumers have grasped onto the ideology that food is a lifestyle choice and a way of representing who they are and what they stand for through their food. This focus aligns with popular beliefs around sustainability and making better food choice – while living to your best self. As Danon’s CEO, Emmanuel Faber, commented during the opening plenary sessions at the 2019 GFSI Conference, “Consumers believe that the way that they eat defines them.” Food isn’t simply about sustenance anymore – “food is politics” and “food is religion”.

His words resonated with me. As a food safety professional, it struck me that these fresh consumer beliefs directed at the environment, quality and social standards have begun to evolve our industry focus away from ‘science’ – something which is fundamental to the innovation of food offerings as well as maintaining a safe and secure supply of food for everybody. Therefore, what are the risks of these changing consumer beliefs to our industry and to our brands?

“FOOD IS RELIGION”: There’s no doubt that understanding where their food and drink comes from and how they are processed is increasingly important to consumers. Consumers of today want to understand the story behind the products they buy to ensure that it aligns with their personal value system and moral compass. Over recent years, the sale of sustainably sourced and ethical products have experienced rapid growth and more shoppers than ever are using their purchasing power to make a difference, by means of organic, fairtrade, environmentally friendly and animal welfare assured products. However, what cost do these ‘trademarks’ have to your company?

In this industry, we recognise the importance of our commitment to acting in a socially responsible manner, not only to make our consumers happy but because it’s the right thing to do. Our challenge is to balance the need to act responsibly to ensure that all of the food we produce is safe.

“FOOD IS POLITICS”: As more people become interested in their food origins, further food purchasing decisions are impacted. For example, the consumer limiting consumptions of fruit and vegetables which aren’t locally grown. We’re also seeing a significant shift towards the de-globalisation of eating. Consumers want local. They want food with their flag on the label. They want to understand the regionality of the products, with preferences for smaller boutique or artisan products. Their preferences are directed towards ‘local or speciality’ instead of ‘multinational or mass produced’.

Within this industry, we have experienced years of consolidation, which in turn has resulted in the globalisation of our supply networks and the ability to achieve the worldwide distribution of products. These changes have allowed for the efficiencies of scale; enabling our industry to focus on the science of moving safe food across the globe – and at the right price. Our challenge now is to address these consumer demands for local products, but still continue to ensure that we use our trusted global supply chains and that food safety and security is not compromised.

There is no panacea and the challenge to meet this new consumer ethos can’t be tackled alone. The answer lies in the industry’s willingness to be open; to share individual experiences and best practices as each of us work to address these existing and emerging challenges.

After all, every part of the industry may have a piece of the puzzle that when working together and sharing our knowledge, we have the opportunity to move with the times and future-proof our industry.

For information on our Food Safety training please contact our training department on 01908 793 246 or email

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Tips on Building and Measuring Food Safety Culture

March 29th, 2019

If you work in the food industry, you know that a strong safety culture helps you to achieve satisfied customers who enjoy and share your product with the knowledge that it’s risk-free. However, safety culture is complex and ever-changing. It’s something that can be difficult to translate from theory into practice.

In this whitepaper, Dr Bob Strong, Senior Consultant and Food Safety Expert at SAI Global, cuts through these issues and provides practical advice for understanding, evaluating and boosting food safety culture within any organisation.

To find out more why not click here and take a look at SAI Global’s free full white paper report or for further information on how we can help with your training requirements please call our team on 01908 793 246 or email

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ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems

March 1st, 2019

With an estimated 2.3 million people believed to die from work related accidents and illnesses every year; the need for a secure Health and Safety Management system has never been greater.

In fact, now more than ever, organisations need to step up their game and prove to their customers, workers, regulators and the community that they are willing to proactively manage the health and safety of their workers at a higher level.

The ISO 45001:2018 OH&S Management system can offer such assurances.

Whilst other standards such as the OHSSAS 18001 and AS/NZS 4801 have tried to fill this role in the past; the ISO 45001 is the first International Standard of its kind to properly address this growing global problem.

What is it?

This management system was developed to provide organisations with the means to create a safe and healthy working environment for all within their care.

Unlike other OH&S management systems, it can be harnessed by organisations of all types and sizes (no matter where in the world they are located) and can be used irrespective of your current OH&S system maturity.

And this is great news for all parties involved, as this highly accessible system can basically help your business to systematically identify and manage your occupational health and safety risks/opportunities whilst providing you with the framework to improve your performance and successfully align with other management system standards.

Why use it?

Introducing this management system to your organisation can bring with it a whole host of benefits. It can:

  1. Bring clarity to OH&S management system issues.

  2. Enhance leadership involvement and employee participation in the system.

  3. Help you to implement risk-based thinking for the system, as well as for OH&S risks.

  4. Enable you to align your safety policy and objectives with the strategic direction of your business.

  5. Easily be integrated into your business systems and processes.

  6. Provide you with one common language – making the language, structure and terms you use across the system easier to understand and translate.

  7. Show customers, stakeholders and the community that you are dedicated to improving your overall OH&S performance.

  8. Help you to meet corporate and statutory due diligence requirements which in turn will improve your ability to manage regulatory compliance as well as avoid any expenses associated with penalties and litigation.

  9. Help your business to reduce the costs of incidents e.g. downtime and costs of disruption to operations. Similarly, it can decrease the cost of insurance premiums.

  10. Improve contractor management.

  11. Decrease turnover rates and absenteeism amongst staff.

All of this combined can have a profound effect on your business, especially when building trust amongst your customers, suppliers, staff and the global community.

The fact you have got this certification will instantly strengthen your brand integrity, as third parties will be able to see that your management system meets all international standard requirements.

Why should you certify your system to ISO 45001?

The honest truth? Its presence will show your employees, your customers, the community, regulators – basically everyone – that your organisation has gone above and beyond to create a workplace where the chance of illness, injury or death is minimal.

One of the key ways this management system achieves this is by taking into consideration the needs, expectations and wants of those under your care, whilst addressing the internal and external issues relevant to your organisations purpose and strategic direction.

Combined, not only will this help to improve your OH&S performance; it will also enable you to embed this system directly into your business, your strategy and your OH&S policy – instead of existing as a separate sub-system – and ensure that the concept of OH&S is at the fore-front of everyone’s mind.

Things to consider:

  • Management to leadership – this system places emphasis on leadership (not just management), meaning those in top management/senior leadership positions will have greater accountability and involvement in the provision and improvement of their businesses OH&S performance. This includes getting employees to actively participate with the system.

  • Risk-based approach – the Standard seeks to identify hazards; manage risks, and identify legal and other requirements. It also seeks to offer opportunities to improve health and safety, through the use of new technologies. By identifying potential danger (from beginning to end), you can then use risk-based thinking to plan, strategize and implement preventative measures to address the problem.

  • Management of change – a strong emphasis is placed on this (including procurement and contractor management). By meeting this requirement, your business can then identify the need for new equipment, materials and processes, before implementing controls to prevent injury/illness and improve employee health and safety.

  • Legal compliance – this standard can provide your business with a framework to determine your business’s legal requirements (in regards to OH&S risks). It helps highlight how your organisation will demonstrate this legal compliance, before encouraging a systematic approach to evaluating and identifying any potential gaps. Once identified it will then assist you in applying the best corrective action.

Why do businesses need to focus on their OH&S standards?

Businesses have always been responsible for the health and safety of their workers. But in light of the constant technological advances that are occurring; it has never been more important for businesses to take action.

With technology comes new risks – dangers which can impact on the mental and physical health of your employees. In 2013 alone, 2.34 million people were reported to have died from work activities (according to the ILO) and this figure is rising.

With such dangers, it is essential that organisations are able to demonstrate to all parties involved that they are taking necessary steps to prevent harm and minimise the impact these changes can have on their workers’ health.

The ISO 45001 standard is such proof, as not only does it show that you are legally compliant; it also verifies that you have been audited to meet international standards.

This standard applies to a range of business industries, including: mines, construction, manufacturing, hospitals, banks, call centres, educational providers, law firms, software developers, and many more.

How can you access this management system?

SAI Global is the current leader in this field having helped tens of thousands of organisations to manage risk; become more efficient, and build trust amongst their customers and employers.

To learn more about this system, take a look at SAI Global’s full white paper report of this system:


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Advance your career as a BRC Professional

October 23rd, 2018

Have you heard of BRC Global Standards Professional?

BRC Global Standards Professional is a learning programme which will give you international recognition for the key skills and knowledge essential for product safety management.

Available exclusively to those who work at a BRC Global Standards Certified sites, this programme has been designed by the BRC’s technical team in response to demands from industry for training on the skills necessary to implement effective product safety management.

Why become a BRC Global Standard Professional?

As a BRC Global Standards Professional you will be well-equipped to manage any Standard in your business – including those recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) – and able to implement or manage product safety systems.

BRC Global Standards is respected for quality and brand protection assurance, and is the leading provider of GFSI-recognised Standards globally.

Gaining certification as a BRC Global Standards professional will:

  • Enhance your understanding of product safety and management
  • Enable you to contribute as part of the brand protection team
  • Raise your status as a valuable employee

Who is it for?

All technical and product safety personnel who are employed at a BRC Global Standards certificated site. The courses are subject-specific, train the core skills needed for any product safety individual, and will also help with maintaining any GFSI-recognised certification scheme.

If you’re unsure if you’re employed at a certificated site, please contact us and we can help you.

How long does it take?

The total programme would take 8-9 days to complete, however courses can be completed in any order, and at times and dates that suit over the course of the year.

What courses are included in the BRC Global Standards Professional Programme?

BRC Standard
You must complete and PASS ONE of the following courses:

  • Site Training (2 days)
  • Lead Auditor (5 days)
  • Conversion course from previous standard for sites (1 day)
  • Conversion course from previous standard for Auditors ( 2 days)

Hazard & Risk Management
Plus ONE of the following courses:

  • HACCP (2 days)
  • FSPCA Preventative Controls for Human Food (3 days)

Product Safety Management
Plus THREE of the following courses:

  • Risk Assessment (1 day)
  • Root Cause Analysis (1 day)
  • Validation and verification (1 day)
  • Internal Auditor (2 days)

Want more information on BRC Global Standards Professional programme? Contact our training departments on 01908 793 246 or email

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Brushing my teeth just got more complicated!

October 3rd, 2018

As I just got back from my 6 monthly dental check-up that also included a visit to the hygienist I thought it would be pertinent to continue my explanation of Environmental Aspects and Impacts using the previous example.

We discussed in a previous blog that the brushing of the teeth was the activity, the use of the water and rinsing down the sink etc. were the environmental aspects and that these cause impacts to the environment – use of natural resource, contamination of water and so on……………….

Well I am now quite old in the tooth (excuse the pun) and my dentist tells me I need to take more care and adopt a new approach if I am to keep my teeth for my entire “Life Cycle”

So what is meant by Life Cycle and how does this apply to ISO 14001:2015 and your organisation?

Life Cycle can be from cradle to grave – (well I wasn’t born with teeth but I got them within 9 months and I hope to keep them until I depart this world)

So what does ISO 14001:2015 require of us regarding “Life Cycle?”

Thank goodness it doesn’t require a Life Cycle Assessment – as this would take a lot of work and for some businesses almost impossible to do.

Clause 6.1.2 requires an organisation to identify its Aspects and associated Impacts for its products, activities and services that it can control or influence – considering a life cycle perspective.

What does this mean? It means we need to consider upstream and downstream – we need to consider where we cause an impact when we purchase materials, or when we design a product or for when the end user has finished with it, or its final disposal.

The key words are “consider” and “perspective” – not being cynical but if I consider them but choose to do nothing about them I am still meeting the requirements – right?

Clause 8.1 requires an organisation to put some controls in place to manage the environmental impacts it causes – and again considering the life cycle.

Therefore if we know where we cause an impact from purchasing our raw material (that could be the packaging of it, the transportation of it…..) are there some controls we can put in place?  That is up to the business, perhaps it is easier to put controls in place upstream (suppliers) than it is downstream (clients/end users) where you might only be able to influence.

ISO 14001:2015 is NOT asking us to stop causing environmental impacts, it is not saying analyse all your impacts from cradle to grave, but it is saying consider where the impacts are caused for the entire life cycle of your product/service and where possible put controls in place or try to influence others and if possible set an objective to reduce those impacts.

If we all do a bit it will add up to a lot and contribute to sustainable development

All of our ISO 14001 training courses discuss “Life Cycle” in more detail. For further information please call our team on 01908 793 246 or email


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September 11th, 2018

Attend a public training course and get another course half price!*

Our biggest sale is now on! Up-skill today by taking advantage of our fantastic promotion. Attend one of our public training courses and get another half price – on all courses delivered by 30th September 2018

Whether you are looking to kick start your professional development or need to meet compliance requirements, get in quick and enrol today.

To take advantage of this special offer please call our team on 01908 264 792 or email T&C’s apply:

*Promotion available on all courses delivered by 30th September, discount applied to the cheapest course. Courses must be booked at the same time.


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Note to self

July 25th, 2018

For over 20 years I have pursued a career  in regulated industrial environments, with it accruing invaluable knowledge and experience of ‘what makes the difference’ between poorly performing businesses and those that thrive.  Things like;

  • GRC focussed Policy and Process is mandatory in an organisation if Quality is to run through the veins of an operation
  • Management Systems and Third Party Certification are valuable tools to maintain conformity to standards and consistently achieve customer expectation
  • Slick Risk Management software can simplify a complex analytical task

There are many more examples.

Examples such as those above are fundamentally disabled without a strong business culture.  People create the culture.

In the knowledge that people are usually the most valuable and influential asset we should also recognise that an organisations staff can also present a mission critical risk.  Aspirational leadership, clear and honest communication, defined roles and responsibilities are all contributors to a body of people wanting to play their part in producing something great.  A common vision of achievement.

With few exceptions, people want to do things well.  We should recognise this and make it easy for our workforce to achieve.

To explain my preaching; I have been exposed to many situations in my professional life.  I am proud that I have achieved success in most and have tried to consider failures as learning experiences.  The sum of these experiences has taught me that clarity of message and positivity of purpose in a workforce is key to driving change and realising improvement.  For this you need to engage with the customer – you need to engage with your staff.

Internal Audit is invaluable way to engage. Through it an audit department can affect extremes of business culture; from the highly negative blame game, demonstrated best by our school of ‘catch an error’ procedure orientated auditors to inspirational cheerleaders of good governance, sustainable practices and business improvement.

So, note to self: let’s make an effort to use internal audit to drive real engagement with colleagues, create positive business culture and realise the business improvements that we know cannot happen without motivated people.


Steve Nicholas, General Manager, Training & Improvement Solutions, EMEA

To talk to us about our internal auditor training please call our team on 01908 793 246 or email


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It’s Here! Our Biggest Training Sale of the Year

June 27th, 2018

Attend a public training course and get another course half price!
*on all courses delivered by 30th September, discount applied to the cheapest course. Courses must be booked at the same time.

Our biggest sale is now on! Up-skill today by taking advantage of our summer promotion.

Attend one of our public training courses and get another half price – on all courses delivered by 30th September 2018

Whether you are looking to kick start your professional development or need to meet compliance requirements, get in quick and enrol today.

Call our team on 01908 793 246 or email to take advantage of this fantastic offer.

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Get Ready for BRC Global Standard Food Safety Issue 8

June 19th, 2018

: Get Ready for BRC Global Standard Food Safety Issue 8
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2018 Time: 14:00-15:00 hrs BST (British Summer Time) / 09.00- 10.00 hrs EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)
Cost: Free

Join SAI Global for an informative webinar examining the changes contained within BRC Food Safety Standard Issue 8.

As of 1st August 2018, the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety will move from issue 7 to issue 8.  Find out about the integration of pet food, new environmental monitoring clauses with a heightened focus on food safety culture and top management commitment.

Don’t miss this chance to join our webinar where you will:

-  Gain an overview of the BRC and the BRC Food standard
-  Learn about the main components required to meet the BRC standard
-  Understand the updates and changes to the BRC Food Issue 7 Standard

Come prepared to have your questions answered live! Can’t attend? Register and we’ll send you a link to the recording together with supporting information.



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