I is for Interested Parties

Kris Atkins
December 17, 2020
Advent Alphabet Series

While any responsible business will be familiar with the regulatory and legislative requirements that apply to its operations, and will dedicate time and resource to ensuring compliance with these, how many organisations place a similar level of importance on understanding the needs, expectations and requirements placed on them by the multitude of internal and external stakeholders that exist around them? After all, no business operates in splendid isolation; we have customers to satisfy, staff to recruit and retain, board members who expect results, suppliers we rely on and often a public brand to protect.

The international standard for management systems (including quality and environmental) requires that the needs and expectations of interested parties are considered alongside legal and other requirements, to emphasise the importance of these relationships insofar as they are relevant to the organisations quality or environmental performance. For example rapid changes in public attitudes to single-use plastic packaging following the BBC Blue Planet II series, have prompted fundamental change in many organisations. Many of these requirements will be of such importance that they are determined to be strict obligations that management arrangements must support compliance with.

The aim is that the internal and external parties that are of key importance to the business are proactively engaged with on a two way basis, both to ensure their needs are met, and so the business can seek feedback, buy-in and engagement with the implementation of its management system aims. This can include matters of company policy, standards and management control, customer satisfaction and input to the continuous improvement cycle. We recognise that all relationships, whether internal, business-to-business or business-to-customer, are essentially all people-to-people. An organisation that recognises the important roles played by its people in quality or environmental management, and positively manages these, will find it easier to reliably deliver its goals.

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