Change is the only constant. This may be cliched, but any business today has to embrace change to grow and remain relevant more than ever. A dynamic market environment and fast-paced technological evolution are compelling businesses to constantly revise their strategies and introduce changes across various business functions.
A small change in one aspect of the business can have far-reaching implications anywhere in the organization. Therefore, for any business, there must be a structured, methodical approach to managing change. Change management processes must be well-documented, so people who’re responsible for driving change should take into account the complexity and collaborate with various stakeholders as needed.
Some of the many reasons why an organization may introduce a change include:
- New market entry
- Launch of new product lines
- Expansion of customer base
- To beat competition
- Implement a new pricing strategy
- Initiate new marketing strategies
- Introduce a new product or product lifecycle changes
- Change equipment
The Process of Change – No Magical Formula
Often, change management has no single implementation strategy, with each business following totally different processes for change based on their organizational culture, type of change, and goals/objectives of the company.
For instance, ComplianceQuest is currently working with two clients in two different industries. Each has a different area of focus to manage change.
- One is a hi-tech company in the aerospace sector gearing up to launch an engineering product with over 1800 parts from 1000s of suppliers. For this client, the focus is on building a robust process for engineering change management.
- Another is a pharmaceutical company that is introducing one-minute test kits for faster detection and diagnosis of common diseases. Here, the focus is on change for the sake of product and process compliance to new regulatory requirements.
Typically, the change management process involves an assessment of the impact of the change being introduced in one area, product, or process on the performance of other associated departments.
In certain industries, change can result in adding unwanted safety hazards. This requires a thorough risk assessment process (or safety impact assessment) to identify if (and how much) safety risk is being added by the change. As a next step, this change must include an update to the safety management workflow as well.
Best Practices for Seamless Change Management keeping in mind Safety Requirements
To ensure that any change introduced does not create any potential safety risks, the organization must have a process to introduce change.
Step 1: Initiate a change request and the reason for the request. This is important for deciding whether the change needs to be pursued.
Step 2: Define the criterion to measure the impact of the change. This is important to know what kind of impact is expected from the change and to set up key performance indicators (KPIs) to track and monitor progress.
Step 3: Classify the proposed change as major or minor. This will vary from business to business.
Step 4: If it is a major change, then implement a pilot project or a sample project to monitor the effectiveness of the change, the effectiveness of safe handling, and the response of other departments and teams to the change.
Step 5: Identify the stakeholders who will need to participate and are possibly impacted by the change. Analyze, with data, the impact of change on other teams/collaborators.
Step 6: Perform change impact assessment to predict risks. Also, assess the scale and severity of the impact.
Step 7: Communicate the proposed change to the department heads and get their buy-in for greater coordination.
Step 8: Implement the change. Take necessary actions to ensure health and safety requirements are not compromised.
Manual vs Automated Management of Change
Traditionally, changes were managed manually. However, it is a method riddled with challenges due to the involvement of multiple departments, multiple sites, multiple teams at different levels.
By automating the process, businesses can improve the efficiency of change implementation while reducing errors. They can improve visibility and ensure that the change workflow is being followed without any deviations. It also makes collaboration simpler. The need for paper forms in the traditional setup can be a challenge to manage when multiple locations are involved. Even using e-mail for sharing information has its limitations as storing, tracking, and monitoring can become difficult. Comments and remarks can be hard to keep up with and the overall process is very time-consuming, costly, and ineffective.
Automation of change management with cloud-based solutions can simplify the process, providing a single platform for teams in disparate sites to collaborate with ease. It can facilitate a more meaningful impact assessment of how a change in one place will affect the other functions, especially safety. Each change task will be assigned a number, helping all stakeholders track and monitor progress. People can be assigned to the task so that they get updates, alerts, and reminders. It will help streamline the overall process of delivering the required training and knowledge transfer.
The ComplianceQuest Advantage in Ensuring Safety in Change Management
CQ’s Change Management solution automates the entire change workflow from initiation to closure. It also empowers the workers at the ground level to initiate a change request that they feel might improve productivity, save time, improve the product, etc. Normally, this request is enabled only for senior and middle managers. The workers can provide the basic details such as:
- Title of the change
- Assigned due dates
- Link it to organizations, divisions, business units, departments
When the change request is submitted, the system creates its workflow and notifies the authorities concerned to accept or reject the change. This enables requests to be logged in and processed faster.
The second feature of ComplianceQuest that simplifies the change process is the ability to club similar requests by topic and follow the change order workflow.
The third advantage of the CQ solution is that it allows impact assessment to be done based on the department where the change will be initiated. Therefore, different criteria can be set for different departments to perform the impact assessment.
The Change Management solution is part of ComplianceQuest’s EQMS software, which includes a reporting and dashboards feature that can be leveraged to customize reports for analyzing proposed changes and their impact.
Today, CQ’s Change Management solution is used by companies in 1200+ locations around the world across industries such as manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, oil & gas, construction, life sciences, healthcare, medical devices, etc.
To know more about the ComplianceQuest Change Management Solution, visit https://www.compliancequest.com/change-management-software-system/