The stereotypical perspective of regulatory and compliance activities is, that root canal dental therapy is regarded as a far more positive experience. This is failing of both management and regulatory bodies, to recognise that regulatory and compliance activities, should complement and strengthen the business – rather than be an impediment to profitable commercial activity.
Unfortunately many certifications (ISO9001, AS/NZS4801, and others) have lost the essence of their original intentions. Rather than being frameworks to help a business gain clarity and stability about its processes, they have become revenue focused ‘tick & flick’ activities for the certifying bodies with little focus on creating value for the client company. Corporate financial audits from internal audit teams, or from external accountants are also rarely value-adding in terms of business improvement.
We have experienced both the bad and the incredibly good perspectives of compliance and regulatory processes. There are four key focus areas to follow if you wish your regulatory processes to add value to your enterprise. That is the original idea after all!
1. Outcomes – What is the outcome of the regulatory regime?
A. If the outcome is to provide a higher quality of product, at reduced cost to your clients then you will design your system very differently than you would if the outcome is merely to pass an audit and gain a certification logo on your website. The first approach requires more thought and understanding of your business but will generate a major financial return.
2. Process – Understand your process, then apply the requirements
A. Many companies look at the regulatory standard and write a procedure or manual of how to comply to the standard. This is usually at odds with normal business activities. Forcing your business process to adapt to the clauses of a standard is a recipe for failure.
3. Value Add – Define and design your system so the regulatory activities add value.
A. Structuring your system with a clear expectation that the process of compliance generates a return to the enterprise will help people develop a more effective and efficient way to achieve the compliance goals as well as the original intent of strengthening the business performance.
4. Integration – Embed the regulatory requirements into your business process
A. The regulatory framework and requirements should not be an additional or different system to the normal operating activities. Modify your normal business activities so that the outcomes required of the standard are being achieved as a normal activity and require no special effort. This is key to high levels of compliance.
A regulatory environment should deliver a stronger business if your process does do this you are leaving money on the table and causing your staff unnecessary grief.