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Smart Cities of Tomorrow: How will our future urban spaces look?

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Imagine a city of the future. Do you see clean streets, electric cars and robots doing all the work?

Or perhaps your vision is more dystopian. The Los Angeles in the Blade Runner movies is a grim depiction of the city in 2019 and 2049. The sea has risen to dangerous levels, the sky is dark and foreboding, and the skyline is dominated by ominous skyscrapers.

Philip K. Dick’s iconic 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, on which the Blade Runner films are loosely based, is a dystopian yet ultimately hopeful novel about human engagement with artificial intelligence. The book makes profound comments on human relationships and explores the questions that plague us: Why are we in such a mess? And: Why has society degenerated to such a degree?

CITIES ARE REACHING BREAKING POINT

The dystopian future of Blade Runner intersects with what experts and scientists predict our world and cities will become like in the very near future – more populous, more polluted, more crime-ridden and facing the imminent collapse of basic services, all compounded by unpredictable weather events.

Almost half of the world’s population currently lives in cities, and by 2050 this figure is projected to increase to 75%.

“Cities are reaching breaking point,” says Professor David Gann, who heads up the London Imperial College’s Digital Economy Lab.

The time is upon us, say the experts, to start designing smarter urban environments. New cities are needed to sustain an ever-growing population, and the urban spaces that we have lived in for centuries need to be retrofitted. But what kind of cites will we be living in?

BUILDING CITIES FOR AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE

The cities of the future will be shaped by ideas, and there are plenty of competing ideas about how futuristic urban spaces should look.

Some of these centre around the idea that smarter means greener.

Sustainability experts are working towards carbon-neutral cities with electric vehicles and bike-sharing schemes and improved air quality so that office workers in the smoggiest cities can actually open their windows.

Visions of a green city often include high-rise building where living and office spaces are surrounded by floating greenhouses or vertical gardens and green roofs.

Imagine our harbours filled with floating farms? It sounds absurd. But the Jellyfish Barge could be the answer to future urban farming. The barge is a floating greenhouse that desalinates seawater to irrigate and grow plants. Using solar energy, it mimics the water cycle and turns salt water into clean, freshwater which is recycled over and over again to irrigate hydroponically grown crops.

“We can save 70% of water compared to traditional cultivation,” says Cristiana Favretto, one half of the Italian architectural duo at Studimobile who came up with the concept. Each barge has the potential to produce around 1000 to 1500 edible plants per month.

SMART CITIES WORK BETTER FOR CITIZENS

Technology companies like IBM believe that the smartest cities will be those that are connected into the Internet of Things, where objects are made smart by being connected to each other.

A network of sensors will provide a host of data about how a city is performing. This will allow systems to be joined up and to work more efficiently. It will also bring unimaginable new services to citizens, or at least Professor David Gann thinks so.

IBM currently has projects in cities around the world, from crime prevention analytics to water databases and smarter public transport systems in Zhenjiang, China.

IBM’s flagship project is in Rio de Janeiro and it’s the work of IBM’s Smarter Cities Unit.

IBM has created data centres for single agencies like police departments. But this is a citywide system integrating data from 30 government agencies and providing mobile applications to keep citizens in touch with city updates such as accident blackspots and flood warnings.

WHAT SMART CITIES ENCOMPASS

Smart City and smart city projects are intended to make cities work better and more liveable. They apply information and communications technology to monitor, measure and control city processes, from transportation to water supplies, and the location of vehicles to the performance of electric grids.

Smart Cities are all about saving money, becoming more efficient and delivering better services and living spaces to citizens. The elements of Smart Cities include:

Smart Energy

Smart energy uses digital technology for the intelligent and integrated transmission and distribution of power.

Smart Buildings

Smart buildings are green and energy-efficient, with advanced automated infrastructure.

Smart Mobility

Smart mobility enables intelligent mobility through the use of innovative and integrated technologies.

Smart Technology

Smart technology connects the home, office, mobile phone and car on a single wireless IT platform.

Smart Healthcare

Smart Healthcare uses eHealth and mHealth (mobile health) systems and intelligent and connected medical devices. Johannesburg started rolling out its e-health programme in 2016, and has extended eHealth to include a smart queuing system.

Smart Infrastructure

Smart Infrastructure includes intelligent and automated systems that manage, communicate and integrate different types of intelligent infrastructure such as energy grids, transport networks, water and waste management systems and telecommunications.

Smart Governance

Smart Governance includes policies and digital services from the government that help and support businesses and citizens adopt green and intelligent solutions through incentives, subsidies or other schemes.

Smart Citizens

Smart Citizens embrace smart and green solutions in their day-to-day work activities and choose products and services  that fit their “smart” lifestyle choices.

While critics are up in arms about President Ramaphosa’s inaugural speech and in particular his vision of creating a new African smart city, South Africa has been preparing to embrace smart cities for a number of years.

Recognising that cities hold the key to so many different aspects of a sustainable future, the Cities Support Programme (CSP) was set up by National Treasury in 2011, and within every major municipality, examples of smart projects can be found.

It’s easy to be cynical, and even easier to be apathetic. But that’s not where the solutions lie… and that’s not the future.

ISO FIRST FOR SUSTAINABILITY

Did you know that ISO has published over 22 000 International Standards on a variety of subjects and all of them are designed to support sustainability? 

Finding innovative, sustainable solutions to the problems our businesses and communities are facing is possibly the greatest leadership challenge of our time.

To find out how ISO standards can assist you on your sustainability journey, download our FREE Guide on the Top Six Sustainability Standards that Drive Results for Businesses.

WORK WITH RISK ZA

How is your organisation preparing for a sustainable future? We can help you discover the sustainability issues affecting your business and provide workable solutions through our various ISO public training courses, online learning solutions and consulting services.

Need more information? Call our team today on +27 (0) 31 569 5900 to discuss solutions for building a future-proof business that is both sustainable AND profitable.

PLUS! Ask us if we have any specials to offer you at the moment!

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Cleaning Up Your Business: 7 ‘deadly’ Wastes ALL Companies Must Combat

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One of the key aspects of driving your business forward is being able to identify and tackle waste.

Taiichi Ohno is credited with being the father of the Toyota Production System. He created a Lean Manufacturing framework based on the idea of preserving or increasing value with less work. Anything that doesn’t increase value for the customer is waste and every effort should be made to eliminate that waste.

Environmental waste is any unnecessary use of resources or a substance released into the air, water, or land that could harm human health or the environment. Environmental wastes are often a sign of inefficient production, and frequently indicate opportunities for saving costs and time.

Lean efforts can lead to significant environmental gains since environmental wastes are related to Ohno’s 7 wastes.

TURNING WASTE INTO WORTH

Yet the latest draft of State of Waste Report and statistics from the CSIR show without a shadow of doubt that South Africa has a massive waste problem, which we are doing little to solve through our own initiates.

Quite shockingly, only 10% of the waste produced annually is recycled, leaving a staggering 54 million tons of general waste to be transported to landfill.

Much of the waste sent to landfill can be reused. These resources that we are throwing in the bin have an annual value of R17 billion according to the CSIR.

Waste management changes on the horizon

However, a raft of legislative and regulatory changes are looming on the horizon. These are set to radically alter the waste management landscape and are intended to move South Africa towards a more resource-efficient economy.

Various industries such as paper and packaging have already submitted Industry Waste Management Plans for approval by the Minister of Environmental Affairs, and retailers are busy phasing out single-use plastic bags to meet the 2020 deadline.

By the end of 2021, liquid waste and batteries will be banned from landfill sites. Targets for reducing organic waste disposal by 50% in 2023 have been set and include food and garden waste both produced in vast quantities by several industries.

Landfill sites are poised to increase gate fees as they become ever-more squeezed for space.

We have already seen the first phase of Carbon Tax implemented on 1 June 2019. Carbon Tax adopts the ‘polluter-pays principle’ to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Even if you’re not liable to pay Carbon Tax, you should be able to benefit if you invest in products and processes with lower carbon footprints and make use of National Treasury’s Carbon Offset Scheme.

But what steps can you take to improve your processes and manage all these changes?

How can I change the way I do business?

We recommend that the best way to manage the threats posed by the impending legislation is to understand the potential risks that they pose to your business. This knowledge can then be used to identify opportunities to alleviate the risks, increase your business’s resilience and ideally realise competitive advantage.

In our experience, it’s quite possible to decrease or stop generating certain types of waste by changing processes. You can achieve this by implementing policies and procedures that refine or change the way you run your business and are based on the clearly-defined principles of Environmental Management.

One of the biggest benefits of implementing an Environmental Management System is the potential it offers to reduce waste.

Click here to find out How ISO 14001:2015 can help your organisation achieve Zero Waste to Landfill.

THE 7 'DEADLY' WASTES AND THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

In nearly every organisation, 95 percent or more of the activities and time in business processes do not add value. Below are the 7 wastes according to Taiichi Ohno and their environmental impacts:
Waste TypeEnvironmental Impact
1. Overproduction (the biggest waste)
  • More raw materials and energy consumed in the making of unnecessary products.
  • Extra products may require disposal.
  • Extra materials used in production result in more emissions, waste disposal, water usage etc.
2. Waiting
  • Potential material spoilage or component damage causing waste.
  • Wasted energy from heating, cooling and lighting during production downtime.
3 & 4. Transportation & Motion
  • More energy used for transportation.
  • Emissions from transport.
  • More packaging required to protect products during movement.
  • Damage and spills during transport.
5. Over-processing
  • More parts and raw materials consumed per unit of production.
  • Unnecessary processing increases energy and water use and emissions.
6. Defects
  • More raw materials and energy consumed in making defective products.
  • Defective products require recycling or disposal.
  • More space required for rework and repair, increasing energy use.
7. Inventory
  • More packaging to store work-in-process (WIP).
  • Waste from deterioration or damage to stored WIP.
  • More material need to replace damaged WIP.
  • More energy used.

Source: Shmula.com

HOW CAN I BENEFIT FROM ISO 14000:2015?

The ISO 14001 family and ISO 14000:2015 in particular can help you to measure and improve your environmental performance in a number of areas, including:

  • Resource management
  • Waste reduction and treatment
  • Recycling
  • Energy savings

Why should I care about the environment?

In short, because it’s what your customers want, and it can save you money. A lot of consumers care about the planet. A Unilever study reveals that:

  • 33% of consumers prefer buying goods and services from “socially or environmentally active” brands.
  • 21% of consumers prefer brands that use sustainable packaging.

Essentially, consumers want to know that their brand of choice is doing something to support the environment.

South Africa's waste management leaders

A handful of South Africa’s corporates lead the pack in waste management. One of these companies is Consol Glass. South Africa’s biggest glass manufacturer uses ISO 14001:2015 to manage a sizeable sustainability programme and has implemented clean production technologies to reduce energy consumption and their carbon footprint.

Since 2011, 80 South African companies became part of the National Cleaner Production Centre’s Industrial Energy Efficiency Project to implement cleaner production processes and use less energy, water and materials.

Together these companies have saved enough electricity to supply 120 000 middle-income South African families with power for a whole year!

A fantastic effort, don’t you agree? And the reason why more and more organisations are choosing to use ISO 14000:2015! This Environmental Management System encourages you to think about risks and opportunities and find innovative solutions to challenging problems that will ultimately provide you with a competitive edge and significant cost savings.

Want to find out more about the benefits of the fabulous ISO 14000 family of Environmental Standards?

Download our FREE Guide: ISO Environmental Management Systems 101: Basic Concepts & Principles Explained!

WORK WITH RISK ZA

We have collective experience of over 30 years in training, consulting and implementing ISO related management solutions for organisations of all types and sizes in the Southern African region. Our expert team has helped dozens of businesses transform their organisations, from simply assessing their risks, to helping them find sustainable solutions to challenging environmental problems.

Does your team need guidance on ISO 14001:2015? Contact us on +27 (0) 31 569 5900 or email info@riskza.com, and let us help you through the process.

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7 Top Online Learning Benefits For Busy People Always On The Run

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Do you have a busy work schedule, a hectic personal life and a lengthy list of responsibilities that prevent you from continuing your education or learning a new skill? Have you ever considered Online Learning?

Thanks to our partnership with Erudio Global, it’s possible for you to further your education and develop new skill sets. Online courses relating to ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management and ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management are currently on offer, with a few more expansions to take place in the months to come!

This Winter 2019 we are offering a ‘Winter Special’. Read on to learn more about what you can get your hands on!

ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 are amongst some of the most globally demanded Management Systems due to requirements from various stakeholders. There are several key requirements within each of these two standards, which mean that you and your organisation need to get up to scratch, and fast!

Our ISO Quality Management and Environmental Management Online Learning courses are geared for the busy professional and anyone who wants to boost their career opportunities.

If you want to make a habit of lifelong learning, which let’s be honest has become a necessity to keep up with changes in our fast-paced world, Online Learning offers endless possibilities.

Here, we highlight a few of the many benefits that Online Learning offers busy people.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ONLINE LEARNING?

If you simply don’t have the time or money to attend traditional classes or training events to develop skills that will help you achieve your personal and professional goals, consider these benefits of Online Learning:

1. Online Learning Improves Knowledge Retention

Every learner, no matter their age or educational background, can benefit from an Online Learning experience. It gives you the ability to learn at your own pace and on your own terms, which boosts knowledge absorption and retention.

You get to choose how you want to study. Sometimes, that means choosing when to move on to the next module, rather than moving along at the pace of a tutor, your peers or colleagues. If you are able to learn when it’s most convenient for you, you are more likely to become immersed in the learning experience.

2. Online Learning Fits Into Your Schedule

You can access our ISO Online Learning courses during work breaks, while you’re waiting to board a flight, or when you have free time in the evening and over the weekend.

Online Learning fits into your schedule because you can access the courses and learning materials whenever and where ever it’s most convenient for you.

You don’t have to follow a specific schedule or attend training events. With some courses, you simply download online material and access it even when you don’t have an internet connection.

If you need more structure, there are also options for this which still won’t absorb a huge amount of your time. You get the structure through a facilitator-led online course, whilst still conveniently fitting it into your busy schedule.

3. You Don't Need to Travel for Online Learning

With ISO Online Learning you don’t have to worry about traffic or take time out of your busy work schedule to attend a training event. It’s all done virtually, so there’s no need to factor in travel time and transport costs.

Even if you have a busy lifestyle or live in a remote area, you can still access our high level ISO online training… Just make sure you have good internet and a pair of headphones for the videos.

4. You Can Customise Your Online Learning Experience

No two people learn alike, which means that no two learning experiences should be the same. Our ISO Online Learning gives you the opportunity to customise your learning experience and have control over what and how you learn.

You’re able to access the course videos and material as frequently as you need to! Online access means you’re able to login and revisit whatever part of the course you need to, at any time of the day.

5. Online Learning Doesn't Interfere with Your Work or Home Life

The main reason many busy people don’t enroll in classes or hesitate to attend training events is because they don’t want to have to choose between learning and personal or professional obligations.

With Online Learning, you don’t need to miss out on invaluable learning opportunities that could improve all aspects of your life… Be sure to eliminate any distractions during your stud session though!

6. Online Learning Empowers and Motivates You

If you’re feeling stuck in your daily work routine, a significant benefit of Online Learning is that it empowers you to learn new skills and take control of your personal and professional goals. By becoming an active participant in your own learning experience, you can get that dream job or secure a promotion and further your career.

7. Online Learning Removes the Fear of Failure

Online learners don’t have to stress about not passing a test or failing in front of their peers or colleagues. The Online Learning environment takes the risk out of learning because learners no longer have to worry about the fear of failure.

By removing the fear of failure, the potential to acquire new knowledge and skills becomes limitless. People become more willing to test their boundaries and to experiment when they aren’t afraid of being judged.

Mistakes can be a powerful learning tool and a chance to gain experiences that you would not have gathered otherwise. Online Learning offers you the opportunity to explore a topic and expand your knowledge without consequences.

These are just a handful of the benefits our ISO Online Learning offers busy people. In short, it’s a great way to get started on accomplishing your goals!

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR WINTER SPECIAL

Whilst we do offer Online Learning 365 days in the year, we’re offering all our clients the opportunity to beat the winter-blues with a really great special!

Get in touch with the Risk ZA team to learn more about it. Call +27 (0) 31 569 5900 or email info@riskza.com

JOIN THE ONLINE LEARNING EVOLUTION TODAY!

Are you ready to begin the Online Learning journey? Does Online Learning need more, less or the same level of commitment as the traditional instructor-led training you are used to?

Before you commit to our online learning platform, Download our FREE Guide to find out the 10 Top Study Tips For Online Learners That Guarantee Success!

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Do Revised ISO Standards Mean NEW Documents & Control Procedures?

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Both large and small organisations have gained from using Management Systems standards to improve their quality and compliance and achieve efficient reliable processes – amongst multiple other improvement factors.

Documentation and Document Control supports all ISO Management Systems. For instance: in a Quality Management System, adequate documentation and document control ensures that documented processes and related controls are consistently implemented across an organisation and helps to identify and deal with non-compliance issues quickly and effectively.

Changes to the requirements for documentation have attracted a lot of attention in the latest versions of the ISO Management Systems standards. People are asking: “Can I get rid of documented procedures?” and “Are there no longer requirements for documents and records?”

Before going into Document Control here’s a brief look at the new ISO Management Systems standards’ requirements for Documented Information.

ISO MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS REQUIREMENTS FOR DOCUMENTED INFORMATION ISO

Documents that are directive in nature, such as policies, procedures, instructions, templates and documents that contain historical information, previously termed records, are now collectively called Documented Information, but what is the difference?

The latest ISO standards have replaced the terms documented “procedures” and “records” with “Documented Information”. According to ISO, Documented Information is:

“meaningful data that is required to be controlled and maintained by the organisation and the medium on which it is contained.”

The difference between a record and a document is that records are Documented Information that are “retained” and documents are Documented Information that are “maintained”. A form is a document; when the form is filled out it becomes a record, which you will “retain” to provide ease of retrieval.

THE OLD VS THE NEW DOCUMENT REQUIREMENTS

While the ISO 9001:2008 version was explicit about documentation, ISO 9001:2015 allows more freedom in how, what, and when to document a Quality Management process (such as specific procedures). This allows an organisation the flexibility to use appropriate information, maintain current versions easier, provide broader access/distribution and reduce costs associated with documentation, as long as it conforms to the requirements pertaining to their Management System.

So, adequate documentation, maintenance and control of documents remain very important in the latest versions of the ISO Management Systems standards because Documented Information:

  • Provides evidence of conformance to the ISO Management Systems standard
  • Is an important consideration for auditing purposes
  • Provides a ‘single point of truth’ in how a process is carried out
  • Assists with staff training
    Prevents the loss of institutional knowledge

But what is Document Control according to ISO and how do you control documented information?

THE ISO DOCUMENT CONTROL ARRANGEMENTS

When dealing with ‘Maintaining Documented Information’, previously referred to as document control. The intent of the revised ISO standards is that once you decide on the need for a document — the means to convey critical information or a template to collect data, for example — then you will want to make it available to the staff who need it. You will also want to make sure that the information is always up-to-date and correct.

In short, Maintaining Documented Information, or Document Control, entails setting up arrangements to ensure that Documented Information of the ISO Management System remains relevant, up-to-date, accessible and aligned to the organisation’s strategy.  

Unfortunately, what goes into setting up, executing and managing the Document Control process often leaves people confused.  

Document Control Software, for example, can potentially provide you with a simple way of controlling important documentation. But, first, you need to ask yourself: What type of Document Control Software do I need, and will it provide me with a secure, cost-effective solution to managing my Document Control process?

Want to find out more? Click here to Download our FREE Guide — Automated Document Control: A Key Component of ISO Management Systems.​

WORKING WITH RISK ZA

We have many years of experience with various Document Control Software Solutions, which means we are able to give you good, solid advice on which route is best for you and your organisation. Give us a call to chat about how these Document Control Software options can streamline the way that you:

  • Maintain important documentation
  • Review, Approve, Share and Control Change of documents
  • Archive and retrieve information

Call us on +27 31 569 5900 or email info@riskza.com.

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Are You A Risk Ready Organisation?

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As the speed of change increases, organisations need to adapt quickly. The age that we are living in will show no mercy for the risk-averse. From cyber risk to terrorism, climate change, and reputation risk, mounting a credible defence against these risks will depend very much on our ability to harness them and improve overall organisational resilience.

Organisations that embrace risk agility will be able to quickly reinvent themselves and establish a company culture that recognises when the enterprise is in danger by either an internal course of action or an external threat.

Based on our research and experience, almost all organisations in South Africa have been hit by a major operational ‘surprise’ in the past two years. The disastrous consequences of the recent rolling blackouts on businesses are all too fresh in our memories, as are the severe water restrictions imposed in the Western Cape.

Yet, we see few organisations that have a ‘complete’ Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) framework in place. Many do not maintain a Risk Register, and formal Risk Management training for executives and business owners is something that is often overlooked.

On the upside, the speed of change presents a myriad of opportunities. By embracing the reality that risk and return are related, and investing in enterprise risk oversight, there is plenty of evidence to support the fact that an organisation’s resilience and agility will strengthen.

Risk management can be a valuable aid to help people in organisations think through ‘what might happen’. Some of the benefits that good risk management can provide include:

  • Helping to set a successful strategy and governance
  • Helping to foster a good culture
  • Helping to achieve good, risk-informed decision-making
  • Assisting with new innovation and technological change
  • Ensuring there is an appropriate level of organisational resilience
  • Helping operations and projects to achieve successful outcomes

WHAT BENEFITS CAN I ACHIEVE FROM A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO RISK MANAGEMENT?

Top performing organisations view risk management as a strategic asset, which can sustain value over the long term. Ideally, risk management and compliance are addressed as strategic priorities by leadership and day-to-day management.

In the ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management Standard, risk oversight is presented as a process that is underpinned by a set of 9 core principles. These principles are supported by a structure or a framework that is appropriate to the organisation and its external environment. This is key in our view.

Your Risk Management framework should be fit for purpose and integrated into how your organisation works. ISO 31000:2018 doesn’t provide details about different organisational processes because you know what yours are. So ISO 31000:2018 gives you the freedom to stitch ‘risk-thinking’ into your core processes in a simple and effective manner.

You may also want to read our blog post “ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management – Accelerate Business Performance”.

ISO 31000:2018 recommends that a successful Risk Management initiative should be:

  • Proportionate to the level of risk in the organisation
  • Aligned with other corporate / business activities
  • Comprehensive
  • Embedded into routine activities
  • Dynamic by being responsive to changing circumstances

This approach enables a Risk Management program to deliver outputs, such as compliance with applicable governance legal requirements, assurance to stakeholders regarding the management of risk and improved decision-making.

The benefits associated with these outputs, which need to be sustainable and measurable, include more efficient operations and a more effective business strategy.

In summary, you can use the guidance in ISO 31000:2018 to help people in your organisation think through what might happen and work collaboratively to achieve your business goals and objectives in a fast-changing world.

GETTING STARTED WITH ENTERPRISE RISK MANAGEMENT

Megan Cunningham, MD of Risk ZA, shares her insights into the benefits that an ERM System can bring to your organisation.

Could you talk about your perceptions of the benefits that an ERM program can bring to an organisation?

From my perspective, ERM positions an organisation to better manage uncertainties, reduce volatility and add measurable value if integrated correctly. ERM also positions organisations to communicate with internal and external stakeholders on what they are doing to address risk.

ERM promotes risk awareness throughout the organisation. It provides an avenue for risk discussions and assists business owners to know what they are doing to address risk and what is being done to address risk so that the business owner or top management is not left wondering: “Okay, we have this big risk out there, what are we doing about it?”

Risk Management provides that avenue and that structure so that everybody in an organisation is informed about what is being done to assess risk.

Have you any advice for an organisation that is getting started with ERM?

Yes. Enterprise Risk Management is not a race. It’s a journey. It’s also not a check-the-box approach to Risk Management.

For ERM to be sustainable, it’s very important to get buy-in from Top Management and to make sure that it becomes part of the organisational culture.

GETTING STARTED WITH ENTERPRISE RISK MANAGEMENT

Risk ZA has a collective experience of over 30 years in training, consulting and implementing ISO related solutions for organisations of all types and sizes in the Southern African region.

We are leading experts in the field of Enterprise Risk Management and Corporate Sustainability. We are well-positioned to assist your organisation build a solid foundation for growth.

If you want to learn more about adopting the principles of Risk Management, or want to implement ISO 31000:2018 into your organisation, give us a call – we would be happy to walk with you through the process +27 (0) 31 569 5900!

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How Do I Provide A 5-Star Customer Experience?

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You’ve managed to attract a customer to buy your product instead of your competitor’s. Well done! You’ve achieved the first step in the customer experience journey! In store, Susan, as we’ll call her, was assisted by friendly, helpful sales staff who patiently answered her questions, and she left the store feeling happy and satisfied. She even told her friends about her great experience.

Months later, Susan’s baby slid out the side of the walking ring. Angry and upset, she reported the incident to the store manager who showed no interest or compassion. Susan posted her complaint to Hello Peter, which reads:

Unsafe baby equipment risked my baby’s life!
“I bought a walking ring and my baby slid through the side and bumped her head! When I explained this to the manager she simply said: “would you like another one”! She showed no compassion. Not only do they sell equipment that has not passed safety checks but they also refuse to give you your money back. I’m devastated as my child’s life was put at risk.”

This is a sad story…not only because Susan’s baby was hurt.

It’s regrettable because the owner set out years ago to grow a small family business into a national company by offering customers exceptional service and clearly not all staff are living this vision. 

For years, businesses weren’t built to change. They established a ‘success formula’, and tweaked the business model here and there to reflect new trends.

Now, analysts like Deon Chang say what customers want is the biggest trend for the 21st century and beyond. It’s no longer about how you want to sell but how your customers want to buy. This means getting back to basics and getting to the root of any problem for a healthier business.

We need to be obsessed with our customers and solve the problems that keep them up at night!

“Customers are the beating heart of our businesses and employees are the blood that flows through the veins. We should harness our human capital” – Carmen Murray, Owner, Boo-Yah! 

CUSTOMER OBSESSION IS ABOUT CULTURE

Why has customer experience become such a hot topic? It’s because consumer expectations are higher, and word of mouth travels faster than ever before. People’s awareness about quality and broader social issues has also influenced organisations around the world.

Great customer experiences drives loyalty and revenue, and improving the customer experience is now a strategic imperative for almost all organisations. Downplaying its importance is no longer an option as the voice of customers get louder and louder.

Customer experience is how customers perceive their interactions with your organisation. So how can you improve the way customers interact with your business at every touchpoint?

The ultimate aim of the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System is to give organisations the “tools” to satisfy their customers effectively. ISO 9001:2015 deals with customer satisfaction directly when it states that the: “organisation shall monitor customers’ perceptions of the degree to which their needs and expectations have been fulfilled.”

ISO 9001:2015 lists examples of how this information can be obtained by for example eliciting customer feedback and providing warranties. These can be effective ways of establishing whether your customer is satisfied.

But there’s much more to customer satisfaction than sending out a survey and asking for feedback. If you aspire to be truly great and a market leader, you need systems to improve efficiency in every area of operation.

So, what within ISO 9001:2015 can we use to help us build closer relationships with our customers?

Download our FREE Guide Implementing ISO 9001:2015 In A Small Business: Welcome To The Big League! to find out the answers to these important questions…and more!

WHAT OUR CLIENTS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT US

Tony Cunningham and Risk ZA facilitators are accomplished, and highly effective in assisting us with educating and upskilling our executive, and SHEQ personnel in understanding and implementing the requirements of the ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems, ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems and the OHSAS 18001 Standard.” – WSSA

WSSA manages water treatment systems and provides bulk water solutions to municipal customers. The organisation opted for the internationally recognised ISO Management Systems standards to manage compliance obligations and customers’ expectations. WSSA is a triple ISO certified organisation, and Risk ZA has provided training and consulting services to WSSA for a number of years.

WORK WITH RISK ZA

Risk ZA has collective experience of over 30 years in training, consulting and implementing ISO related solutions for organisations of all types and sizes in the Southern African region. We are leading experts in the field of ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems, and well-positioned to assist your organisation build a solid foundation for growth. Don’t hesitate to give the team a call on +27 (0) 31 569 5900, email info@riskza.com or use our contact form.

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