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Vaccinating your business against COVID: the process approach

COVID - procedures

If you’ve been in business for a while, are working towards, or have secured, certification in ISO 9001:2015, you’ll understand what we mean by the ‘process approach’. QEM has always lived by process and procedure, but what we didn’t know (till now) is how vital processes would be in the time of COVID.

What is the process approach?

The ‘process approach’ is a management strategy that incorporates the plan-do-check-act cycle and risk-based thinking. It means that a business not only understands what its core processes are, but how they fit together. To achieve compliance in ISO 9001:2015, an organisation must adopt the process approach.

But who has got time for compliance and process when you’re working through lockdown? In reality, they’ve never been more crucial. Because the business with sound processes embeds risk-based thinking. And risk-based thinking means your business is horizon scanning. On the lookout for factors that might impact your performance: like staff illness, bad weather, Brexit – or a global pandemic.


To work towards compliance, all businesses should adopt a quality management system (or QMS), whose very foundation is the process approach, focused on consistently meeting customer requirements and improving on them. The QMS integrates processes and measures to meet these objectives.

Doesn’t sound like business in the world we live in right now, embattled as we all are by COVID, lockdown, supply chain havoc and more. But, by taking time to understand exactly how your business meets its objectives, you can turn a spotlight on the bits of your business that could be at risk if news headlines turn bad. Like they are at the moment. A stitch in time saves nine …

What next?

In short, lockdown or not, all organisations should understand what processes make their business work, measure how well these processes are working, and find ways to maintain quality, despite the current challenges. Once this information is down, the company has a compass for how to move forward in difficult times.  

Look at it this way: the world desperately needed a COVID vaccine in a short timescale, but that didn’t mean that process and procedure as well as risk-based thinking were flung out with yesterday’s PPE. Quite the opposite. When times are hard, it’s process, quality and stringent procedure that gets the fastest, most reliable results.

From vaccinating the UK one arm at a time, to protecting business quality throughout unprecedented challenges, only the process approach will ultimately see us right.

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