How To Strengthen QEMS
QEMS stands for quality and environmental management system. It is an integrated management system so it is more complicated than standalone quality management system. Do you feel that the QEMS in your company is not strong?

If a company that has two or more divisions and each division does not have its own ISO certificate but is harbored under one certificate at company level, wants to comply to both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 to have a integrated management system, there should be at least a QEMS Officer for the whole company. Only then the QEMS can be dynamically driven. Having a QEMS Officer is the evidence of management commitment (as required by the ISO 9001:2000 clause 5.1 and ISO 14001:2004 clause 4.4.1). Some such companies have QMS Officer and EMS Officer.

External QEMS auditors require the company to have a QEMS MR (management representative) that will make all QEMS decisions. The company can either let the QEMS Officer
a) report to a top management member who is chosen to be the QEMS MR (usually the chief financial officer due to the word "audit") or
b) be the QEMS MR.

The objective of the QEMS Officer is to maintain a standardized system in which change of employee will have minimum impact on product quality. Such ideal system is ever ready for anytime first, second and third party QEMS audit, without last minute major and nervous touchup. Good and readily retrievable documentation of QEMS will also assist sales department to secure more sales from new customers.

Things to be done by the QEMS Officer to strengthen the QEMS:
- To have all procedures and forms posted in an internal QEMS website so that the users can retrieve the latest document at any point of use instead of keeping soft or hardcopy.
- To maintain the QEMS website. Ensure the links work. Make sure the page is updated as per the change.
- To maintain procedures and forms at the company level.
- To train division QEMS coordinator to maintain procedures and forms at the division level.
- To increase employees QEMS awareness by doing QEMS awareness training and assessment.
- To lead internal audit.
- To maintain the number of QEMS internal auditors.
- To liaise with third party QEMS auditor.
- To maintain QEMS management organization. Download: typical chart
- To update company's QEMS according to the update in ISO standards and local environmental law
- To ensure the CAR (corrective action request) and observation from third party auditor are closed and maintain the record.
- To maintain environmental aspect/ impact list.
- To call for QEMS management review and minute it. The review is attended by company management team and the head of divisions.
- To be QEMS helpdesk person. Log every request.
- To carry out corrective action for any system nonconformity so that there is no recurrence.
- To assist sales department in presenting company's QEMS to potential customers.
- To monitor division QEMS strength.
- To set achievable environmental management program while maintaining the existing environmental performance.
- To assist any division that have yet no visible QEMS but covered in the scope of QEMS certification, in setting up the system.

The skills that the QEMS Officer should have are writing, managing website, auditing and presentation.

The QEMS Officer should be detail-oriented, able to see mistake and environment-conscious.

The QEMS Officer can also be a member of the company health and safety team.
Posted: 2007-06-29 by Ong Seng Aun.
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