Compliance Conversations: Key Elements of Your Management Scope

Posted by Craig Thornton

Compliance consultants from around the world join us for this discussion on Management System Scope.

In this video we talk about the key elements that should be considered when determining your Management System Scope.

Check out the video here:


Video Transcription

What Key Elements Should I Consider When Determining My Management System Scope?


Andrew, IRM Systems, Australia

Some important considerations in determining the scope:

  • If we're a smaller business, we might just apply to all of our:
    • Activities
    • Products and
    • Services, particularly if we've only got one site.
  • If we're a larger National Business with multiple divisions, and multiple sites, you really then need to make some important decisions as a business:
    • Are we going to apply it to all divisions and all products and services we supply?
    • All sites?
    • Or subset of that?

That's really where you're getting those boundaries around your scope.

Obviously, they're very important decisions, because if it's a safety management system, for example, we're going to have a very wide scope, it's a lot bigger body of work. The implementation project will be a lot larger.

So that's one reason you might scale it back.

You can implement it in certain divisions first, other divisions later.

Critically too, what products and services are we going to include in the scope of our management system?


Sean, Kaizen Consulting, New Zealand

The key elements for the management system is, really the location and the processes and procedures or interaction of those processes and procedures that contribute to your products and services.

In consideration of the scope of the management system, probably one of the best things to do is to map out the interaction, a flowchart diagram, in terms of from the time that you receive an inquiry from your client, to the end output, which could be a product or service.

You need to map that to have a clear vision on the interaction of your processes.


Mark, Business Basics, Australia

Within the scope of the management system, you should talk about what is required.

You would think about what is required

  • As far as people go
  • As far as your equipment goes
  • As far as information systems go
  • What depth you're required to go and do all these things

A man and his van trying to get quality certified, he's going to need a lot fewer things, and his scope is going to be a lot smaller than a large multinational defence contractor.

These people are going to have very different requirements, they're very different scopes.

The man in his van probably isn't concerned about what's going to happen in Asia and what's going to happen in Europe, whereas a large multinational is going to be interested in all those things.

You should also look at what can you do:

  • What are you capable of doing to begin to undertake?
  • What products?

You should also think about what you're going to need to achieve those.


Chris, FQM, United Kingdom

Key elements you should consider is the type of operations which you do.

The products and services that you offer, and importantly, considering if they are changing over time.

The other activity and items that you should look at, which would influence your scope, is the changing geography of your business. If you are opening up other locations, if you are acquiring other businesses, to bring them into your operations, and you expect your management system to fulfil the requirements of that part of the business as well.

It's important to do, almost like a brainstorming exercise, to understand when the scope was set up, has there been any changes, which we need to include within that?


Nicholas, SRM, South Africa

Many of the ISO standards are quite clear on this

As when we defined the scope, which is generally in Clause 4.3, we need to consider those issues that we've identified in Clause 4.1, what are those internal and external issues that had the ability to affect our management system's ability to achieve its intended outcome?

When I'm looking at the scope, what are those internal and external issues?

I also need to consider who my interested parties are and what their needs and expectations are.

I need to consider organisational risk, because you want your management system to extend over as greater risk profile as possible.

It's pointless ring fencing your management system to a particular area where you've got significant risks outside of that.


John, Many Caps, New Zealand

You certainly should consider the strategic direction of your business.

  • Where you're going to go?
  • What you're going to do?
  • What you're not going to do?

That will form part of the thinking, and you need to think about external and internal influencing factors within that QMS as well.


Michael, Momentum Safety and Ergonomics

Well, this is going to be a really, really important part of the process, because, there could be a whole lot of stuff that's in here.

The first thing you would do obviously, is work out what are you trying to cover in your management system?

Is it an integrated system that takes into account a number of different elements, for example, quality, health, safety and environment, which is one of the most common integrations or are you going to try include some other stuff in there as well?

That's a really important process.

Ultimately, within each one of these elements, you're going to have to sit down and say, ‘Look, what is our health and safety profile?  What risks and hazards are we going to have included in there and which ones don't really concern our company too much?’

The same with quality, you're looking very much at just the output from a product point of view, you're looking more at processes, (which you should be, by the way) things like calibrations, are they important for your company? That sort of stuff.

You'll need to work out, what you are trying to achieve from the system and what parts do you need to put in there to make it happen?

Of course, you need to have a quick look at what shouldn't be in there as well. This is going to be elements of your business that are not really covered, or shouldn't be covered under these systems, and are adequately covered elsewhere.


  1. Consider the type of operations you carry out, the products and services your company offer and whether these are changing over time
  2. Consider both the internal and external issues that may affect our intended outcomes
  3. Consider the strategic direction of your business

Tags: Management System, ISO, Compliance, ISO Certification, Compliance Conversations, Management System Scope