Landmark international standard for collaborative business relationships introduced by BSI

BSI, the British Standards company, has launched ISO 44001: Collaborative Business Relationship Management Systems – Requirements and Frameworks. The new International Standard replaces BS 11000, and provides guidance for identifying, developing and managing collaborative relationships with or between organisations.

ISO 44001 addresses the management system of an organisation and provides a framework for how organisations can establish such a system, as well as the operational process requirements for specific or individual organisational relationship engagement.

The document also affords guidance on how effective collaboration requires two or more organisations to work well together, with the necessity that a management system needs to accommodate the activities of both parties. Differing cultures in organisations – and the challenges this can pose for synergy – are covered in the document to ensure organisations have the right template to deliver enhanced benefits to stakeholders through collaborative approaches.

There’s continuity with the new ISO 44001 and its predecessor, BS 11000. Indeed, the key requirements from BS 11000 have been retained to ensure a focus on the evolving nature of working relationships’ development. ISO 44001 uses a high-level structure – featuring terms, definitions, headings and text common to all management system standards – allowing easier integration when implementing multiple management systems.

ISO 44001 also has an increased focus on competence and behaviours and a need to consider the implications of the supply chain and extended enterprise, as well as an emphasis on the importance of Senior Executives Responsible.

The International Standard is applicable to private and public sector organisations of all sizes, from large multinational corporations and Government organisations through to non-profit organisations and small businesses. A business, for example, could comply with ISO 44001 on several different levels: a single application (including operating unit, operating division, single project or programme or mergers and acquisitions) and an individual relationship (including one-to-one relationships, alliances, partnerships, business customers and joint ventures).

The International Standard is likely to be particularly relevant for those organisations involved in long-term contracts in areas such as facilities management, construction, transportation and defence.

Collaborative relationships

David Fatscher, head of market development for sustainability and services at BSI, said: “Collaborative business relationships have been shown to deliver a wide range of benefits for organisations of all sizes, enhancing their competitiveness and performance while also adding value. Collaboration between individuals is commonplace, but collaboration between organisations is more complex and demands different knowledge and skills. This new International Standard is aimed precisely at meeting those needs.”

Costain, EMCOR UK, Kier, Leidos, NATS and Network Rail are the first six UK and worldwide companies to be independently assessed by BSI and achieve certification to ISO 44001.

Frank Lee, technical and operational delivery director for product certification at BSI, commented: “Since 2010, when BS 11000 was first published, the way that organisations do business – and in particular, the way that they collaborate – has changed significantly. ISO 44001 ensures that, with more complex enterprises and supply chains as well as new market demands, organisations have Best Practice systems and processes in place for effective collaboration going forward.”

Lee went on to state: “Costain, EMCOR UK, Kier, Leidos, NATS and Network Rail should be delighted that they’re the first to achieve certification with BSI to the new standard. We’re fully confident that all of these businesses will start to see the benefits immediately.”

Tony Blanch, business improvement director at Costain, responded: “This International Standard will become increasingly important to Costain as we develop more strategic relationships, and particularly so in the technology space. The new document requires us to have collaborative relationships aligned with our business strategy and that we deliver value for our customers. This is something which Costain was able to demonstrate very well.”

Keith Chanter, CEO at EMCOR UK, commented: “The award of ISO 44001 represents the achievement of a very important strategic objective for EMCOR UK. Collaboration and the principles and practices embodied in the new International Standard underpins EMCOR UK’s approach to identifying customers’ strategic and operational requirements, thereby providing the means by which we can tailor services to these needs. This has not only allowed us to demonstrate the value we can provide, but has also actively supported the increasing trend for our customers to enter into long-term and collaborative contracts. EMCOR UK is delighted to be among only six companies in the world – and the only FM company – to be certified under the new International Standard. This achievement re-affirms our position as a leader in collaborative business relationships.”

Commitment to Best Practice

Dave Wright, executive director at Kier Highways, told Risk UK: “We’re pleased to be among the first companies to be certified to ISO 44001, which underpins our commitment to collaboration Best Practice. As the first Highways England provider to achieve its predecessor, BS 11000, before pioneering an industry-leading alliance approach, we’re delighted to continue our journey of ‘firsts’ when it comes to collaboration. Successful collaboration, whether it be with clients or suppliers, is at the very heart of our business. It encourages innovation, creativity and productivity across the whole lifecycle of our projects. Our attainment of ISO 44001 really highlights our commitment to collaborative working, and we’ll continue to lead the industry and demonstrate our expertise.”

Leidos Civil Group president Angie Heise observed: “As a truly international organisation whose business is underpinned by its commitment to effective and collaborative business relationships, Leidos Innovations UK Ltd is both delighted and proud to be among the world’s first organisations to achieve ISO 44001: Collaborative Business Relationship Management.”

Tim Bullock, director for the supply chain at NATS, said: “We’re delighted to be part of this world ‘first’ and extremely proud to have achieved certification to this landmark International Standard. NATS has been a strong advocate of the document since its inception, supporting ISO, BSI and the Institute for Collaborative Working during its development. Our commitment reflects the importance of the standard to our business, as it complements and underpins how NATS seeks to work in collaboration with our partners to achieve strategic business aims.”

Francis Paonessa, Network Rail’s managing director for infrastructure projects, explained: “Network Rail is committed to collaboration and leading industry change. To be the  first UK infrastructure client certified to the new International Standard is another significant step in our journey towards meeting that commitment.”

Some of the key changes between BS 11000 and ISO 44001 include:

*a greater emphasis on competence and behaviours

*alignment with other key management system standards through the use of a common structure and core text

*a further emphasis on value creation and the establishment of a value analysis process

*an identification of the needs of the complete supply chain and the wider enterprise

*a focus on the importance of commitment from the executive level, in turn allowing for a greater insight into each relationship

*an emphasis on the importance of Senior Executives Responsible from partner organisations to be actively involved

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI Editor, Risk UK Pro-Activ Publications

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