Management systems are crucial to ensuring that your strategic plan is implemented. They help you to track progress, maintain budgets and schedules, and to continue to engage participants in the process, whether they are your management team, your employees, customers or other external stakeholders.

Virtually all businesses have some sort of a Management System. In many small and medium enterprises (SMEs), it will be an “informal” system, and probably not a comprehensive one. We work with you to help you enhance your management systems, and to ensure they are sufficiently comprehensive.

In some cases, management systems must conform to standards in order to meet expectations of clients, regulators or other stakeholders. These may be international standards (e.g. ISO), industry standards, or regulatory standards.

Key components of the management system

Diagram for management systemsKey components of the management system include:

    • monitoring systems
    • diagnosis and prescriptive systems
    • decision-making mechanisms and decision-support systems
    • communications within your organization and with stakeholders.

Monitoring systems are an essential component of the overall management system, and are used to both track progress towards your strategic goals, and to watch for changes in the external environment that may represent threats or opportunities to the organization. For ‘routine’ activities, you may want to have tools to support your monitoring, possibly including key performance indicators (KPIs), and standardized reporting procedures.

To be adequately prepared to address a changing world – and reality not always unfolding according to plans – your management system requires a diagnosis and prescription capability. This capability represent a higher level analysis of the organization and its environment than monitoring usually provides, though they will draw on monitoring results as part of their input. Part of this capability will include technological and market assessments, other kinds of research and analysis, and development of management tools. These tools may include: procedures, processes, indicators, and management information systems.

Decision-making mechanisms and decision-support systems deal with how to act on the prescriptions emerging from the diagnosis and prescription systems.

The fourth key component of the management system is communications, which will need to be both within the organization to send motivational messages and instructions from decision-making to the rest of the organization, and to bring information related to threats or opportunities to the diagnosis and prescription systems. Outside the organization, interaction with stakeholders will provide them with key information about the organization, its environment and the interactions of the two, and will get information from stakeholders about threats and opportunities. The processes must ensure that stakeholders remain engaged, and provide you with the kind of input that helps you meet your goals, understand their perspectives, and to find common ground. In addition, the communication systems will encourage knowledge sharing that facilitates distributing the management system functions throughout the organization.

Building the management system

The success of your management system will depend in part on the process by which it is developed. In general, systems which build on the existing system, that involve users in the design of the system (or its new components), and that can show early successes tend to be the most effective.

Design of management systems requires careful consideration of strategic objectives, priorities, and people issues if they are to support lasting change that help you realize your opportunities and limit your liabilities.

What we do

We work with you to ensure that your management system meets your needs. We develop a strategy for ensuring that the key management system functions are available and at a level of detail and formality appropriate for your organization.

Our specific strategy is developed in consultation with you, recognizing the scale, and culture of your organization, the maturity of your existing management system, and the context within which you operate.

Recent projects

We worked with Enbridge Gas Distribution on their system for managing their demand side management initiatives, including suggesting enhancements to their stakeholder consultation initiatives, their market intelligence gathering systems, and their incentive mechanisms.

In a separate project for Enbridge, we developed systems and tools for them to manage tracking of environmental and regulatory requirements that must be met for system expansion and enhancement.

With the Association of Canadian Distillers, we provided members advice and assistance on decision-making support systems, including demonstrating and tracking due diligence, on monitoring and reporting systems related to energy use and emissions, and on tracking changes in the regulatory environment within which they operate. We worked closely with representatives from operational and strategic levels of the member organizations, as well as with the executive of the Association.

For the City of Toronto, we consulted with staff from across the functional areas of the City on the design of an environmental management system and then a sustainability management system (that encompasses the environmental management system, as well as management systems for social and economic aspects of the City). We encouraged cross-departmental discussion and co-operation, and integrating sustainabilility considerations within the existing institutional structures.

We developed a management system for the Federation of Municipalities for the applications to the Green Municipal Enabling Fund (GMEF) and the Green Municipal Investment Fund (GMIF).