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How To Determine The Scope Of Your Management System

The scope should concisely describe the activities, regulatory requirements, facilities, and remote locations that are to be covered under, and supported by, the management system.

Defining the scope of your management system is a key step when developing any management system. The scope should concisely describe the activities, regulatory requirements, facilities, and remote locations that are to be covered under, and supported by, the management system.


The scope of registration and certification (if you decide to go down this route) will need to reflect precisely and clearly the activities covered by your organisation’s management system - any exclusion to non-applicable requirements of the standards should be documented and justified.


From a review of the nature of your business’ operations, products and services, the scope of the management system should be apparent by the extent of the processes and controls that your organisation has already established.


Look for confirmation that your organisation has determined the boundaries and applicability of the management system to establish its scope with reference to any external and internal issues (discussed below), the requirements of relevant interested parties (also discussed below), and the nature of your organisation’s products and services. Consideration of the boundaries and applicability of the management system can include:


  • The range of products and/or services;

  • Different sites and activities;

  • External provision of processes, products and services;

  • Common support provided by centralised functions;

  • Processes, procedures, instructions, or site-specific requirements.


The scope of your management system may include the whole of the organisation, specific and identified functions within the organisation, specific sections of the organisation, or one or more functions across a group of organisations.


Ensure that your organisation has considered its degree of control and influence over its activities, products and services from a lifecycle perspective. The degree of control needs to be determined for environmental aspects associated with such things as procured goods and services, outsourced processes, product performance requirements, and end of life treatment (recycling, disposal, etc).


The management system scope must be retained as documented information. If you’re getting certified, the scope statement is normally shown on the certificate, for most Certification Bodies, in 15 words or less. Here are two examples shown below:


‘provision of marketing, sales, support, development and implementation of software solutions, located at…’


‘manufacture of precision machined components for aerospace and industrial customers, including the delivery of these activities to requirements, located at…’


You may not design your products because your customers supply product specifications and drawings, in which case you can exclude the product design processes and requirements.


Article originated in The Ideas Distillery blog


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