The Last Word

08.05.17

Collaborative working is the key to the future of rail infrastructure

Source: RTM Apr/May 17

David Hawkins, operations director at the Institute for Collaborative Working (ICW), on why ISO 44001 is a new evolution in collaborative working.

The launch of BS 11000 in 2010 heralded a step change in thinking for the UK rail industry led by Network Rail. Since those early days, the benefits of a structured approach to collaboration have been seen through a number of key programmes. 

Today, the need for collaborative working could not be greater as we see not only more investment in rail, but also the progress towards HS2. This major programme sees an even greater need for collaboration as it embraces both main contractors and their supply chains from the UK, as well those from Europe and beyond. It is no surprise, then, that HS2 has elected to adopt the principles of BS 11000 as part of its engagement strategy. 

The ISO’s publication of ISO 44001 in March, which replaces BS 11000, now more readily suits the multinational participants in HS2. The new standard has been developed within the ISO high-level structure and will, therefore, aid alignment with other management standards such as ISO 9001. This new standard will provide a better platform on which to build sustainable relationships over the long-term development of the programme.   

The need for organisations to work together has perhaps never been more critical in today’s economic environment, to meet the demands of the market and growing global competition and the impact of technology, and in particular communications and transparency of markets. We see today a marketplace where success is more about what we bring to the market rather than simply what we produce as individual organisations. 

ISO 44001 is not a one-size-fits-all approach and organisations will certainly require tailoring to suit specific and varied situations. Collaboration is not a solution in itself, but does offer an alternative perspective to the value chain. Integration in the supply and delivery network both locally and globally can be optimised by focusing on the boundaries between organisations, public and private, to focus on what each does best in a complementary business process. Developing a collaborative approach has been shown to release potential value and innovation. The original CRAFT model and ISO 44001 are not simply a process, but provide a lifecycle framework for relationships which addresses the operational influences that will drive both organisational and individual behaviours, creating a cultural environment where collaboration can be fully exploited to mutual benefit. 

Changing the rules of the game requires alternative thinking that may be currently suppressed within the confines of current contracting practice. Led by the British Standards Institution, supported by ICW and based on the success of BS 11000 started in 2013 to develop an international standard backed by 12 countries spanning America, Europe and Asia, ISO 44001 was published in March. ICW is proud of its contribution to this journey and continues to support further developments whilst helping organisations and individuals harness the power of collaborative working.

“The need for organisations to work together has perhaps never been more critical in today’s economic environment.”

For More Information

W: www.instituteforcollaborativeworking.com

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