Traditional Business Management

The “traditional” way to define how a business does (or should) operate is to define a set of “procedures”, narrative descriptions of related sequences of events within a department or work area (for example, in Stores or Purchasing).

Often, a company will generate one set of procedures for its quality system, another for how it deals with environmental matters, and another for how it addresses heath and safety issues. Each procedure may be 10-12 pages in length (or longer).

Typical problems with the narrative procedures found in many organisations are:

– inconsistent terminology (eg job titles, document names …)
– the responsibility for taking action is not clear
– repetition (in slightly different wording)

– contradictions from one part of a procedure to another
– gaps in the logical flow
– a tendency to add even more words to “explain” something which is not clear.

Because such procedures can be difficult to understand, they tend not to be used and sit on shelves where they become out of date.

There is also a tendency to use an external standard as the starting point for defining a system.  Procedures are built around the sections of the standard in an artificial structure which does not fit naturally or logically with the way that an organisation operates.

So you may have a contract review “procedure” and a purchasing “procedure”. But confirming that you can do the job is only one step within the process of tendering for work, and your purchasing activity is not logically complete until the goods or services have been received and checked.


The PROMANADE approach takes a different view of management and of compliance. Rather than merely setting out to comply with an external standard (perhaps because you fear that you will lose potential customers if you are not certified, we believe that you should start by looking at what you do now, how you do it and how you can improve.

This means taking a “systems” or process-based view of your business.

Some Questions

Why are so many management system descriptions built around the structure of an external standard?

Until recently it has been difficult to find a format which makes it easy to describe what the organisation does, how it does it, and the key roles and responsibilities, which people can understand and find easy to use.

Why is the “PROCESS APPROACH” important?

Typical reasons for recognising and defining processes (rather than continuing to describe operations in narrative task-based procedures) and for managing end-to-end processes rather than individual activities within departments are to:

– understand clearly how things are done now
– agree a standard approach to follow
– identify factors which may reduce your ability to meet objectives

– make roles and responsibilities clear
– show that the organisation has a clear and comprehensive management system
– gain certification (if required) against ISO9001, 14001 etc.

Normally this comes from a straightforward desire to create a management system description that is clear and concise, and that can be used as the basis for improvement. It is nothing to do with Lean, or Six Sigma, or any “methodology”, but rather a recognition that “this is the best way to define how the work gets done”. This is a benefit for existing staff and makes it easier to train new staff.

How we can help……..

Not only do we supply and support the PROMANADE package we can also offer consultancy and conversion services to help you make the move from paper-based to an efficient and cost effective process mapped system.

Contact us now for more information