Interested parties influence the performance of an organization. Sustained success is more likely to be achieved when an organization manages relationships with its interested parties to optimize their impact on its performance. Relationship management with its supplier and partner network is often of particular importance.

Relationship Management – Key Benefits

Some potential key benefits are:

  • enhanced performance of the organization and its relevant interested parties through responding
  • to the opportunities and constraints related to each interested party;
  • common understanding of objectives and values among interested parties;
  • increased capability to create value for interested parties by sharing resources and competence and managing quality related risks;
  • a well-managed supply chain that provides a stable flow of products and services.

What do we mean by Relationship Management?

Organisations can do this by taking the following action to:

  • determine relevant interested parties (such as providers, partners, customers, investors, employees or society as a whole) and their relationship with the organization;
  • determine and prioritize interested party relationships that need to be managed;
  • establish relationships that balance short-term gains with long-term considerations;
  • gather and share information, expertise and resources with relevant interested parties;
  • measure performance and provide performance feedback to interested parties, as appropriate, to enhance improvement initiatives;
  • establish collaborative development and improvement activities with providers, partners and other interested parties;
  • encourage and recognize improvements and achievements by providers and partners.
relationship management

Let’s look at Relationship Management

To become a successful organisation you  need to clearly understand your interested parties and who they can affect the business, this can be achieved when you identify the context of the business which includes understanding the Context of your organisation.

4. Context of the organization

To understand the context of the organization you must first understand the relationship between:

  • External Issues, Internal issues and
  • The needs of relevant interested parties

When you initially look at these issues they may seem a bit abstract but understanding of these issues is fundamental to an effective QMS where risks and opportunities are addressed.

In clause 4.1 the organization will need to determine external and internal issues that are relevant to its purpose and strategic direction (and what these are), i.e. what are the relevant issues, both inside and out, that have an impact on what the organization does, that would affect its ability to achieve the intended results(s) (and what its intended result(s) are) of its management system. Intended result(s) of the MSS

  • Notes from ISO 9001
  • Note 1: Issues can include: Positive and negative factors or conditions.
  • Note 2: External context could include: Legal, technological, market, social etc.
  • Note 3: Internal context could include: Values, culture, knowledge, performance etc.… ….

This is not to preclude specific intended result(s) that are organizational specific, this will depend on its purpose and strategic direction. The term ‘issue’ covers not only problems, which would have been the subject of preventive action in previous standards, but also important topics for the management system to address, such as any market assurance and governance goals that the organization might set for its MS.

Once external and internal issues have been determined, information relating to them must be subject to monitor and review i.e. keep them up to date. This clause and Clause 4.2 can both impact on the planning of the QMS, especially when determining its scope (4.3) and when determining its risks and opportunities (6.1).

4.2 Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties

Requires an organization to determine those interested parties that are relevant to its QMS by considering possibly their effects on its purpose, intended result(s) and strategic direction for example.

Example of Internal Issues

Example of External Issues

Example of Interested Parties

When you know this information you start conducting a formal risk assessment as defined in clause 6.1 Actions to address risks and opportunities.

If you want to know more about the subject we cover these topics in our courses, namely: