The Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will start on Friday this week, with an extraordinary opening ceremony in a city renowned for its vibrancy and joie de vivre. There is a smell surrounding the event though and it’s not the ongoing debate about failed drug tests and certain participants.
Instead, Guanabra Bay, where some of the water based events will be hosted, has been a dumping ground for waste and effluent for decades and hosts a range of nasty bacteria, viruses and the odd body. Nice! Competitors are grimly and darkly quoted as saying:
The water quality is s*** because the sewage flushes in untreated. We all know that. No local would swim in it because we know we would get a disease”
Check out this piece in the Guardian
The root causes of this situation are difficult to turn around quickly. The Olympics has helped, becuase it focussed minds and resources but Rio is a city which is growing quickly. It is fuelled by rapid urbanisation, with limited resources and infrastructure especially waste management and sanitation. One in three city residents live in areas not connected to the sewage system and only half the waste is treated!
Don't end up in the same position!
We wish Rio all the luck in the world of course, but let's focus on our own business. We need to grow, but we need to manage that growth so that we don't end up like the Bay. Looking lovely, but actually a Cess Pool!
ISO 9001 is quite particular on the need to manage resources. It's a crucial part of the 'Support' Clauses. You need to consider what you need to achive and align your resources; what is the investment you need in infrastructure, facilities and people. This might seem a long way from a received view of 'Quality' but a lack of these things will soon threaten the growth of the business.
In addition, you should consider issues that can affect you (both internally and externally). Having done so, you can analyse the risks and manage the opportunities that you identify. These disciplines help focus attention on any growth strategy. They enable you to draw out a sustainable and costed plan, and put it in place in a controlled manner.
Rio hasn't had much luck in planning it's growth in a controlled and considered way. It is now faced with trying to build infrastructure and manage the consequences of significant health issues among its population. This is going to be incredibly expensive and complex at the least, with social unrest already a feature. Don't end up in the same position!
We hope we've been a bit thought-provoking. We belive in having a structured framework to plan strategy and operate and by using a practical QMS as a framework, you can achieve really effective outcomes. The revised 2015 Standard can certainly contribute. (and if you're stuck so can we)