Streamlined process speeds up standards development and reduces costs

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Over the past year Standards New Zealand has been sharing our business transformation journey with customers and stakeholders. We know we need to change to remain relevant and sustainable to our users.

As part of this, we’ve refreshed our business strategy and initiated a series of innovation pilots. We’re trialling new, more agile ways of developing standards and providing easier access to them for our users. This includes fostering stronger strategic relationships and working more closely with key sectors.

Better partnering options

One initiative that’s seeing good success is the development of more flexible and affordable partnering options. We’re giving commissioning organisations the opportunity to share project management tasks with our team. This spreads the cost of developing standards, increases our capacity and allows greater collaboration between Standards New Zealand and partner organisations.

Sam Mason, Principal Advisor in the Standards New Zealand Development team, says the new approach is ‘drastically’ reducing the costs of developing standards. ‘The pilot with Ambulance NZ has been a great success and we’re currently adopting this new way of working on standards with Concrete NZ, the Earth Building Association of New Zealand (EBANZ), and upcoming revisions with the Ministry of Health.

We have also concluded a successful partnership pilot with the New Zealand Master Monumental Masons Association (NZMMA) to reintroduce and update a withdrawn standard NZS 4242 Headstones and cemetery monuments. This standard specifies the minimum structure design criteria, performance, and renovation requirements for cemetery monuments.

President of the NZMMMA, Craig Robinson, explains the standard had expired and it was important to the association – and the industry in general – to renew and update it. We needed a regulatory instruction manual to make sure the public were always kept safe, he says. While it was a daunting process initially, the Standards New Zealand team provided good guidance, for example, around who we should have on the committee.

 ‘Once we had clear direction the process flowed well and we got the standard completed within the guidelines we set, despite a lot of hard work that was needed, he adds.

Streamlined international standards

Another strategic initiative that has delivered some great results has been a new, streamlined process for developing international standards. ‘We’ve reduced the time required from more than six months down to three, including a full six weeks of consultation, Sam Mason says. This has resulted in a corresponding drop in costs, while still maintaining our robust and recognised process.

It has been so successful that the Standards New Zealand Development team are now working on adopting a suite of 10 related international standards. ‘Instead of developing them individually, our new process allows us to work on them in parallel and deliver them in an anticipated three to four months, he adds.

Another success story has been streamlining of the important process of obtaining Standards Approval Board sign-off of committee nominations. These nominations are essential for ensuring balanced and expert committees for developing standards which, understandably, require thorough vetting. We are presenting potential appointees and receiving Board approvals much earlier by implementing a more robust process that takes all relevant factors into consideration.

 ‘We believe that with the increased interest in the partnership model, we have the ability to meet growing market needs and increase the commissioning of new development projects.’

Published in business and ICT.