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A message from our Chair

The end of the year is rapidly approaching, and with it the traditional time of reflection on the old year as well as hopeful expectation for the new.

This year has been characterised by its fair share of highs and lows – for our organisation, our nation, and our world. The Standards Council generated a very creditable surplus but farewelled two long-serving members. New Zealand has seen the All Whites qualify for the Football World Cup for the first time in over two decades, but observed the 30th anniversary of our nation's worst aviation disaster. Globally, we marked 20 years since the fall of the Berlin wall, but have faced a global economic crisis on a scale unseen in two generations.

I am sure that 2010 will bring its own challenges and opportunities, but it is worthwhile to remember that 2009 also marked the 40th anniversary of the first Moon landing. The Apollo programme is one of history's supreme examples of the power of human vision, cooperation, and tenacity to triumph in any circumstances.

In mentioning the space programme, it's notable that some day-to-day applications have their direct origins in Apollo: improved dialysis machines; water purification systems that kill viruses, bacteria, and algae; foam insulation for industrial machinery and pipelines; and fire-resistant fabrics used by fire services around the world. Many of these once leading-edge discoveries have been made routine through their inclusion in Standards – a powerful reminder of the innovative part Standards play in our lives.

The achievements of the Standards Council are well summarised in our latest annual report, but I would like to repeat my thanks for the dedication and hard work of the volunteers, staff, management, and my fellow Council members. Our collective efforts make a difference, not just in the field of standardisation, but to the wealth, health, and safety of all New Zealanders.

On behalf of the Standards Council and Standards New Zealand I would like to wish you and your families a most happy, relaxed, and safe festive season.

Happy Christmas.

Richard Westlake
Chair, Standards Council

Seasons Greetings

My first two years as Chief Executive of Standards New Zealand have flown by in what has been a period of both challenge and reward. We have accomplished much over this time to become a stronger organisation including:

  • developing a clear and robust business model, which has been referred to as 'resilient' and 'an exemplar'
  • a very successful transformation of the organisation involving tighter strategic alignment, new ways of working with a clear focus on our clients and customers, and significant productivity gains
  • maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction across a range of stakeholders
  • returning a financial surplus for the first time in 4 years.

This result is due to the continuing hard work and dedication of the Standards New Zealand team, and the thousands of expert volunteers who serve on national, regional, and international committees developing Standards solutions for the benefit of New Zealanders. See our 2009 Annual Report below for more information.

These achievements have been made against a backdrop of the worst economic crisis the world has faced since Standards New Zealand was established in 1932. Over the past 2 months, the media have made much of the fact that New Zealand's recession is technically over, with the first quarterly growth in 18 months – unfortunately, commentators are noting that this pattern may reverse or plateau. The indicators are that New Zealand will not recover quickly and a return to significant national growth is expected to take some time. The effects of the economic downturn are expected to be felt for the next several years. We will need to remain agile to bring in new business to stay in a healthy financial position.

I want to say a most sincere thank you to all of our expert volunteers for your unstinting contribution to standardisation and its vital role in our country's well-being.

On behalf of the Standards New Zealand team, I wish you and your loved ones a safe and very enjoyable holiday season, and a successful 2010.

Debbie Chin
Chief Executive

Standards New Zealand close down period 2009 – 2010

Every year Standards New Zealand has a close down period during the Christmas and New Year break to enable all employees to rest and relax after the busy year.

We will be officially closed from Thursday, 24 December 2009 to Sunday, 10 January 2010. The office will close at noon on Wednesday, 23 December 2009 for our staff Christmas lunch and will re-open on Monday, 11 January 2010.

Customers can still place orders for electronic documents and order hard copy documents during this period via our webshop. If you pay by credit card or are a member of Standards New Zealand, your orders will be fulfilled immediately for PDFs, or after 11 January if hard copies. Otherwise, we will fulfil your orders after payments have been received and processed in the week of 11 January 2010.

Debbie Chin
Chief Executive

Continuing the transformation of Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand has undergone a process of transformation over the past eighteen months. We implemented a new organisation structure in October 2008 and introduced a more business-like focus. We have accomplished much over the past 12 months to become a sustainable organisation.

Refining our organisational structure

In late October 2009 I announced options to further refine our organisational structure to Standards New Zealand staff for their review and consideration.

Our senior leadership team has assessed staff feedback on the proposed changes in conjunction with an assessment of our market and operating environment over the coming 12 – 18 months. We concluded that changes were required to our structure to ensure our resources and capabilities match our known workloads so we remain financially sustainable.

These changes have been implemented and became effective on 1 December 2009. They recalibrate the strong base we have built, which you our stakeholders – our valued nominating organisations, industry bodies, committee members, and users of Standards – have contributed to.

If you have any questions, please email Michelle Wessing, General Manager – Corporate Services (michelle.wessing@standards.co.nz), who is leading this Transformation Programme, or me.

Seasons Greetings.

Debbie Chin
Chief Executive

It's now easier to find a Standard on the Standards New Zealand website

The Standards New Zealand website home page www.standards.co.nz has been updated to help you find a Standard quickly. Just enter the Standard number, name, or a keyword in the search field.

We've also made it easier to see the latest news on Standards by highlighting recent publications on our home page and including a link to our media centre.

Touchstone will continue to bring you relevant news on Standards affecting your industry and the home page includes a link to Touchstone. You can subscribe to Touchstone and choose which types of articles you want to receive. Each month in Touchstone we publish Standards news related to building, business, consumer safety, electrical, engineering, environment, fire protection, fuels, health, international, lighting, local government, materials, occupational safety, telecommunications, and transportation.

Touchstone includes updates on New Zealand Standards in development, amendments, drafts, superseded and withdrawn NZS and AS/NZS Standards, ISO, IEC, Australian, and British Standards. You can order overseas Standards from us and Standards New Zealand members receive a 20% discount. For information on becoming a member see the membership section of our website, email membership@standards.co.nz or call 0800 735 656 during business hours.

Standards New Zealand recertified to AS/NZS ISO 9001:2008

I am delighted to advise that Standards New Zealand has been recertified and is compliant to AS/NZS ISO 9001:2008.

As the national Standards body it is important that we can provide assurance of our ability to meet our customer's needs, our commitment to continual improvement, and our ability to manage risk. We established a quality management system (QMS) in late 2001 to provide this assurance and to make continual improvement part of the way we work.

Focus on continuous improvement and new initiatives

We conduct regular internal audits and in everything we do we think about how we can do it better, smarter, or faster, and how technology can assist us.

Comprehensive internal audits are taking place in areas such as:

  • the implementation of our Information Systems Strategic Plan (ISSP)
  • training and development planning and evaluation
  • reviewing the effectiveness of our transformation process
  • the auditing of Standards solutions projects against policies and procedures.

Several new initiatives are currently underway as follows.

  • New ISSP initiative, designed to provide improved customer, financial, and process solutions
  • The creation of an 'Ideas factory'
  • The promotion of our online library and other marketing activities
  • A strong emphasis on a cross functional working style across our organisation, which has seen a number of our staff from across different business units come together to work collectively on projects

Examples of other recent initiatives are as follows.

  • Each time we complete a Standards development project we survey the committee. The project manager looks at what has been done well and what could be done differently next time. We apply those learnings across all future development projects.
  • Helping users of our website to find answers to frequently asked questions – users can click on a specific topic on our website.

Telarc audit

Our Telarc assessor Richard Saul remarked on the positive transformation in our organisation since his last visit in 2008.

Telarc reviewed the following areas of our QMS in November 2009:

  • management of our document control system
  • maintenance of our internal audit programme
  • our management review process
  • achievements against our defined objectives
  • progress of our continual improvement projects
  • management of our corrective action system and customer complaints
  • the control of internal failures.

In addition the following areas were selected for review and assessed in depth.

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Customer communication
  • Monitoring and measuring
  • Infrastructure

The areas above were found to comply with both the requirements of AS/NZS ISO 9001:2008 and our documented QMS system.

'One version of the truth'

Our quality manual (our intranet) provides our team with 'one version of the truth'. It includes up to date and accurate information about our processes, contacts, policies, and procedures.

Business representatives manage specific areas of our quality manual and ensure our QMS remains accurate. Michelle Wessing, General Manager Corporate Services is responsible for the accuracy and completion of our quality manual.

Looking ahead

This year's customer satisfaction survey results show satisfaction among development clients and purchasing customers remains high. We are committed to continually improving the customer experience, including increasing our efficiency when working and dealing with customers and clients.

I look forward to building on our culture of continuous improvement and embracing change to ensure a strong, flexible, and financially sustainable future for Standards New Zealand.

Debbie Chin
Chief Executive

Leveraging government shared services – Standards New Zealand works with Government Technology Services

Standards New Zealand's programme of work to deliver the first phase of our Information Systems Strategic Plan (ISSP) from mid 2010 is well underway. Under the Government shared services scheme, we have engaged test resources from Government Technology Services (GTS), a division of the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), to develop a test strategy.

'We do not have dedicated testers and by using GTS we can leverage expertise, cost effectively, to help us to mitigate risk in our ISSP,' says Alison Holt, ISSP Programme Director at Standards New Zealand.

Test strategy to reduce risk

'The two requests for proposals (RFPs) we issued in October 2009 have closed,' says Alison. 'Evaluation panels have reviewed the RFPs and we will select the successful candidates by Christmas. We will proceed to the proof of concept and testing stages in early 2010.'

'The test strategy will ensure we understand and manage the risks we face when putting in new systems, and ensure that new systems will work in the way we expect and want. The actual business acceptance testing will be carried out by our staff, next year.'

The test strategy is being developed now and will soon be finalised. It will then be discussed with the successful providers and will form an agreed test plan, which will be incorporated as a fundamental element of our deployment strategy in the new year.

Government Technology Services provides information technology capacity

Standards New Zealand is one of the first government organisations to use the testing resources at GTS. GTS moved from the State Services Commission to combine with DIA's Information and Communications Technologies group in July 2009.

'Many Government departments are not big enough to justify their own information technology (IT) teams and GTS allows Government departments to share existing IT services,' says Matt Mansell, Manager of Testing Services at GTS. 'We are geared to provide professional IT services and IT capacity to any government department as needed.'

'Standards New Zealand has ageing information systems and the ISSP will bring these systems up to the current, vendor-supported standards. Our role at Standards New Zealand is to ensure that comprehensive testing is completed prior to rolling out new systems.'

'The test strategy will help Standards New Zealand to develop a risk profile; identify, rate, track, and mitigate risks; and ensure new systems work and meet their business requirements.'

For more information email alison.holt@standards.co.nz

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