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"Management representative" is generally an appointed role rather than a job title. The person in this role represents a company's leadership team to external organizations as well as internally to employees involved in implementing, maintaining and improving a management system. This person is responsible to ensure the management system complies with requirements, such as those imposed by standards bodies, regulatory agencies, customers and other stakeholders to the management system's effectiveness.
A management system is a series of processes that work together to meet a specific need. The two most common examples include quality management systems (QMS), and environmental management systems (EMS). The processes in QMS result in products or services that satisfy customers. The processes in EMS control a company's emissions and other factors to prevent pollution and comply with legal and regulatory requirements. The management representative is often a manager who has direct responsibility for the processes at the heart of the associated system, such as quality managers, who are typically appointed as QMS management representatives.
ISO-9001 Management Representative Responsibilities
ISO-9001 is a global QMS standard and represents the backbone of many other management system standards. This standard requires companies to appoint a management representative to: ensure necessary processes are established, implemented and maintained; report to executive management on how well the system is performing and what improvements are needed; and promote awareness throughout the company of the QMS and the customer requirements it was designed to meet. The person appointed to this role must have the appropriate level of authority to effectively carry out these responsibilities.
ISO-14001 Management Representative Responsibilities
ISO-14001 is a global EMS standard that piggybacks off many aspects of ISO-9001, to include the appointment of a management representative. The EMS management representative must ensure that an EMS compliant with ISO-14001 requirements is implemented and maintained, and must provide regular reports on its performance to executives, emphasizing continual improvement. Even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency appoints an EMS management representative. That appointment falls to an assistant regional administrator, who is responsible for fulfilling the requirements of ISO-14001. The EPA regional management representative also appoints an EMS coordinator and collaborates with senior staff to ensure sufficient resources are available to effectively operate the EMS.
A management representative stays abreast of internal and external changes that could affect the ongoing compliance of the management system, and typically coordinates external audits with certification bodies to validate initial and ongoing compliance to the pertinent management system standard, such as ISO-9001 or ISO-14001. This representative also analyzes internal and external audit findings and prepares or oversees the preparation of charts showing trends related to growing problems and improving efficiencies. The management representative recommends and drives corrective and preventive actions and improvement initiatives, and often provides leadership to internal audit teams. Other duties can include preparing and presenting training and communication materials designed to inform employees of management system changes, concepts, processes and needs.
Characteristics and Competencies
The person appointed as a management representative should have strong communication and presentation skills to relate well to employees at all levels of the company, from the plant floor to the boardroom. The management representative should be thick-skinned and as ready to accept accountability when external findings are warranted as to provide valid, logical arguments when an auditor's findings seem to veer off course from actual documented requirements. Sufficient knowledge of statistics to recognize and effectively present trend data is a must.
A careers content writer, Debra Kraft is a former English teacher whose 25-plus year corporate career includes training and mentoring. She holds a senior management position with a global automotive supplier and is a senior member of the American Society for Quality. Her areas of expertise include quality auditing, corporate compliance, Lean, ERP and IT business analysis.