Landmark international standard for collaborative business relationships launched

BSI, the British standards company, has launched ISO 44001: Collaborative business relationship management systems – requirements and frameworks. The new international standard replaces BS 11000, and provides guidance for identifying, developing and managing collaborative relationships with or between organizations.

ISO 44001 addresses the management system of an organization, and provides a framework for how organizations can establish a management system, as well as the operational process requirements for specific or individual organizational relationship engagement.

The standard also provides guidance on how effective collaboration requires two or more organizations to work well together, with the necessity that a management system needs to accommodate the activities of both parties. Differing cultures in organizations, and the challenges this can pose to synergy, is covered in the standard to ensure organizations have the right template to deliver enhanced benefit to stakeholders through collaborative approaches.

There is continuity with the new ISO 44001 and its predecessor, BS 11000; indeed, the key requirements from BS 11000 have been retained to ensure the focus on the evolving nature of a relationships’ development. ISO 44001 uses a high level structure (HLS) – featuring terms, definitions, headings and text common to all management system standards – allowing easier integration when implementing multiple management systems.  

ISO 44001 also has an increased focus on competence and behaviours and a need to consider the implications of the supply chain and extended enterprise, as well as an emphasis on the importance of Senior Executives Responsible (SERs).

The standard is applicable to private and public organizations of all sizes, from large multinational corporations and government organizations, to non-profit organizations and small businesses. A business, for example, could comply with ISO 44001 on several different levels: a single application (including operating unit, operating division, single project or programme, or mergers and acquisitions); and an individual relationship (including one-to-one relationships, alliance, partnership, business customers, and joint ventures).

The standard is likely to be particularly relevant to organizations in long term contracts in areas such as construction, transportation, defence, and facilities management.

David Fatscher, Head of Market Development for Sustainability and Services at BSI, said: “Collaborative business relationships have been shown to deliver a wide range of benefits for organizations of all sizes, enhancing their competitiveness and performance whilst adding value.

“Collaboration between individuals is commonplace, but collaboration between organizations is more complex and demands different knowledge and skills. This standard is aimed precisely at meeting those needs.”

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