EMS – Why do I need a scope?

scopeBefore you can begin to build an effective Environmental Management System (EMS), you need to define the scope and purpose of the EMS.  A project charter is a great place to start, which will identify a project sponsor, a project manager, and outline what the ultimate goal of the system should be.

The next step is to create a detailed scope.  As a young engineer, I was tasked with managing the construction of a large truck wash facility for mine equipment.  The project was already underway with a tight completion schedule when I became involved.  The final designs of the project were still under development as construction began.  After the building structure was erected and the overhead doors were installed, it was noted that there were no man-doors to enter the building.  There were numerous other issues with the facility that had to be addressed prior to being able to commission the facility.  How did this happen?  The project had never been properly scoped and, as a result, suffered from several design and construction issues that should have never occurred.  The project was completed; however, it was completed behind schedule and over budget.

Just like a construction project, you must have a clearly defined scope to develop a successful EMS.  The following questions will help to develop a scope for the EMS.

  • What is the purpose of the EMS and what will the end product look like?
  • What operations and facilities will be included in the scope and are there any operations that will be specifically excluded?
  • What resources will be needed, both in terms of manpower and budget, to develop the end product?
  • Who will need to provide input to the system for it to accomplish its purpose and to make the system effective?
  • How will the system be implemented and what resources will be required?
  • What resources will be required to maintain the EMS once it is implemented?
  • What is the targeted date for completion?
  • What training will be required?

As you work through the development of the EMS, refer back to the scope frequently.  This will help to keep the focus on the value adding activities and help to identify the items which are out of scope for the project.  This will work to keep the project on track and within the budget and time constraints.

Please feel free to comment on this or any of my other blogs.


2 thoughts on “EMS – Why do I need a scope?

  1. Thank you for your helpful post on scoping, I am planning to use your suggestions. How has it worked when you implemented it?

  2. Thanks for your comment. A good scope is the key to a successful project. It has allowed me to assess the successful implementation of our EMS and many other projects.

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