Compliance is a key issue that most organisations will be concerned about. But compliance isn’t just about keeping on the right side of the law (and we don’t discuss laws in this book as they vary from nation to nation and require specialist advice). While organisations need to do certain things to remain lawful, many compliance obligations are self-imposed, for instance, compliance with international standards. And this is because compliance can deliver many benefits – reduced costs, better quality products, lower risks, greater market authority.

Being compliant isn’t simply a question of following a process that has been laid down by others diligently (although that helps). It requires organisations to want to comply, and as part of that to comply with the spirit as well as the letter of what they are complying with. It requires them to use common sense and take an approach based on what is reasonable. It requires them to understand what they need to comply with, for instance, existing and emerging industry standards. But compliance needs to be built into organisations with 155regular audits to assure compliance, rather than treated as a one-off tick-box exercise, if the full benefits are to be enjoyed.