We are pleased to announce that Serchem Ltd have successfully maintained ISO 9001:2015 certification.
How the journey began..
Quality Systems Consultancy Ltd (QSC) were initially contacted via the website and subsequent telephone conversation with Serchem Ltd to arrange a date to carry out an Internal Audit against ISO 9001:2015.
We arrived on site to commence the audit and after completing the audit and gap analysis as preparation, plans were put in place to support and develop a controlled and fully maintained system as follows:
Serchem Ltd decided to carry out a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) review to identify the internal and external issues that could affect the achievement of meeting customer requirements and to identify the possible opportunities the company could gain by introducing ISO 9001.
The SWOT was recorded to show evidence of how the external and internal issues were identified.
The areas of threats and weakness were risk assessed to determine the major risks to the business (see Risks / Opportunities below).
During the review of the SWOT, various interested parties were considered along with the expectations of these parties. This was recorded and methods of how Serchem could ensure meeting the expectations were considered and controls drawn up to achieve requirements and expectations
The scope of the Quality Management System (QMS) was discussed within the senior management team and was concluded as “Development, blending and supply of cleaning products and facilitation of installation and repair of commercial catering equipment which uses Serchem products”. The scope was recorded in the QMS (as per the requirement of 4.3 in ISO 9001:2015).
Exclusions in the QMS were considered, but the company did not have any justifiable exclusions, therefore all clauses of the standard were addressed.
The QMS consists of a manual (which QSC helped develop) and a few written procedures along with master forms and documents. An interrelation chart is in place and identifies how the various processes interact within the QMS and identifies inputs and outputs of the system.
From the beginning of re-writing the system the Directors were very involved and directed the management team to implement any recommendations raised by QSC. They attended many of the management meetings, they ensured resources were made available and fully promoted the QMS within the business.
QSC held regular meetings with the management team and directed the company in the direction it needed to take to achieve certification.
Minutes of meetings were recorded, and actions allocated with time scales to make the agreed improvements happen.
It is fair to say the company has Directors fully committed to achieving the best for the company whilst ensuring the focus is on continual improvement (clause 10.3 in ISO 9001:2015) and delivering the best customer service. The senior management were also very heavily involved in achieving the best for the business and achieving the desired outcomes.
The Quality policy was created and written by Serchem Ltd with inputs from QSC to ensure full compliance to the Standard as well as being used for the purpose of driving the system within the business.
The policy is available to interested parties upon request, a requirement of the standard to make the policy available to interested parties. The policy is also posted on company notice boards and discussed at inductions of new staff.
The roles and responsibilities of individuals with respect to the QMS have been discussed and noted in the Quality Manual and are explained and agreed at induction and during staff appraisals.
Ultimately the company are using the ISO 9001:2015 management system as part of the drive for improvement.
Business Risk and Opportunity
Following the initial SWOT the key Threats and Weaknesses were risk assessed to determine the greatest risks to the business. This has been tabulated and controls considered and implemented. Once the risks have been identified and a residual risk determined, system improvements were and have been implemented by the company to drive risks down and to raise standards within the business.
From the SWOT, the Opportunities have also been assessed to determine how these can be achieved. Actions and timescales have been set and reviews are carried out to ensure both risks and opportunities are being reduced and/or achieved.
Measurable targets have been set at the Management Review (see below) and the resources required to implement achievements are discussed. Regular reviews of the targets are being held to show the status of the targets and to allow progress tracking.
To achieve improvements and to maintain compliance to the Standard, all the employees have been given awareness training on the QMS / ISO Standard.
Following awareness training, individual training records were reviewed, updated and are being maintained to ensure that all staff have adequate training applicable to their roles and responsibilities.
The company has reviewed the type of staff it has in various positions to ensure the right person is in the right position to achieve personal and business ambitions.
All documents (forms) used in the business relating to the QMS have been fully reviewed, amended (as necessary) and are controlled to prevent inaccurate out of date forms being used. A simple master document register has been created that lists all the forms that are individually identified by a unique reference, an issue status and a date of issue. Any changes to the forms are recorded on the master documents register and the issue status amended on the specific form to identify the status. This is a mandatory requirement of the company, and all staff are aware of the need to control forms.
All records are retained electronically and fully controlled. As part of the company’s commitment to continual improvement, the IT system is constantly under review and improved as necessary.
Any changes to the system are incorporated in the QMS and considered as part of complying with clause 6.3, Planning of Change
The infrastructure of the business has been significantly improved to ensure customer satisfaction. Areas such as a new mezzanine floor to increase storage capacity has been built.
QSC helped the business to consider the infrastructure and continues to offer suggestions and encouragement.
The work environment is also considered by the company to ensure that the staff are provided with adequate equipment and resource. This was discussed at the management meetings and is still improving. Similarly, any equipment needed to determine accurate measurement has been calibrated.
The company has developed controls for all equipment requiring calibrating and identification of the same. Staff are aware of the need to maintain equipment in a good state of repair to ensure accuracy. Processes have been developed by the company to ensure a full recall of equipment for calibration at specified times.
As part of the companies drive for exceeding client expectations as well as keeping informed of best practises, the company uses the services of QSC, as well as trade associations, government website etc to ensure the knowledge of the business is maintained and information shared throughout.
To ensure consistency of product and service Serchem Ltd have developed and improved on its systems to manage and produce products to meet and exceed customer expectations.
A complete review of the design process has been undertaken to ensure design steps required by the standard have been fully covered and are demonstrable.
Dedicated staff are responsible for design, development and testing of product, whilst others control customer communications, feedback, orders placed etc.
As part of the QMS new improved documents have been introduced, better methods of communication, improved production set ups all introduced to achieve a better service to clients.
Supplier reviews have been completed and information obtained to demonstrate that suppliers are being monitored.
QSC has provided templates that have been adopted by the company to request information from suppliers. Performance of suppliers is incorporated into the management meetings.
Monitoring and Measurement
All parts of the business generate different information that is managed.
The information includes customer perception data and feedback, this is obtained by various formats including repeat business, number of complaints, referrals, meetings etc.
Other data reviewed includes production performance, supplier performance, business risks and opportunities etc
Results of the monitoring and measurement are all documented.
A key part of addressing the requirements of the IMS is to carry out internal audits to see how well the business is doing to meet the requirements of the standards.
The audits have been completed by QSC who are impartial from the processes being audited. Non-compliances have led to improvements to the system and have been used to drive continual improvements.
QSC have helped Serchem Ltd develop internal audit schedules to ensure all processes of the system have been covered as part of an internal audit.
The audit process is used as a positive method for identifying system strengths as well as weaknesses. All of which strive to achieve the expectations of interested parties and improve the companies QMS.
Another key requirement of the standard is to review the complete QMS. This is done at least annually by all of the senior management team meeting to discuss the key areas of the system and using an agenda that covers the requirements of the standards.
The minutes are fully documented along with any actions needed and completion dates to be achieved.
This meeting is a very important meeting and is given all the necessary support and drive necessary to achieve improvements.
Key areas that have been discussed include the reduction in business risks and achievements of opportunities, tracking of the companies targets and objectives, customer feedback, training and the implementation of the skills learnt, suitability of the QMS policy etc.
QSC are actively encouraging to push the QMS on to help the business succeed and achieve.
Non Compliances and Corrective Actions
When issues are reported or identified, a non-compliance process is in place to record, investigate and reduce or eliminate complaints or issues.
QSC have assisted in the implementation of an “Action / Improvement Log “which has been developed to ensure the information recorded is suitable for the companies’ requirements as well as achieving compliance to the Standard.
Since implementing the log there has been a significant reduction in customer complaints and a noticeable improvement in production efficiencies and throughput.
QMS improvements have been developed to make a positive impact in Serchem Ltd and improve client service and expectations.
Ultimately the business can only achieve ongoing improvement if it implements a QMS.
Serchem Ltd are a prime example of how by the development and best practises of a QMS, a business can become better at what it does, attract more customers and become more efficient.
Consultants should be used to assist with the QMS/EMS/H&S but NOT own it. The company should always own the system.
Once the QMS has been developed, installed and allowed to develop, the final stage of the system is to have it independently audited to confirm full compliance to the ISO 9001:2015 Standard.
This shows the company is implementing the requirements and controls needed to achieve ISO certification and has been independently verified.
Serchem appointed NQA Certification to assess their QMS and no issues were found and continued certification was recommended.
CONGRATULATIONS TO SERCHEM LTD ON YOUR SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT.
If you would like to start the journey with us, call 01889 881887 to book a gap analysis and review of your
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