ISO 9001 Re-Certification and Why We Find It Helpful

We have just successfully completed the re-certification of our ISO 9001 for the next 3 years. We thought it would be interesting to discuss with our Finance Director, Katherine Laing, why we find it so useful for the efficient functioning of the company.

How many years has eJet been ISO accredited?

We have been ISO accredited for the last 3 years but we were working towards it with annual internal audits for at least 3 years prior to that. This year’s re-certification means that we can continue with our accreditation for the next 3 years.

What prompted you to push for full accreditation?

Our Managing Director, John Pitts, had wanted to achieve it since relocating eJet from Hong Kong to the U.K. in 2010. However being a small organisation we did not always have the resources available to implement all the necessary systems required to achieve accreditation until relatively recently.

Why do you find it so useful for the efficient functioning of the company?

The Management Review ensures that we take the time to look at the project processes in depth.  By doing so we are able to check that every step of a project – from the initial enquiry through to the final close-out sessions – is not only documented fully but also complete so that each Project Team member knows exactly where they are in the process.  The checks and balances imposed by the system also ensure that no part of the tender or project process is omitted.

How is this beneficial to the client?

By ensuring that each step of the project process is covered in depth, we are able to provide our clients with a thorough and efficient, effective project which can be delivered on time.

We are continually reviewing and improving these processes where possible to ensure efficient delivery of every project to our clients. This is especially important in a smaller organisation because we do not have spare resources, which makes it even more vital that everyone works to their maximum efficiency.

How hard is it to retain accreditation ?

I don’t want to say that accreditation becomes easier with every annual cycle, because it doesn’t – it requires a lot of hard work. However, as time goes on, the processes and procedures become second-nature to all concerned, and they really do make working as a team easier. This year’s re-certification resulted in a clean sheet with no recommendations or non conformities being issued; a direct result of the team members following the processes successfully.

To some extent, the annual accreditation process is missing the point. The important thing is that we have adopted certain business processes and procedures which are auditable and which make our day-to-day work easier. The annual accreditation process is merely one part of the check and balance that everything is as it should be. If we did not work to the processes that we have implemented, but instead we focussed on retaining the accreditation, I would say that something was wrong. Indeed something could be wrong and we might not be aware of it until that annual external audit. I think of it like this – a famous comedian once said that the Queen thinks the world smells of new paint because everything is freshly painted wherever she goes. If the world was always adequately spic and span, there would be no need to madly paint – and importantly defects and corrosion would be easier to control on an on-going basis !

We have team members on 3 different continents at the moment, and we work globally. Therefore it is essential that everyone can find what they need and keep track of a project when the UK office may have closed for the day. It is also important that team members work on the principal that, for example, a project needs formal internal and client kick-off meetings before they can start work.

When you are not leading the ISO 9001 campaign, what do you like doing ?

As I said, everyone in the team is as much responsible for ISO as I am, and works with the procedures we have in place to ensure that projects are successful for all. It is a 24/7/365 process, so no one of us actually leads it.

However, when I manage to get away from my desk, I am an artist – passionate about contemporary art. I love to be in my art room creating. It is as much part of me as chairing a monthly team meeting and more so – art has been what I am long before I became involved with eJet, and so it will be long after I retire I hope!

Having just enjoyed a week’s staycation with John exploring some of the many beautiful places there are to walk in the lovely county of Devon where we live, I have regained my enthusiasm for long windy walks!

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