Remote Auditing

As a result of the requirement to avoid social contact during the Covid19 pandemic I am now providing a remote auditing service for my clients. First I agree an audit schedule with the client. Then for each audit I produce an audit checklist including requests for documentary evidence which is forwarded to me using WhatsApp.Based on the documents provided I can then follow up with a series of questions and based on the answers I provide the client with an audit report for each of the audits.

For the management review meeting I will issue an agenda for the client and then based on the answers I receive and the outcome of the audits I produce a draft set of minutes for the client to add to or modify before agreeing the final set of minutes..

Why do SME companies go for ISO9001 Certification alone rather than going for ISO14001 as well?

I believe their customers are the driving force for this. when small business start to look for bigger customers these customers need to be convinced that thie new supplier has properly controlled management systems in place before they consider purchasing from them.

Certification to the ISO9001 Standard with an approved assessment company gives the company assurance that the potential supplier has the correct management processes in place. More and more organisations are requiring suppliers to complete pre qualification questionnaires (PQQ). These usually require the potential supplier to either answer a whole raft of questions on Quality and Process Management or if they are certified to ISO9001 provide a copy of the certificate.

In the case of the environment there is not the same emphasis on ISO Certification. In most cases a copy of the company’s environmental Policy Statement is sufficient.

Other reasons why companies don’t consider ISO14001 certification include either the company business is such that it has very little effect on the environment or there are so many areas where the company has a significant impact on the environment that it doesn’t want to invest in reducing these impacts if it goes for ISO14001 certification.

When the 2015 versions of ISO9001 and 14001 were published they were based on identical frameworks which made it very much easier to have an integrated management system for the 2 Standards. Subsequently ISO45001, the Health & Safety Standard was published based on exactly the same framework as 9001 and 14001 which now enables companies to have integrated management ssystems covering all 3 Standards.

The benefits of using process flow diagrams

When ISO9001 2015 was published there was a change in emphasis from the requirement for documented procedures to one for companies to have processes in placewhich didn’t have to be documented .A useful method of demonstrating these processes is to produce process flow diagrams for each of the processes covered by the Standard.

Not only are these diagrams useful for companies to do their own internal audt checks but they are also useful for external audits. They are also useful as training aids for personnel who become involved in new processes. An additional benefit is that they can be used in conjunction with process photographs or videos to emphasise important process parameters.

the benefits of ISO9001 2015 Certification

Why do clients request help in achieving ISO9001 2015 Certification? There may be several reasons but these are the ones I have found to be the most frequent reasons. In some cases there will be more than 1 reason for going for certification.

1; The business has grown to a level where there is a need to target larger companies for sales.

2;;The company has to complete tender documents as part of the process of gaining approved supplier status with either an existing customer or a new customer. It should be noted that a certificate from a UKAS registered assessment company will be favourably considered by the organisation which put the tender documents out.

3; For relatively new start up businesses it demonstrates that the company has in place the management processes needed to run the business and employs staff who are competent and have the knowledge to proactively support the business.

4;The company wants the certificate to display in their marketing literature and on their website to demonstrate to potential customers that they stand out from the competition.

In all these cases the ongoing cost benefits resulting from achieving ISO9001 Certification are considerably higher than the total costs of achieving certification. Typically, for a 5-20 employee business, the initial costs including consultancy and certification charges will be £3-4K and annual costs in the following years of £2-3K. For those companies that see the initial costs as difficult to finance I can phase the process in to suit their rquirements.

ISO14001 2015; environmental aspect assessment

as part of the requirements for ISO14001 businesses have to assess the impact of the business on the environment.Tthis involves looking at various aspects. These include a) possible emissions to air and discharges into water or to ground. b) any waste material generated and disposal of. c) Energy usage. d) transport of personnel and goods. e) legislative compliance. f) readiness to deal with environmental emergencies and g) procedures for monitoring their effect on the environment.

the business is required to identify the areas where it has significant effect/ influence on the environment and then has to set measurable, meaningful improvement targets for those areas and has to demonstrate its ability to monitor performance against those targets.

Control of Pollution Act

This Act focusses on making sure that the disposal of controlled waste is only done by companies that are registered for transport of controlled waste and have been granted an upper tier waste carriers license. Any company with an upper tier license will only be allowed to dispose of the waste at a specified site or sites.

Yesterday’s ISO9001 External Audit at a client in Redditch

My client in Redditch had an ISO9001 2015 recertification audit yesterday which went well. Apart from 2 very minor issues which can very easily be corrected there were no problems. The auditor has reccomended the company for recertification. Product range includes flexible steel tubing ranging from 1/4″ up to 20″ internal diameter and standard lengths up to 20 metres..Product can either be galvanised steel or stainless steel.

customer annual ISO9001 surveillance audit

Next Monday I shall be supporting one of my clients helping them with their annual ISO9001 2015 external audit. The company, based in Redditch, is a manufacturing company with a wide range of customers including an FT250 company.. They process steel strip to produce flexible steel tubing of various lengths and diameters.. The company is a 3rd generation family business which I have supported for the last 4 years carrying out their internal audits and co-ordinating the annual Management reviewfor the senior management.

Environmental PermittingRegulations

Before a business can discharge any Trade Effluent into natural water sources such as streams, rivers and ponds/lakes ,the business has to apply for a permit from the Environment Agency. The business has to specify the type and toxicity of waste liquids and solids and must reduce the concentrations of the pollutants to a level which has been specified as safe. The business is required to allow access to all discharge points for independant testing of the discharge to confirm compliance with permit.

If a business exceeds the permitted levels the Environment Agency can rescind the permit and in serious breaches the Environment Agency can take legal action against the Business.

Waste Regulations

These Regulations require companies to apply waste hierarchy where feasible. This hierarchy involves 1) prevention; 2) preparing for reuse on site; 3) recycling; 4) recovery such as waste heat from other processes and as a last option 5) disposal.

Documented records of waste disposal must include both SIC and EWC codes and have to be signed both by a representative of the company and the disposal company. Also the records must detail the company’s address and the disposal company address plus a description of the waste and the type and capacity of the container. The company is required to retain these records for 2 years minimum.