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TLJ and ISO 9001 - confirming our credibility

TLJ and ISO 9001 - confirming our credibility

Buzzwords like ‘quality management’, ‘continual improvement’ and ‘standards of excellence’ are thrown about like confetti at a wedding these days. Luckily, for SMEs like TLJ, there are well established frameworks that promote and allow for improved ways of working.

At the forefront is ISO 9001:2015, an internationally recognised set of rules which companies implement with the aim of enhancing product and service quality within their organisation. The output of this process is a Quality Management System (QMS) to which the company adheres.

TLJ achieved this accreditation again in January 2018. We use the standard to demonstrate that we provide products and services (electronic locks and access control systems) which consistently meet customer needs and regulatory requirements. We think it’s important to view ISO 9001 as a way of working, rather than a pass or fail tick-box exercise. It’s not like taking an exam or sitting your driving test, rather a cultural shift in the way a company operates. And we have found that the positive effects brought about by these changes are both internal (e.g. more efficient working practices, greater accountability) and external (e.g. improved consumer satisfaction ratings).

The new QMS is now fully embedded in our business, a methodology that is already reaping benefits.

The new ISO 9001 accreditation

TLJ were long-term holders of ISO 9001:2008 accreditation. The latest version, released in 2015, features several enhancements:

  • Greater emphasis on corporate leadership and engagement
  • Greater appreciation and management of organisational risks
  • More effective set up and management of supply chain

It’s worth noting that ISO 9001:2008 will cease to be recognised from September 2018.

So what’s in it for TLJ?

Having worked under ISO 9001 previously, and migrating to the 2015 standards, at TLJ we firmly believe that the QMS has helped us:

  • Become more customer-centric. By setting out clear objectives for every business process, the QMS helps us to align these processes with customer need. Increased accountability allows us to measure this.
  • Improve working efficiencies. By breaking down processes into easy-to-manages steps, the QMS has enabled us to identify duplications and inefficiencies within all areas of the business.
  • Grow our business by appealing to a wider range of clients. ISO 9001 carries weight, and adds credibility by demonstrating we have attained measurable, verifiable operating standards. In addition, there are mainly potential clients across several sectors who now require suppliers to be ISO 9001 accredited before they can work with them.
  • Identify and put in place measures to address risks that impact us operationally, financially and reputationally. For example, we now have a response SLA in place for our customer support team.

What We Did

Months of preparation went into the submission for the latest ISO 9001 accreditation. A 28-page Quality Manual was completely re-written. Ten areas of work within the business were analysed, each process within those areas documented and revised where necessary. All ten areas were then audited against the QMS and the findings presented at a board-level quality management review meeting. The output of this meeting ultimately became our QMS.

TLJ were audited by Independent European Certification Ltd on 19th January 2018. We’re delighted to announce that ISO 9001:2015 was issued with a clean bill of health, no actions to be taken.

The Future

ISO 9001:2015 certification remains in place for 3 years. We will be assessed annually to ensure we’re maintaining the high standards we’ve set ourselves.

In addition, and prior to 2019’s annual visit, we will be preparing for a further accreditation, namely ISO 14001:2015. This certification pertains to managing environmental issues and aspects associated with the company to enable us to reduce our environmental footprint on society. We’ve already made progress here, having produced our most recent Quality Manual with this standard in mind.

Heading up the entire project was TLJ’s Health & Safety / Quality Manager Claire Gray. She commented:

I wouldn’t deny the process of attaining our ISO 9001 accreditation was a hard one. Lots of additional work for several weeks, over and above the day job. But it has been so worth it: the extra credibility ISO 9001 gives us was worth all the effort. Plus we have a solid base on which build future accreditation work, including ISO 14001 in 2019.

“I’d like to thank the guys at MfQ in Chorley for the Auditor’s training courses I attended, the insight they gave me was invaluable. But it’s important to understand that ISO 9001 is not just down to one person. It’s a paradigm shift in our organisation’s culture, involving input and commitment at all levels. From the board directors downwards, everyone was involved in achieving this success and responsible for ensuring its implementation on a day to day basis.

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