Last week, WH Kemp welcomed to its premises an auditor from Lloyds Register (Quality Assurance) for the company’s 3-year ISO 9001 (2015) re-certification. This was a noteworthy event for our ISO auditor, as it was the first audit to be undertaken in person in 16 months. He was delighted to be at a client’s premises once again. As is usual with a two full day re-certification audit, the auditor spent time with our people throughout the business. He felt that, at last, he was able to do his job face to face again!
For many people, working from home has become the new normal. For WH Kemp, whilst we have restricted visitors to our site, we have not missed a day’s Cable Harness production during this pandemic and our people have continued to work as normal; albeit subject to working in line within our ‘stay safe’ procedures. As our work involves the production of Cable Harnesses and Control Panels for many life supporting machine manufacturers, our order book has remained relatively full over the past 18 months. Manufacturing Cable Harnesses involves ongoing access to machinery and tools, technical procedures and quality systems. Such work cannot be completed outside our factory. Therefore, ensuring our team stays safe has been a critical objective and remains so, even with the latest change in government guidelines.
The ISO auditor commended us on our ‘stay safe’ procedures. He was impressed by how all our people had worked together to set and maintain the safety requirements and how our safety procedures have been continually updated in line with government guidelines and then communicated effectively to all. Not simply a policy written in March 2020 and then forgotten, as he had witnessed in other establishments.
WH Kemp’s ISO 9001 (2015) certification is taken very seriously and our business processes are well documented and regularly updated in line with our continuous improvement programme. This point is recognised in the auditor’s report, where the auditor writes “it is clear that there is top level commitment to use the ISO management system to improve customer service and business processes”
The auditor compliments the company on its proactive continual improvement programme. His report commends the way the daily stand-up meetings have developed, now with all the factory floor teams involved. Plans for the day are discussed in addition to any productivity issues and ideas for improvements. He was especially pleased to see many of our technicians taking the initiative and identify areas for improvement. The auditor also commented on our ways of communicating, with our notice boards clearly showing up to date information on company plans, KPIs and performance targets in addition to details on the 100+ improvements that have been documented and put into place this year. Further positives were noted on staff training, leadership and machine and tool maintenance.
What was the result of our assessment? Well, as you would expect given the highly positive tone of his report, we have been re-certified for another 3 years. Still, after two days of auditing, a minor non-conformance was noted. The deadline we set for supplier re-approval dates was missed in a few cases. Described as a negligible point, the non-conformance was due, in large part, to our supplier re-approval process standard being set very high. Nevertheless, it is a point that we have taken on board and corrected immediately.
We continue to aim for zero non-conformances and use the ISO system to underpin our ways of working that ensure our customers consistently receive the best quality Cable Harness and Control Box products, delivered on time and built by a well-trained and well-motivated team of people.
And, as a final note, it was good to welcome a visitor to our premises again. Indeed, we now look forward to welcoming back customers albeit we are retaining our ‘stay safe’ procedures. Keeping our people safe at work will always be our top priority.