Greater efficiency, better risk management, more direct involvement of entrepreneurs and employees’ experience and expertise. These are just some of the new features of the 2015 editions of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards, for quality and environmental management systems certifications. Every European company had to adopt this new standard by September 15th, 2018. But what does the new certification scheme mean for a company like Schindler? Leading international group in the production of elevators and escalators?
We interviewed Carlo Giordano, Head of Quality Process SCQ-EU of Schindler Supply Chain Europe.
Schindler transports more than 1 billion people a day worldwide. In internal processes, it adopts certified management systems to ensure the highest safety, quality and environmental standards for our customers and employees. Last August, Schindler Supply Chain Europe AG obtained the UNI ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 Certification. How did this requirement arise?
Schindler Supply Chain Europe is an organization of some 1,200 people, with 4 production plants (2 in Switzerland, 1 in Spain and 1 in Slovakia), 4 consolidation centers, more than 500 third-party suppliers, and a management structure primarily in Ebikon-Lucerne, Switzerland. Until about December 2016, the four factories all had independent Quality Systems working on different platforms. Since August 2018, all Supply Chain Europe (SC EU) entities have been certified according to the 2015 versions of ISO 9001, for quality, and ISO 14001, for environment, with a single matrix certificate. All our business processes have been mapped from a wide range of functions – including Management – on a single platform, using the SCOR Model (Supply Chain Organization Reference Models). This is a reference model for Supply Chain Organizations. The benefits at organizational level are significant, most obviously in the alignment and optimization of processes at the various plants.
Last September the terms for the transition of certifications to the new 2015 editions of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 expired. One of the most important changes, for the quality management systems, is the greater involvement of the entrepreneur whose role is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the reference market, of the competition, and for all stakeholders (context analysis). They are also tasked with identifying with a business risk analysis role. Can you explain how this works in practice?
With the new ISO 9001 more emphasis is given to stakeholders. With over 60,000 staff worldwide, Schindler Group is a very complex organization. Much of the management is based at the company’s Swiss HQ, and for SC EU, there are multiple interfaces to internal and external organizations. In recent months SC EU has done a great job in better identifying all its stakeholders (corporate functions, suppliers, consultants, neighbors etc.) and analyzing the risks and opportunities for both SC EU and its stakeholder in a unified, structured way. The need to reflect on these issues with a more systematic approach has led to better visibility and awareness, not only of the SC EU organization, but also in managing risks and opportunities.
In the 2015 editions of the ISO standards, the knowledge and competence of the staff become key elements for the development of the company. What does this mean for your staff?
This is my favorite part of the new ISO, because the company’s competence and knowledge of the Group are key points for the competitiveness. SC EU has people who have been working with us for over 30 years, plus people who know special processes, suppliers that produce components with dedicated technologies, and so on. In recent months within SC EU we have been working on mapping more accurately the skills and knowledge within our organization, with more emphasis to the skills matrix within the various functions. In parallel, projects within HR to introduce new tools and processes are improving employees’ development reviews of people so that they can plan their future development with dedicated training. Competence, motivation and satisfaction for our people are at the core of our organization.
What was the role of the accredited certification body you used for the transition to the new ISO standard? Did it provide active support in spreading the concept of quality in your company?
The certification body was critical both in the pre-audit and after. At first it helped us to better understand the general situation and to gain a clear overview of the organization, identifying the gaps to be closed before the audit. The immediately understood the effort required and the body supported us by highlighting areas where we could improve and giving recommendations on putting the changes into practice.
There are many companies from a wide range of business areas who could benefit from the certification in managing their internal processes – from quality to occupational safety, IT security and beyond, and having a valid certification also means competing on the Italian and international market, not to mention that, if you want to participate in public tenders, in some cases, it even becomes a mandatory requirement. What advice would you give to companies?
From my point of view certification, especially the ISO 9001, is a must. Company managers should think that it is a fundamental prerequisite for being a Schindler supplier. After all, logically speaking, any organization with good processes in place won’t find it difficult to obtain certification. The information in the certification is essential to running any organization intelligently, effectively and properly. It is a fundamental tool for minimizing threats and maximizing efficiency. My advice is to have a lean organization, with clear and shared processes, and to invest in staff motivation and engagement.