The Cylinder Service Centre has an ISO9000 Certification from Det Norske Veritas (DNV), an international certification body with a strong reputation in the off-shore industry. As part of this certification, the business must undergo a regular external audit by DNV personnel and this month was time for the latest one.
When one person regularly carries out the audit there is always the risk of complacency, on both sides, and so it is a good idea to have a new pair of eyes on the job from time to time. Therefore, over the years, we have had several auditors and with each new auditor there is always some concern that he/she may take a different view on the business and start issuing non-conformances where previously there were none.
Non-conformances are a big issue for Cylinder Service Centre. They are not tolerated in our day-to-day activities and, as far as ISO 9000 is concerned, we have never received one: not in the original audit and not in the 12 years we have had the ISO 9000 certification.
A 12 year non-conformance record is one we are proud of and wish to protect. However, frankly, as the number of years without an external non-conformance steadily increases, the stakes just get higher and higher.
So with another new auditor in play, and a 12 year non-conformance record to protect, this audit looked like it was going to be a little bit more interesting than usual.
In the end we need not have worried. Although the new auditor did take a different approach to his predecessor, he was no less professional. He was also unable to find any non-conformances, meaning that, once again, the Cylinder Service Centre has passed the external ISO9000 audit with flying colours.
It will be another two years now before we have to face an external audit, by which time we will have a 14 year record to protect. But, as everyone with experience of ISO 9000 will appreciate, an audit two years in the future will be checking the records we are generating now.
Fortunately, we have a NO non-conformance culture at The Cylinder Service Centre which sets us in good stead with DNV assessors, but more particularly, ensures we continue to deliver consistent high quality hydraulic and pneumatic cylinder products and services to our customers.
And so, for the next two years, we will probably be quietly confident - until the next DNV assessor walks through the door.