We’re very proud to announce that Highlander has once again passed its ISO 9001 and 14001 recertifications! We hold these ISO standards in extremely high regard, and over the past few years have put a lot of work into ensuring that we’re not only adhering to them as a business, but surpass our auditors’ expectations. Being ISO 9001 and 14001 certified offers substantial benefits, both to our employees and our customers in equal measure; that’s why we’re so rigorous in implementing changes that help us to better meet each standard year-on-year.
An internationally-recognised standard, ISO 9001 focuses predominantly on Quality Management, and like 14001 is adhered to by companies across all industries and of all sizes. During our recent audit, it was up to us to prove the overall quality of our work and our day-to-day operations, something we were able to evidence thanks to our meticulously documented processes. These in turn enable us to ensure everything is handled in the exact same way, so every one of our customers receives a consistent experience across the board, regardless of who they speak to.
Since implementing NetSuite into the business a few years ago, the ERP platform has been a godsend. Not only has it allowed us to vastly simplify and streamline our internal operations, but it’s also had an enormous impact on how we adhere to ISO 9001. Because it contains every single aspect of our business, we’re always compliant to the system and regularly reconfigure this to see that everything we do conforms to ISO guidelines, including our sales process. Using NetSuite, we can’t go wrong!
Where 9001 looks at our business processes from a quality perspective, 14001 addresses our environmental impact, both internally and externally, and the way in which we manage this. Although our environmental footprint is fairly small in comparison with the manufacturers of our industry, we’ve made big efforts to find new ways to improve this however we can. Whether this is through something as simple as encouraging the use of video conferencing over and above travelling to customer and partner sites to introducing more eco-friendly electric or hybrid company vehicles in a bid to cut down on vehicle emissions, we’re dedicated to reducing our footprint even further.
Our current focus above all is our recycling efforts, and how we can go beyond our standard recycling practices to try and minimise the amount of waste going to landfill. Having set ourselves targets on our Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) policy and the recycling we do in-house, we’re now seeking out companies able to recycle more unusual products and a wider amount of office waste. We’ve recently found success with this in our recycling of ink and toner. Where larger companies such as HP are able to offer a recycling service on their own products, there are many organisations out there that don’t, so by choosing to work with a specialist recycling company, we’re making every effort to ensure this isn’t restricted to a single manufacturer.
In order to fully achieve both 9001 and 14001, it’s not just enough to tick the boxes – a hugely important part of each certification is to demonstrate continual improvement. With that in mind, we’re constantly looking at our systems, policies, and procedures to make certain that everything is working in the best way possible for everyone concerned. Part of this also involves showing that our senior management team is as committed as the rest of the business in embracing ISO standards to improve how the company operates, which due to our culture’s flat hierarchy isn’t difficult to accomplish at all.
This recertification is only one of many, with audits occurring every 3 years as well as more regular surveillance audits between times. The recertifications are not simply a “top-up” of our initial certification either, but a stringent test that assesses our whole system as if we were starting completely from scratch. The audit also requires us to set and meet KPIs that must follow the ‘SMART’ acronym – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Repeatable, Timed – to accurately measure our success. These audits typically take 3 man-days, with representation from every single department within the business analysing and checking our processes against both the ISO standards and our own documentation. We’re proud to say that in the 7 years of holding ISO 9001 and 3 years of 14001, we have only ever recorded 3 instances of non-conformances, which we think is quite a record!
As auditors ourselves, we’re very well-placed to help our customers to achieve the same standards, whether that’s ISO 9001, 14001, or 27001. Get in touch with us to learn what we can do to assist you in making your business ISO-compliant.