Hat trick of standards boosts business

BY Rebecca Randles ON 23rd June 2015.

A long-standing industrial and marine instrumentation company which boasts three ISO standards says the certifications have helped the business hook bigger clients.

Inmar Automation, based in Southampton, is a family-owned business of some forty years standing, which inspects, repairs, tests and certifies industrial and marine instrumentation. Among its clients are BP, Carnival Cruises and Red Funnel Ferries.

Until a few years ago, its longevity alone was sufficient evidence of its credentials, but increasingly the company was being asked whether it had any ISO standards, when pitching for new business.

John Waters, Inmar’s instrument technician, said the firm first achieved ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems in 2009. He said: “We had been going for forty years, and we wouldn’t have achieved that without knowing a thing or two about what we were doing. But we noticed that we were increasingly being asked about ISO, so we decided to go ahead.

“IMSM happened to approach us at the right time, and we have been delighted with the service they have provided.”

John said the ISO 9001 process helped the company sharpen up its practices. “We were already doing what we needed to but there were areas where the ISO helped us to improve. For example, if an instrument came in for inspection and we found it needed a repair we went ahead and did so, but omitted to tell the customer until the part was ready. Small changes like that have helped us to improve our operations.”

In 2010, Inmar then asked IMSM to help it to achieve two further standards. It attained BS OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety, then went on to gain ISO 14001 Environmental Management System.

John said: “We were a little daunted at first with the health and safety standard, as so much is said about health and safety but, when it came to it, everything went smoothly and the worse we had to do was sign up to the HSE’s monthly news bulletin! We take the issue very seriously, and we were pleased to find we were doing all the right things. Following ISO, we now have a process in place to make sure, for example, that all our training is up-to-date.”

ISO 14001 made Inmar look more closely at its environmental responsibilities. “We changed our vehicle – we needed to anyway – to a much newer, greener model. We also looked at the way we dispose of waste. If we are working on site, we now look at whether or not we need to take waste away – often we can dispose of it there, if the facilities are available – and we look at ways we can recycle materials.”

Inmar has found all three ISO standards have helped it to gain contracts; the ISO is short-hand for quality. John said: “Sometimes business will need more information about certain areas of what we do, but often simply sending across a pdf of our ISO certificate has been sufficient. I’ve had calls from potential customers who have asked about ISO, and when we say we’ve got them we’ve won the business.”

John added that IMSM’s service was a huge help during the process. “Our auditor has been brilliant. She looked really carefully about what parts of each ISO applied to us, and which bits were irrelevant, so it was tailored to our business and not the other way around.”