ISO was plain sailing for marine engineering consultants

BY Rebecca Randles ON 23rd June 2015.

Working with the world’s top offshore contracting companies meant demonstration of quality through ISO certification was a must for marine engineering company MAATS Tech. And the flexibility of the ISO meant the company was able to adapt it to fit its different sites.

MAATS Tech, which is based in Winchester and also has offices in Gloucester and Sunderland, is a naval architecture and marine engineering consultancy serving oil and gas offshore contractors. Established in 1989, it employs more than 35 people and counts among its clients world-leading offshore companies such as Technip, Subsea 7 and Aker. The company has also developed close relationships with a number of world renowned shipyards including IHC in The Netherlands; Bergen, Vard and Kleven in Norway; and also HHI and DSME in South Korea.

Harry Gardner, Principal Marine Systems Engineer with MAATS Tech, explained that ISO was essential for developing the business and winning those bigger clients. He said: “To be able to get in with these major players in the oil industry, we had to show we had quality systems. With the ISO, we can say ‘look, we’ve got that mark of quality’.”

Some seven years ago, MAATS Tech went through the process to gain ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems certification, and has maintained its ISO ever since. Harry explained: “We already had systems and processes in place, so ISO didn’t lead to any dramatic changes in the way we were working although we were able to make refinements. However, it did make us document everything, so over a period of about three or four months we produced two manuals, one for quality and one for procedures.

“In the past I have worked in a shipyard with a major client being the Ministry of Defence with its fleet of auxiliary vessels. The shipyard had to be able to demonstrate a high standard and in those days this standard was BS5750, which was later replaced by ISO 9001. The BS standard wasn’t very inflexible, so when we started down the ISO route at MAATS Tech I was pleased to find how adaptable it was.

“We have different functions at our Gloucester and Sunderland offices, and were able to have different manuals for each office to suit those functions – for example, for the Sunderland office we were able to exclude purchasing, as we don’t do that there. “

Harry said IMSM’s service was particularly helpful “IMSM were very helpful in being able to guide us through the ISO process in both our Gloucester and Sunderland offices. They were prepared and able to adapt the standard to fit our system, rather than the other way around.