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ISO 9001 at Pace Engineering – A Case Study
Pace Engineering Ltd is an engineering services specialist in New Plymouth, New Zealand. After using 9001Simplified's Do-It-Yourself implementation kit and training to upgrade their existing Q-Base quality management system, the company achieved ISO certification in October 2020.
Pace Engineering is a multi-discipline mechanical engineering firm, offering services to local, national, and international clients. A licensed distributor for Kaeser Compressors and JCB Power Products, Pace Engineering has grown rapidly since it was established in 1992 and now occupies large, impressive workshops under the gaze of Mount Taranaki in New Zealand's South Island. The company's team has more than 150 years of collective experience in specialist machining, maintenance diagnostics, and project management. Services include:
Heavy and large-capacity machining and fabrication
On-site machining services
Repairs and maintenance
Some of the company's recent large-scale projects include the installation of more than 16 km of safety rail barriers on Whirokino Bridge, and repairing, strengthening and restoring the former All Seasons Hotel in Christchurch, one of the largest seismic upgrade projects ever undertaken in this part of New Zealand.
From start to finish, Pace Engineering took nine months to implement ISO 9001
Though very much a team effort, the bulk of the implementation was managed by just two people
Only two nonconformities were found during the ISO 9001 certification audit
The Road to ISO 9001
Pace Engineering's initial foray into quality management systems was in 2012 when the company implemented the Q-Base Code, an entry-level QMS developed by New Zealand registrar, Telarc. Introduced in the early 1990s, Q-Base was closely aligned with ISO 9001:1994 and shared many of its defining principles. But by 2019 it was evident that Q-Base had reached its expiration date and was no longer viable. Telarc announced that it would be archiving the system and encouraged its members to transition to ISO 9001.
It wasn't the retirement of Q-Base alone that motivated Pace Engineering to seek ISO 9001 certification. The company wanted to improve operational processes in production and administration that weren't functioning as well as desired. A secondary driver was the marketing and confidence-building potential of ISO. While Pace's customers don't insist on ISO certification, management considered it an important and visible boost to their commitment to quality.
We knew we could do it by ourselves with the right tools. Nobody knows our business like we do.
Even before Pace Engineering approached 9001Simplified, the decision was made to implement ISO 9001 in-house, without the assistance of a consultant. They had the internal resources to do this and an intimate understanding of their company. What they needed was an easy-to-use DIY solution that would enable them to upgrade their Q-Base system without compromising its core efficiencies or introducing unnecessary bureaucracy. They also wanted a product that was tried and tested, and that they could trust. Pace chose the ISO 9001 Certification Package and had the documentation pre-configured to process structure.
The Implementation Phase
In January 2020, Pace kicked off their implementation by introducing employees to the ISO standard with the ISO 9001:2015 Basics video training program. The project was spearheaded by Pace's Senior Project Manager, Warren Osborne, and a senior member of staff. These two undertook the bulk of the work, but the entire management team pitched in as and when needed, so effectively it was a collaborative effort.
We were surprised at how easy it was to implement the 9001Simplified system and gain the certification we were after. It took us less than 9 months to achieve certification and was manageable with two of us engaged in the implementation.
Senior Project Manager
Despite the outbreak of Covid-19 and the restrictions that ensued, the company's implementation progressed briskly and without encountering obstacles. Warren Osborne sees several factors as contributing to this success.
Of primary importance was the user-friendliness of the Do-It-Yourself materials. Warren credits the flexibility of the ISO 9001 Certification Package, combined with the quality of templates and customization instructions, for his success in developing ISO 9001 processes that built upon the existing Q-Base system rather than simply replacing it. Also, the completeness of the package and the detailed user guide played important roles.
Another factor for success was the broad support extended by executives and staff. "Management were 100% behind the transition from Q-Base and it's what helped drive the project on a daily basis", explains Warren. "But our most important asset (our people) engaged and collectively determined the shape of our future with ISO."
Pace Engineering didn't require additional training after having introduced its employees to the standard with the help of the ISO 9001:2015 Basics video course. And even though 9001Simplified had assigned a senior professional, Naomi Sato, as a dedicated consultant, her expertise was only needed when Pace set up their internal audit program.
The Certification Package was user friendly and easy to interface with our previous program. There was very good information in the package, including the user guide.
Senior Project Manager
The Certification Audit
When their internal audit program showed satisfactory adoption of ISO, Pace contracted Telarc as their registrar and scheduled the certification audit for October 2020. During the two-day audit, described by Mr. Osborne as "very smooth and seamless", only two nonconformities were identified, along with seven opportunities for improvement. In addition, Telarc's auditor commented on the "quite comprehensive" ISO system that was "well adopted to suit the needs" of Pace.
Once the nonconformities were fixed, Pace Engineering was awarded its ISO 9001 certificate. From start to finish, the company took less than nine months to get certified.
Although their operations were running well and their customers were satisfied, Pace's motivation to install an ISO 9001 quality management system was their quest for process improvements. Was it worth it? Steve Day, Managing Director of Pace Engineering, is convinced: "We always look for ways to do things better. ISO turned out to be the ideal facilitator."
Four months have passed since the adoption of ISO 9001 and the team at Pace is satisfied with progress. The company has already achieved its short-term objectives, including improvement of operational processes in production and administration that Pace had been struggling with. Over time, though, the company expects to gain much more as "they're in it for the long game (and gains)".
Staff attitudes have also been changing since ISO has put the company on a path towards "a smarter, sharper and more secure organization". It's an important aspect because management believes their ISO system is a living entity that will "account for the wellbeing of our whole community, staff, management, and the families."
Would you, too, like to benefit from a simplified ISO 9001 system? See what's possible in our article on the top ten reasons for ISO 9001.
Pace Engineering Ltd.
85-95 Katere Road
Fitzroy, New Plymouth
4341 New Zealand
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