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20 January 2015

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Case Study: Parker Cars

ISO 9001

Parker Cars Limited is a London based Private Hire Company that operates a fleet of over 300 vehicles servicing both the private and public sectors. They were first certified to the Quality Management Standard ISO 9001 with the British Assessment Bureau (BAB) in 2006, demonstrating their enthusiasm for continual improvement and dedication to client requirements.

Why ISO certification?

Dave Weston, General Manager at Parker Cars, has been responsible for implementing and maintaining ISO 9001 within the organisation since the beginning, acting as their internal auditor. Dave was keen for the company to gain independent endorsement via a recognised standard, and he himself already gained personal certification in both National and International Passenger Transport,

Like many organisations, Parker Cars were motivated to achieve ISO 9001 certification in order to set themselves apart from their competition. Dave’s comments reinforced that aspiration;

“We wanted to attain certification to set ourselves apart from our competitors, also allowing us to tender for contracts in both the Public and Private Sector.”

Why BAB?

BAB has over 40 years experience in the assessment industry. Their reputation was established in 1969 as a specialist in certification scheme management. In 1997, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry approved the use of the word ‘British’ in their corporate title in recognition of their pre-eminent status. BAB is committed to the highest levels of customer service, and this is reflected in findings from their 2011 Client Satisfaction Survey, where 99% of respondents said they would recommend BAB to others. Dave tells us how BAB were chosen as Parker Cars’ preferred Certification Body;

“BAB fitted the bill! We were uncertain as to which company to approach, but BAB was recommended by a previous employee who had been instrumental in setting up ISO with another company using them. I then contacted BAB and was impressed with their response and willingness to be of help from the outset.”

The certification process

Once an organisation decides to proceed with their certification, they are assigned a Lead Assessor who remains the principal contact throughout the registration process and beyond. Prior to a formal Audit, the Lead Assessor visits to explain the standard and undertakes a conformity assessment of the organisation’s current arrangements. The organisation then receives a detailed report including all required actions and together with their Lead Assessor, determines an appropriate timetable for the Audit Assessment. Dave told us how he found the implementation process;

“The implementation was a dream! I really did not know what to expect; what the difficulties would be, if we’d be competent enough, or if we’d be successful. We had a fair structure for all the qualifying modules but they were raw, unrefined and self written. Our recording process was poor and unmanaged, although issues were being dealt with, the recording and responses to issues were not. New auditable forms were written and a management structure put in place so as to ensure recordable action.”

Once an organisation is ready for a formal Audit Assessment, a Lead Assessor will make the required arrangements for the Audit to take place. Dave commented;

“Our assessor (Nick Morice-Jones) has been influential in our success, Nick has been able to drill into our business and reveal what was required to maintain our certification. Unlike others, Nick was able to see we were more than a stereotypical mini-cab business, recognising what we were aiming to achieve. This has been instrumental in pulling the business together; it has enabled us to analyse our business as a whole rather than in segments; it has made us realise that certain issues affect other departments and that we are now in a better position to see this and act.”

Nick, who has been a long-standing Lead Assessor at BAB, has been Parker Cars’ principal contact for the last few years. Dave added how he has enjoyed Nick challenging the company to continually improve; an integral part of the ISO 9001 process;

“Nick’s visits are always a pleasure as he is always looking for ways and means to see we have improved our procedures or he will identify an area that has been neglected. All this has proved so beneficial in the company’s overall performance. Nick always concentrates on the positive, so that all my worries are pushed into the background; I still look forward to his visit!”

Nick himself was similarly enthused when it comes to visiting Parker Cars, commenting;

“I recall first visiting Parker Cars in a small office a few years ago. Over the last two or three years, I have seen them expand and continue to develop and improve. It’s fantastic to see them growing and improving even further.”

Benefits of implementation

Successful organisations recognise that their quality and its assurance are most credible when validated by a respected third party. The benefits include a more motivated workforce, less costly re-work and increased client satisfaction. Being certified can also help you to gain external finance, qualify for tenders and set you apart from your competitors. In fact, 40% of BAB’s clients see an increase in new orders as a direct result of achieving ISO certification; according to findings from their 2011 client satisfaction survey. Dave went on to say;

“The tendering process has become easier, as we fulfil all criteria now. Internal procedures are far easier to manage and maintain and the logo is a great visual selling point. We are in the Premiership now!”

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