Wiese Europe is an independent family business that specialises in developing and building custom made loading and transfer systems. These are loading arms used in the chemical and food industries for loading and unloading liquid products into ships and tanker trucks. A couple of years ago, Wiese Europe obtained ISO 9001:2015 certification for their Quality Management System (QMS). But that system must, of course, also be maintained, monitored and improved in order to keep the certification.
Wiese Europe found this a less than straightforward matter, as its internal team did not have the required QMS expertise, nor did they have the manpower to deal with it in depth. So General Manager Ellen Jacobs went in search of an external expert. The company found Pauwels Consulting on Google. Soon Luc Marivoet, one of our QHSE (Quality, Health, Safety and Environment) experts, was working with Wiese Europe.
Ellen Jacobs: “Of course, we considered some alternatives, but Pauwels Consulting stood out. It was clear that they had the right know-how and expertise covering ISO and QMS, as their excellent references also show. And we clicked right from the start with both Luc and account manager Koen De Borle. Their combination of insight, knowledge and the personal touch soon convinced us to choose Pauwels Consulting.”
Koen De Borle: “When a company approaches us with a specific need, they logically expect our knowledge in that domain (in this case, ISO and QMS) to be up to date and to stay that way. Wiese Europe came on board with us because their organisation wanted to keep up with the latest developments without having to invest in burdening its own people with doing the job. This is something we can deal with via our team of QHSE experts. In a team of senior consultants and junior positions, knowledge is constantly shared and tested against current legislation and trends in the sector.”
A real QHSE assignment
Luc was eventually assigned a wide range of tasks. For instance, he not only helped Wiese Europe prepare for the surveillance audit for its ISO 9001 certification, but also gave advice on the implementation of version 2017/6.0 of the VCA** checklist and the practical implementation of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC (health and safety requirements for machinery). He also supports the company’s welding engineer with the fusion welding standard ISO 3834-2 and standard EN 1090-1 on the execution of steel structures. Quite a challenge! Fortunately Luc has plenty of experience in QHSE Management, so he knows the best ways to approach this kind of job.
Luc Marivoet: “For a QMS or QHSE project you need an analytical and structural approach, balancing pragmatism, ambition and customer sense. So you shouldn’t just charge in like a bull in a china shop, but rather follow a step-by-step plan: observe, analyse and improve. It is important to build your suggestions for improvements on solid foundations, because you are trying to change something in an existing structure. That can be sensitive. So you need good reasons to convince a company or organisation. Only then can you put your own accents on it. At the same time, it’s still important to take other people’s expertise into account, because you can often come up with a better solution as a team. You are never too old to learn.“
How has the assignment gone?
To ensure a smooth handover, Luc first sat down with his predecessor. That meeting showed that a well-structured quality management system was in place. However, there were also two important points for attention: the 2020 internal audit programme had not yet been implemented and risk-based thinking had not been incorporated into the processes.
As a surveillance audit was scheduled for late March 2021, Luc immediately went to work on those points. In three months, working together with a motivated internal audit team, he evaluated no less than 21 processes. To give future internal auditors more breathing space, Luc subsequently modified the audit programme to spread the internal audits more evenly over a three-year period (the duration of ISO 9001 certification), so that the internal audit team can carry out the audits in a more focused way.
Because Wiese Europe’s prevention advisor also holds another position in the company, the company asked Luc to help their prevention advisor on compliance with the legal requirements under the Code on welfare at work. This assignment focuses primarily on the purchasing procedure for work equipment, personal protective equipment and collective protective equipment (also known as the three green lights procedure), and Luc is involved in drawing up the various risk analyses, the HSE Project Plan, the Global Prevention Plan (GPP) and the Annual Action Plan (AAP).
This project is a good example of the kind of QMS and QHSE challenges that Pauwels Consulting is happy to take on. So we are pleased with the results of our collaboration with Wiese Europe, not least the fact that Wiese Europe has been awarded VCA** certification in accordance with the new version 2017/6.0.
We are also particularly proud of the training pathway developed and the improvements to the internal audit process:
1. Developing a training pathway
Wiese Europe and Pauwels Consulting have jointly developed a training pathway as part of the Training and Knowledge Management process. This pathway consists of 2 modules: ‘introduction’ and ‘technical’. The ‘introduction’ module is followed by all staff, and deals with general arrangements and information within Wiese Europe. In the technical module, employees can follow specific training courses in their particular field, both in-house and externally. All these training courses have been put into a handy matrix, giving everybody a clear overview of which job profiles require which training.
2. An improved internal audit process
The modified audit programme for the Wiese Europe QMS has also been a success story. Not only are the audits better timed, but thanks to the rearrangement of the audit programme, Wiese Europe can now also demonstrate that they have checked all the requirements of the ISO 9001 standard for the audited processes.
The internal audits now also identify the risks in each process and the extent to which these have been controlled. These improvements provide a more solid basis for internal audits. This was also noticed by the external auditor, who gave it a positive mention in the report for the ISO 9001:2015 surveillance audit. Wiese Europe successfully passed that surveillance audit.
It also covered monitoring of the improvement plan, the management review and the process indicators. Existing processes are now updated on the basis of in-house and audit findings.
A successful collaboration
Both Pauwels Consulting and Wiese Europe are satisfied with their work together so far. This translates into a lasting partnership, and the recent extension of Luc’s assignment.
Luc Marivoet: “In this project, the staff and management of Wiese Europe play an important role in the success of the assignments. An internal team of motivated employees helped steer everything in the right direction. And the clear commitment and leadership from the Wiese Europe management is also a great benefit. Quality, safety and health are clearly integrated into their business processes, and that’s very nice to see.”
Ellen Jacobs is also more than satisfied with working with Pauwels Consulting: “The cooperation is excellent, and the communication and planning are always punctual and correct. And above all, the QMS is being properly monitored, so we can focus on our core business. Given our good relationship and the wide-ranging expertise of Luc and Pauwels Consulting, we can also trust them to handle other matters, such as support for VCA and advice on the AREI and the Machinery Directive. So we are pleased to have found in Pauwels Consulting an expert and reliable partner who we can work with and want to work with in the longer term. We have to give this collaboration a 10/10.”
How can Pauwels Consulting help you?
Can you too use some help with your QMS or QHSE projects? Do you lack the expertise needed to conduct your internal audits thoroughly? Or do you have any other questions or needs concerning QMS and QHSE? Pauwels Consulting will be happy to help you. Contact us on +32 9 324 70 80 or at [email protected]. See you soon!