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John H. Lightfoot MBE - 17.03.2021

BS5750 – ISO9001:2015 – QUALITY ASSURANCE; THE JOURNEY – THE PROBLEMS – THE REWARDS

As I have been pushed for time today I decided to do a blog relating to the reason why.

Solar Solve Ltd., like most well run, very successful organisations is ISO9001:2015 Quality Assurance Accredited.  Today we have been externally assessed to ensure that we continue to comply with the relevant requirements, an audit that we must undertake every year.  This year the assessment was more involved because it was for re-certification of the accreditation for another 3 years.

I have not been personally involved with Solar Solve’s Quality Assurance or Type Approval external audits for about a decade, although they are regularly referred to and discussed at various monthly meetings, of which there are three.

Because the audit meeting was carried out via ZOOM video links, with one station set up in my office/The Board room, I was able to sit in on it and take part occasionally, which was really interesting.

My introduction to Quality Assurance began in 1990 (yes, I am that old), when I was invited to a seminar given by a young guy from Sunderland Polytechnical College, about BS5750 Quality Standard as it was known in those days.  I had never heard of it and I do not think any of the other 5 or 6 delegates had either.  It was not an immensely popular talk.  Nevertheless, the presenter was extremely passionate about Quality Assurance and after his 1½ hour promotion of it, I was too.

He told us all about its purpose, its advantages and claimed that in the future, big organisations and many others, especially government organisations, would only do business with suppliers who were BS5750 certified.  

At that time, I had such companies in my sights as customer targets for the SOLASOLV products we were beginning to export.  I wanted to approach, shipowners, shipbuilders, the Royal Navy and it was obvious to me that being Quality Assured was something I had to achieve.

Another important reason for wanting the QA Accreditation was the discipline that it would bring to Solar Solve Ltd., its directors, employees and the suppliers associated with it.

Our customers have always been our taskmasters, paymasters and the reason we are in business.  However, they are only interested in what we do for them.  I wanted someone to whom we could prove that we do everything we say we do and in a manner that is approved and acceptable as a quality assured method of doing it.  The correct way of doing it.

With regard to the rewards, we have won many contracts from customers who only deal with what is now known as ISO9001:2015, Quality Assured suppliers.  However, for me, as founder and Company Chairman of Solar Solve Ltd., the biggest advantage by far is the discipline associated with being awarded the Certification and with working hard to keep it.  I don’t have to ask anyone to apply themselves, the whole team at Solar Solve is motivated by and proud of, our ISO Quality award and benefit from it immensely, as do all of Solar Solve’s stakeholders.

I’m sure I will always appreciate going to that seminar over 30 years ago and seeing the light.

John H Lightfoot MBE

Solar Solve Marine
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