Based near Milan, this producer of packaging machines for food products is proud to hold triple 9001-14001-18001 certification. And preparation is underway for migration to the 2015 version of these quality, safety and environmental standards. QHSE Manager Fabio Chiesa tells us more.
You asked AFNOR Italia and GUTcert to audit your management systems. What scope do your certifications cover, and based on which normative standards?
AFNOR Italia, which we chose for its expertise in the food & beverage sector, helped us take the first step in standardized management systems with ISO 9001. And now, our AFAQ ISO 9001:2008, AFAQ ISO 14001:2014 and OHSAS 18001:2007 certifications cover all the entities within SMI Group: SMIpack, SMImec, SMItec, SMIlab, Sarco.Re. And soon another will join the ranks: Enoberg, specializing in filling machines. We are confidently preparing for our migration to the 2015 version of these standards, in particular for ISO 9001 (quality). ISO 14001 (environment) and OHSAS 18001 (safety) require more in-depth reflection as regards risk assessment. We are in the process of assembling the documentation on this subject.
What do you see as the benefits of holding this triple certification?
There are several. Firstly, it provides a guarantee of reliability, reassurance for our interested parties. ISO 14001, for example, is evidence of our commitment to respect for the environment in which we operate. Secondly, it makes our credentials clear to contracting authorities who increasingly use the fact of not holding certification as a criterion for elimination in their invitations to tender. Holding certification is essential in order to gain entry to the market, especially in our sector which is highly internationalized: SMI achieves 98% of its revenue from exports. Since they are based on international standards, our ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certifications cross national boundaries. We speak the same language! Lastly, it is a means of setting us apart from the competition.
How were the procedures perceived in-house?
In the beginning, our teams may have felt it was rather heavy going, but now the QSE culture is firmly established. The employees understood that it created added value. And that it was unifying, in a group comprising a number of companies that were added over time and which provide goods and services to each other. Lastly, in a country like Italy, where production facilities are largely in the hands of family-run companies, the certification practice enables knowledge sharing: the QSE culture is not just for the boss, it permeates the whole organizational structure. Training is a particular case in point. In fact, several of my colleagues have taken an examination to become internal auditors on the three standards.
What advice would you give to a manufacturer who is wary of taking the certification plunge?
That it’s in his best interest to get on with it. The modern world requires us to work with processes; we cannot do without formalized management systems. This is all the more true for low-cost production industries. Correctly interpreting standards is not really that arduous. Quality based on ISO 9001, in particular, is within the reach of everyone!
Interview with Fabio Chiesa, QHSE Manager
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