2011, ISO Certification and what’s next
My theory is that while our whole industry is spending less on marketing and training, if we double our efforts, we will probably stand out even more than ever.
It is impossible to assess how things would have been if we had not done what we have done over the last few years. What is abundantly clear though is that we have remained consistently busy despite it being widely felt that 2011 has been the toughest year for decades.
I am convinced that there is still plenty of work out there and this opinion is born out by the almost continual stream of contract notices that are showing up on tender notification websites and on Linkedin and Twitter via Elcoat Ltd.
What is also very clear is that client expectations are far higher than pre recession; they can be choosy with all of the service providers competing for work so it is crucial to make sure that you are on top of the pile and able to respond to opportunities properly once they arise.
As well as doing a great job with what we actually do (tree and landscape contracting) we are also good at demonstrating that we have a sophisticated approach to health and safety, environmental management, employment, equality and diversity. I know that these topics will stimulate a groan from readers but this is where it is at nowadays. The quality of work is an assumption in the commercial market; it is these other things that result in the sale.
As a starter, I decided to look into CHAS and Arboricultural Association Approved Contractor, with an eye on the suite of ISO for the future.
We worked closely with our advisors from Elcoat Ltd. From the initial health check to becoming Arb Approved with full CHAS Accreditation took about 6 days over about 5 months.
The company is now also certified to ISO9001, ISO14001 and OHSAS18001. These are the international standards that demonstrate that the organisation is on the ball when it comes to administrative efficiency, customer service, health and safety management and environmental management.
We also hold certification for the National Highways Sector Scheme 18 (NHSS18) which is the standard that pre-qualifies a company for highways vegetation management.
When an organisation holds quality, health, safety and environmental certification it is deemed to be running an ‘integrated management system’. This means that all of the important things are considered as an intrinsic part of the operational planning process.
So far, the pay back has far outweighed the outlay and that is without factoring in the benefits from added efficiency and less minor incidents to deal with.
We are now looking on the horizon for new and interesting tree surgery, fencing and grounds maintenance contracts.
If you have an upcoming tender or would like more information on any of the above, we would be happy to hear from you.
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