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In 2013 Castle Point Motors Ltd, a car service and MOT test centre in Benfleet, Essex, successfully renewed its ISO 9001 Quality Management certification with SGS United Kingdom Ltd.

From small beginnings in 2006, Castle Point now employs 20 staff who service and repair all makes, all models, and all classes of motor vehicle, from a small motorbike to a double-decker bus.

The company has built up an excellent local reputation and was recently voted the largest independent garage in the local area. UK clients include Essex highways, Network Rail, and Southend Borough Council.

The company continues to expand to supply its local custom with facilities for garage and vehicle servicing, a yard covering an acre, and a secure storage facility available on site. As a member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen, all work is carried out to the highest standard in line with the current Motor Industry Codes of Practice.

TARGETS SET AND ACHIEVED

“We started out on the ISO 9001 Quality Management route to put in place the ISO processes and to improve our current business,” says Alan Foster, owner.

“With the ISO system in place we wanted to control the trackability and manageability of every job from beginning to end, and improve our turnover. By using the system we aimed to improve our time management processes of a job and a particular role,” says Alan Foster.

In fact, as a direct result of implementing ISO 9001 the company has steadily increased turnover year on year by 25%.

“The time and motion study side of things helped us no end. We now use the standard to do critical path analysis for all the jobs and we follow it through to get everything done as soon as we can without delays.”

REVIEWING EXISTING SYSTEMS FOR ISO9001

“Before ISO 9001 our systems were completely paper based,” says Alan Foster. “They were literally diary systems and paper budget accounting.”

“But the ISO systems are completely automated, which means that now the job card, index, accounts and archive are all controlled through one centralised system.”

“Every single job is run through our system using this process. Regardless of the job, from taking the booking, from marking the vehicle as arrived, to dealing with the scheduling, even going as far as raising the invoice, the payment request sent and received – at every stage in every job we follow the same process.”

“All our staff are heavily involved in the process too,” says Alan Foster. “And they continue to supply us with regular feedback on how we can simplify things.”

THE BENEFITS OF CERTIFICATION

By moving from paper-based, silo systems to an automated central system the company has greatly improved its efficiency and productivity.

“Fundamentally it’s the time and motion aspect of it that is so important to our business,” says Alan Foster. “We know what is used, where it’s used, and when it’s used.”

“And we know what we need. We apply the ISO system to every stage of a job, from the job coming in to predicting the time it will take. We know the parts we’ll need so they’re here when the vehicle is here. This allows us to work without delays on the vehicle, and minimise our downtime, so the customer’s time and our time is kept to a minimum, maximising our workability, and keeping our turnover going.

“As well as increasing turnover year on year by 25%, we’ve been able to tender for and receive work that requires ISO accreditation,” adds Alan Foster.

In addition, as a direct result of implementing the ISO 9001 standard, the company won the National Garage of the Year award from Unipart at the end of March 2013.

“Based purely on customer feedback through the Motor Industry Codes of Practice, ISO 9001 contributed by giving us the ability to monitor and know where we are and provide a better service with what we have rather than spending more money on what we don’t need.”

HOW SGS SERVICES HELP

“SGS were recommended to us before my time,” says Alan Foster. “But I’ve worked with SGS before and have always been happy with their help.”

“At Castle Point Motors Ltd, SGS provided us with the initial framework and guidelines and how what we had at the time could be amended for what was needed. They’ve helped us to achieve what we wanted. They’ve pointed us in the right direction at all times and they continue to make useful suggestions.”

“Auditing with SGS was painless because we do our month by month, week by month self-checking process now, so we deal with it like that, making sure everything is available, and everything is still current. With ISO 9001 in place, nothing falls through the cracks.”

SGS auditor Mike Swanson adds:

“Castle Point Motors Ltd have grown in stature and confidence within this highly competitive sector to become a well-respected organisation by both corporate and private client bases.

Management within Castle Point Motors Ltd set themselves stretching objectives and subsequent targets, benchmarking themselves against competition and aiming to provide an alternative service that outstrips their rivals in both cost and, more importantly, with the level of service that’s delivered.

Strong commitment to achieving the client’s requirements is given by all staff, whether it’s a vehicle off road, or full fleet servicing, Castle Point Motors strive to beat client expectation and, as seen, in most cases provide a service that delights the client, by providing a solution to simple breakdowns to advising of more efficient methods of keeping fleets on the road in a more cost-effective manner.

Although the certification process demonstrates to clients that SGS is regularly reviewing the organisation’s compliance to the standard requirements, Castle Point Motors Ltd has used the framework provided by ISO 9001 to develop robust process controls and monitoring methods that identify areas for improvement throughout the organisation.

This is a quality management system that has developed first and foremost to help Castle Point Motors Ltd manage its business, and provide a service that continually improves, therefore enhancing customer satisfaction.”