case studies

Ross Mitchell and Associates

The Company

Ross Mitchell and Associates is a very diverse, multifunctional organization employing 50 people. Its services include Asbestos Hazardous waste removal, civil works, building services, demolition and extraction.

The Issues

The driver for seeking ISO 9000 registration was that the key client, a number of clients including a number of councils, specified it as a condition of contract for the provision of services under the Government’s Compulsory Competitive Tendering legislation. Ross Mitchell and Associates needed to have ISO 9000 registration to be able to win and retain contracts with a number of clients.

The Benefits

• As a result of achieving ISO 9000 registration, asbestos removal contracts worth over 5m/year were won and subsequently retained.
• A formalized training review system to identify training requirements of operatives was introduced, resulting in increased flexibility, reduction of operational risk, use of an increased range of equipment and improved levels of task achievement.
• A year after registration, up to 60% of staff thought there were improvements in right first time, service, training, efficiency and paperwork.
• Client defects dropped by 87% from 102 to 13 over 1 year.

As a result of achieving ISO 9000 registration, Ross Mitchell and Associates contracts worth over 5m/year were won and subsequently retained. Today, many clients continue to specify a quality management system. Ross Mitchell and Associates’ work is mainly for a number of Councils but includes work for a number of contractors and from a range of other local clients.

ISO 9000 is, therefore, still a key element of the organization’s management approach.

There has been a major improvement in the way operational training has been arranged and organized, with a built in formalized training review system to identify the training requirements of operatives. This allows local managers far greater flexibility with respect to the resources available, the range of equipment and the tasks that need to be carried out. Timing of the training is also synchronized to the seasonal requirements of Ross Mitchell and Associates, e.g., in July, requirements are reviewed, training is identified by October and conducted on a supply and demand basis the following year between January and March.

A system exists whereby a monthly financial penalty is incurred if there is a defect, non-conformance against the contract requirements or an accident. In 2005, before ISO registration, there were 102 client defects, dropping to 83 in 2006 and to 13 in 2007, with some zero penalty periods occurring after the introduction of ISO 9000 in 2006.

A year after ISO 9000 was introduced; a staff survey on whether it had made a difference achieved a response rate of ca.30% and the following responses:

• 37% believed there was an improvement in training
• 31% believed there was an improvement in efficiency
• 29% believed there was an improvement in right first time
• 24% believed there was an improvement in service
• 22% believed there was an improvement in the amount of paperwork
• 20% believed there was an improvement in accidents
• 20% believed there was an improvement in the number of complaints
• 17% believed there was an improvement in the quality of supply
• 14% believed there was an improvement in communications
• 13% believed there was an improvement in the number of unimportant checks
• 9% believed there was an improvement in morale

Responses were analysed in detail, and the message was clearly already starting to reach, and impact on, front line staff.

Compliance Australia’s Role

CACS was chosen as the registration body because Ross Mitchell and Associates needed advice on how to approach ISO 9000, but didn’t want to use external consultants, preferring to develop the skills and experience in-house. CACS was chosen because of its high visibility and recognition, locally and across Australia.

A CACS team supported the registration process and, after registration, some of this initial team have continued to visit the company. After 12 months, the Client Manager and Assessors developed a detailed knowledge and understanding of the organization’s system and business. Their feedback and input has become more useful as a result. The visits are now themed, to look at specific issues such as training and communications.

CACS Ross Mitchell & Associates Case Study
CACS Ross Mitchell & Associates Case Study

Scope —

Asbestos Hazardous waste removal, civil works, building services, demolition and extraction.

Address

Unit 27, 6-20 Braidwood Street Strathfield South NSW 2136

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