Local manufacturer attains ISO certification

March 2016 Editor's Choice, Fire & Safety

Technoswitch, a local South African company with its headquarters in Johannesburg, has been designing, manufacturing, supplying and providing technical support on high quality fire detection products into sub-Saharan Africa for over 40 years.

At the beginning of 2014, after having analysed our position in the market using a SWOT analysis, a strategic decision was made to grow our local manufacturing section of the business to mitigate some of our exposure to the very volatile South African Rand exchange rate. As part of the manufacturing expansion programme, it was decided to implement a documented quality management system to assist and support the research and development team as well as manufacturing.

After speaking to many consultants and analysing the potential value-add of each, it was eventually decided to utilise the services of the South African Quality Institute (SAQI) and in particular, Jacques Snyders, (SAQI senior member) to assist Technoswitch with the quality management system implementation. It was always agreed between SAQI and Technoswitch that the reason for implementing a Quality Management System (QMS) was to add value and structure to the business, and not to simply have a certificate on the wall.

With this in mind, a process-based approach was adopted and used as the foundation of the QMS. This ensured that the QMS was tailored around our business processes and that everyone within the company would be able to see the benefits.

As the ISO 9001:2008 standard was the current standard during the system design, the requirements of that standard were used, but SAQI had cleverly identified that the new ISO 9001:2015 standard was imminent and elements of the new standard were incorporated into the design to make sure that, should we wish to change over to the new standard, the transition wouldn’t be difficult.

Technoswitch had always envisaged a time scale of 9-12 months for a proper implementation of the system, and so in October 2015, when the new ISO 9001:2015 standard was published, Technoswitch, together with guidance from SAQI, decided to adopt the requirements of the new standard. Many of the new requirements had already been included in the development of the QMS, such as ‘Understanding the context of the organisation’ and ‘Risk based thinking’. The transformation of the system to adhere to the requirements of the 2015 standard was, therefore, a relatively smooth process.

Once again, with advice from SAQI and after much comparative analysis, it was decided to partner with DQS as the certification body. The audit was conducted in mid-January and after closing out the minor findings, Technoswitch received their ISO 9001:2015 certification.

This has been a fantastic team effort where everybody from the GM through to the cleaning staff have all been involved in the successful implementation of the quality management system. We are extremely proud of achieving the certification, but are more excited about the improvements we have seen in our business as a result.


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