A quality philosophy at Kent Introl
The manager of this team is recently-promoted Angela Bailey, whose expertise and passion for maintaining the highest possible standards, is evident. “We’re here to make sure that customers’ orders are completed as efficiently as possible – and to the correct specification and standard, of course,” she explains. This in itself is a considerable challenge, since the company is required to adhere to a myriad of different standards, either internationally-recognised accreditation programmes, or those set by individual customers.
In fact, KKI has held ISO/TS 29001 since 2010; ISO 9001 since 1996; ISO 14001 since 1999; is SIL-3 Capable (certified by ABS Consulting); and has API Q1 accreditation pending.
Additionally, in accordance with Module H of the Pressure Equipment Directive 97/23/EC, KKI can supply up to and including Category III products operating on Group I Gas (certified by Lloyds Register) and, in accordance with the ATEX Directive 94/4/ EC can supply products up to and including Group II Category II, identified as suitable for use in Zone 1 (also certified by Lloyds Register).
Furthermore, as the company manufactures bespoke products tailored to customers’ exact needs, KKI operates within customer, national and international standards including: BE EN 10204, ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, ASME B16.34, NACE MR0175/ ISO 15156, NACE MR103, API 6A, API 17D, ASTM material standards; Shell, Statoil and BP specifications and NORSOK piping and materials specifications.
Keeping on top of all of these standards is a difficult and complex task, but Angela and her team are more than capable of meeting this challenge. “We get involved in a project right from the start,” she explains, “Even before the order is placed, ideally.” She describes the importance of understanding the customer’s specification, and the sheer volume of information that the team will need to process in order to gain the required knowledge. This is fed into the sales team to help them to arrive at an accurate quote. Once an order is placed, Angela’s team will create a Quality Plan (otherwise known as an Inspection and Test Plan) to map out the standards that must be achieved to ensure the order is produced correctly. To begin with, the Quality team will carry out materials inspection, using positive materials inspection (PMI) techniques. A Quality Officer will then inspect and certify progress against the Quality Plan as work is carried out.
The Quality function acts independently to the manufacturing team, which means that, unless they are satisfied that all standards are being met, a job will not be allowed to progress to the next stage of the plan. That said, the team will always do whatever they can to keep the project on track. Final testing, which might need to be customer-witnessed, will take place under the scrutiny of the Quality team, before valves can finally be certified.
Alongside ensuring compliance within the manufacturing environment, Angela’s team is also responsible for supplier monitoring, internal audits, customer audits and the company’s Quality Management System (QMS). Since KKI adheres to Lean manufacturing principles, and operates a philosophy of continuous improvement, this means that the QMS is a dynamic and regularly-updated tool. The team is also responsible for Health & Safety across the workforce and the company’s three sites. They are currently working towards OHSAS 18001.
KOSO Kent Introl
Tel: 01484 710311
Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 21
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