Perth’s Quality Signage Counts
There are so many great quotes about quality and so many reasons why quality is so important. Firstly, quality is critical to satisfying your customers. The quote (left) from Peter Drucker (1909-2005) – one of the most widely-known and influential thinkers on management speaks volumes to this! Secondly, retaining customers brings loyalty which will help future sales. Both sound like Business 101 I know! As a result, in 2009 Signs & Lines embarked on a mission to differentiate themselves from others in the WA sign market. Our goal was to guarantee quality and professionalism. Arguably they go hand in hand. And so they should… one is strongly linked to the other.
Quality vs Quantity
Not forgetting Steve Job’s quote (right) about quality versus quantity, we knew we didn’t want to be a volume sign provider. We felt confident that our place in the market would be one where customer’s would value our unique ability for innovation, creative design and great project management.
Our Quality Goal
Our goal back in 2009 was to certify our Quality Management System (QMS) to SAI Global’s ISO9001:2008. Most importantly this included the design, manufacture and installation of signage. Therefore we had to find a rock solid range of systems and processes that would cover our entire workplace and embrace every sign output. Above all we needed to prove to customers that signage quality counts in Perth.
Our Quality Journey
Like many interesting journey’s our quality journey was one of many twists and turns. And it also required good planning and faultless execution. Plus a big dose of ‘be prepared for anything’ thrown in! For a SME manufacturing company to embark on an ISO certification is no simple feat. With no dedicated department or resource, our ISO9001 journey was a classic tale of ‘learn as you go’! At the outset the acronym QMS was unfamiliar, but in a very short time is was on the tips of everyone’s tongue…
Continual improvement was a key feature of the quality accreditation. For instance, the opportunity to review what you have always done, critique it and then decide if a better way exists is often overlooked in a busy sign shop. Because a thorough review process can be time consuming. And let’s face it, often the option to alter a process is difficult. However, we were able to change our culture and our ‘modus operandi’ for the better. Most importantly, this still lives on today.
Setting Ourselves Up to Succeed
With management buy-in locked in the hard work got underway. A QMS Manager was appointed, supported by four QMS Reps from across the company. And we set about redesigning and refining our processes. Extensive horizontal and vertical consultation occurred across all areas of the business. Because of the diligence of our team we were able to get ourselves ready of an external audit in under a year. It’s true to say that the first audit was a frightening experience! Had we interpreted the Standard correctly? Had we completed enough Internal Audits? Could we prove that our systems were robust? Was our correctives process effective? As a result, a whole new language emerged, as did a full suite of paperwork, forms and documented evidence.
We were beyond proud to pass that first audit. And all subsequent annual audits over a period of 7 years. The QMS Reps were amazing and our business evolved into a process driven machine! Most importantly we could say with confidence that our QMS was certified to the ISO9001:2008 standard. No mean feat! There were many lessons learned along the way. As a result improved standards came through in our work.
Fundamentally ISO9001:2008 bought greater customer confidence. Gucci’s quote above rings true. As a result our sales increased and our reputation grew. In 2017 we made the tough decision to forego the certification. The GFC and pressure on the bottom line meant that financially the certification no longer stacked up. However, the benefits keep on giving and the investment was of great value.
Most importantly, the QMS lives on and with it so does our passion for continual improvement.
A Quality Team
As a result of our quality approach we are trusted by many well known brands. To discuss any aspect of our quality service or signage products, get in touch with our Perth based team. Above all, signage quality counts in Perth!
tel: +8 9274 5151
LinkedIn: Mark Simmonds
THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXTRACT OF OUR POLICY STATEMENT DISPLAYED IN RECEPTION:
Signs & Lines is committed to operating the company in a well thought-out and customer focused way, with quality and professionalism at the heart of our intent.
The development of our Quality Management System (QMS) fits the organisation’s purpose to design, manufacture and install signage to an excellent finished standard. The QMS will be at the forefront of our operations, from the moment a customer first contacts our organisation, right through to the sign-off at the end of the project.
Our pledge to our customers is that we will plan and organise their sign work in a professional and systematic way to ensure a high quality result every time. From analysis and feedback we will continually enhance our activities so that we exceed our customer’s expectations of great signs and great service.
Signage quality really counts for alot in Perth.