You may not have heard of Affinity Water before, but the chances are high that some of you benefit from their industry equivalents on a regular basis.
Affinity Water is the largest wateronly supplier in the UK and provides wholesome drinking water each day to more than 3.6 million people across three regions in the South East of England. Affinity Water has a vision of being the leading community-focused water supply company and was formed in 2012 following the unification of Veolia Water Central, Veolia Water East and Veolia Water Southeast.
As a community focused company with a commitment to zero-harm, the customer, the stakeholder and the environment is at the heart of Affinity Water’s management system.
Affinity Water is overseen by a number of regulators for the supply of water and is conscious of the challenging expectations facing all water companies. With a demand of around 900 million litres of water every day, Affinity Water recognised that having a certified management system would be crucial to success across all activities within their new business.
Exceeding Customer Expectations
Grant Wordsworth joined the company in 2011 as their Quality Manager, where he was tasked with the responsibility of unifying and managing the management system for their three supply regions and the relevant certifications. The creation of Affinity Water provided an ideal opportunity for the unification of the various certified management systems in place across the central, east and southeast companies.
The unification was given a priority and all three regions became certified under a single ISO 9001:2008 management system in 2012. This was followed by the development and implementation of common management systems for ISO 14001:2004 and OHSAS 18001 that were certified by NQA in early 2013.
Recently, Grant managed the implementation of the revised systems across the whole company, ensuring that Affinity Water had an up to date and compliant management system to meet its commitments to its customers, stakeholders and the environment.
The international standards for quality, health and safety management and environmental management were still considered appropriate for the Affinity Water management system, and accredited certification to ISO 9001:2015, for quality management and ISO 14001:2015, for environmental management, was awarded by NQA, following a transition assessment with the certification to OHSAS 18001:2007 for health and safety management being maintained.
Plans are currently being implemented and monitored by NQA for migration from the current OHSAS 18001 certification to the new ISO 45001:2018 health and safety management standard. By implementing the requirements of the three management system standards, Affinity Water is expected to meet, if not exceed, customer expectations.
Implementing standards that help management, demonstrate care for the environment and the health and safety of everybody were key requirements for Affinity Water.
ISO 14001:2015 for the management of environmental impacts was selected and implemented to show the community that Affinity Water continues to care about the environmental impact of their operations, despite increased water demand challenges.
OHSAS 18001:2007 and ISO 45001:2018 for the management of health and safety have been chosen and implemented to demonstrate the company’s commitment to all stakeholders about occupational health, well-being and the safety of people.
The standards were considered appropriate and supported Affinity Water’s commitment to creating a work environment to achieve zero-harm, and aided them in systematically improving health and safety, environmental performance and customer facing activities.
The standards offered an established design on how to manage a complex organisation that could be organised from top management down to all operations at Affinity Water. NQA was selected as an
appropriate, accredited certification body due to their experience in the water industry and their familiarity with the standards.
An Affinity for Quality
With 30 years’ experience in the quality management field, Grant had high expectations for working with an accredited certification body. To date, he has been impressed by the quality and expertise of the auditing service provided by NQA and the development of a working relationship where rules and protocols are fully understood.
"The audit team is what makes NQA stand out” said Grant “the opening meeting, which is attended by senior company management, is presented in a professional manner and provides everybody with a full explanation of the processes to be expected."
According to Grant, one of the biggest benefits of having a certified management system is that Affinity Water can demonstrate it is compliant with established management processes and that the process data is reliable, which leads to identifiable improvement opportunities in the overall business.
Grant believes the trust that has been built between Affinity Water and NQA over the years has been the key to the success of certification to the three standards and the implementation of the management system.