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Willows Ingredients Case Study

19 January 2024
Meet Willows Ingredients in County Wicklow, Ireland. Distributor of specialist raw ingredients to human and animal nutrition sectors. Proud holder of ISO 9001 with NQA since 2008.

An introduction to Willows Ingredients

Willows Ingredients distributes raw ingredients for the health and wellbeing, sports, food and beverage, beauty and animal nutrition industries.

The Irish company works from four sites in Ashford, County Wicklow, with a team of 25 serving customers across the UK, Europe, Scandinavia, and North America.

Willows Ingredients represents some of the world’s highest quality, most specialist raw material manufacturers – both large and small. These partnerships enable Willows Ingredients to:

  • Nurture strong and collaborative relationships with global customers

  • Supply sustainable products and solutions to nourish a growing population

Since 2008, Willows Ingredients has backed up their quality claims with ISO 9001 certification.

ISO 9001 as the bedrock of quality

The ISO 9001 (Quality Management) framework supports the company’s processes and ambitions, with certification achieved with NQA in 2008.

According to Declan English, Quality Manager at Willows Ingredients, “ISO 9001 is the bedrock of our quality management system (QMS), and all of our quality systems are based on this solid foundation.

Willows Ingredients chose this standard to ensure the business will thrive and that our customers and potential customers can be confident that our products and services meet and exceed expected standards.

ISO 9001 is a stamp of recognition that takes considerable time and effort to achieve and uphold and therefore show evidence of our commitment to quality standards.”

ISO 9001 is a fantastic way to demonstrate quality products, customer satisfaction and more.

Preparing and undertaking the ISO 9001 audit

For Willows Ingredients, ISO 9001 audits are a robust test of their QMS. It allows the company to:

  • Provide evidence of Willows Ingredients’ operations

  • Ensure the company’s systems are fit for purpose

  • Expand and increase operations in a controlled, sustained way

One of NQA’s Associate Assessors, Graham Healy, conducted Willows Ingredients’ most recent ISO 9001 audit. The company praised Graham for his knowledgeable and structured approach to the QMS, listening skills and ability to search and find non-conformance, observations and good practice.

Knowledge, professionalism and communication: the core principles of ISO audits.

As for choosing NQA over other certification bodies?

“Willows Ingredients has a long-standing relationship with NQA. Our systems have always been audited by knowledgeable and professional auditors who have keenly viewed our systems, spotting areas for improvement and adding value by sharing experience of other quality systems they have seen.”

The value of company-wide participation

In the early days, Willows Ingredients benefitted greatly from external management system consultants. Now, the company has a fully trained internal quality team to maintain the QMS.

Willows Ingredients is an expanding company, with new people joining the team and being introduced to the ISO 9001 procedures from the very start.

By doing so, team members across the company can reference how the processes work and control how they expand and operate (in turn ensuring a fully traceable review and reference process).

Willows Ingredients’ success highlights the key to an effective QMS: active participation.

Integrating ISO 9001 with other quality systems

“We integrate all our quality systems, as we are part of several schemes such as BRCGS Agents & Brokers, FEMAS, UFAS, Aquaculture Sustainability Council, Friend of the Sea and Organic Certification.

It is important that all these systems intertwine and are controllable within our processes. ISO 9001 allows us to lay a foundation that can support these schemes.”

A bright future for Willows Ingredients

Willows Ingredients has enjoyed the many benefits of ISO 9001 certification for almost two decades.

ISO 9001 helps provide stability for the company, allowing them to expand in a controlled fashion. This includes further growth of their sales team into Europe and the UK, alongside more support staff for wider coverage.

Internal growth and geographic expansion are just some of the many ISO 9001 benefits!

Final thoughts from NQA

NQA thanks Willows Ingredients for sharing their experiences of ISO 9001 (Quality Management) certification.

As one of our valued clients since 2008, Willows Ingredients highlights the purpose of ISO 9001 – and what a robust QMS can achieve.

Discover more about quality management systems with NQA. Visit our ISO 9001 page.

Ready to get certified to ISO 9001 with NQA? Speak to a member of our sales team.

Download a PDF version of Willows Ingredients' case study here.