Home Resources Blog March 2018

60 Seconds with Steve Barnes

16 March 2018
This month we spoke to Aerospace & Automotive Operations Manager, Steve Barnes, for his views on NQA and his top tips on certification in these highly controlled sectors.

What is your role?

I am the Aerospace and Automotive Operations Manager at NQA. I am the first point of contact to the IATF (International Automotive Task Force) and work closely as a middle-man between them and the NQA certification decision offices. I am here to make sure that I support the NQA team in running the automotive scheme as smoothly and efficiently as possible and that requirements are correctly followed.  I am also responsible for the UKAS aerospace operations for NQA and support the team, along with the NQA India and SNQA offices, in the delivery of activities.

Most memorable moment at work?

My greatest sense of achievement came from passing the exams needed to get into my role. Firstly I had to sit an 8-hour IATF Auditor Development Process exam which involved more studying than I thought possible and even now have to take many ‘top-up’ exams to maintain my knowledge and skills, along with taking a daunting face-to-face examination, it was a huge relief when I passed them. Because of the amount of work that has to go into making sure that my skillset is up-to-date and to ensure that as a business the delivery of the scheme is as good as possible, there is a sense of achievement when the team is able to deliver certification to our clients.

Favourite things about working for NQA?

There are two things that I enjoy about working for NQA. Firstly, the people…I’ve not only built close working relationships but also friendships and it’s clear to see soon after you start working here that there is a real positive and helpful vibe. Of course everyone is busy, but if you ask for help then everyone is more than willing to drop everything and do what they can to assist. There is a very supportive atmosphere and a great team vibe.

My second favourite thing is the structure that my role brings. I have a very methodical and logical mind and coming from a background in engineering I work most efficiently within strict rules and processes. I like to see how things work and to get into the ins and outs of a product, this is why I love my job because everything has to be so controlled and I can get deep into the details. 

I am also proud to be part of a growing and successful company. NQA is the #2 certification body in the world in the automotive sector and we have 7,000 clients across the globe so I believe our processes are definitely working. 

Top tip for people looking at certification?

My top tip would be to undertake a constructive and detailed gap analysis between the standard requirements and what the company already has in place. In my experience, certification and management systems are most successful when there is an individual or group of individuals fully responsible for them and running them day-to-day. Also, when a company has their top leadership involved and in total understanding of what is going on, then informed and effective decisions can be made to ensure that there are minimal non-conformances and a fully working system in place.

How might you be able to help our readers?

I have a wealth of experience and can help with technical questions and clarification on clauses in the Automotive sector, whilst ensuring that any Aerospace questions are filtered through to the right people that can effectively support our clients. If I don’t know the answer off the top of my head then I will go out and find it for you. I have also written a number of Q&A documents expressing the standards in simpler and more reader friendly terms so am able to translate the standards into more easily digestible information.