Castolin Ireland: Quality Coordinator explains the benefits of being ISO 14001 certified

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Courtesy of Castolin Eutectic

Since end of February 2016, Castolin Ireland is ISO 14001 certified, a project managed by Maria Fuentes, Quality Coordinator in Dublin for the last five years holding a M.Sc. in Environmental Science. The new factory in Ireland was open in 2007 and manufactures welding electrodes, cored wires and coating powders used worldwide.

Could you explain what your job consists in?
Maria Fuentes: I’m the quality coordinator in Castolin Ireland. Basically, I review all Quality Control batch results for welding and chemistry. We have to analyse and approve the batch so that it´s ready to be shipped to the customer and make sure the order complies with our highest quality standards.

What are the quality certificates obtained by Castolin Ireland?
Maria Fuentes: We have TÜV, Paton Institute approval, ISO 9001 and we have just received our new ISO 14001 certification.

For non-connoisseurs, what is ISO 14001 about?
Maria Fuentes: ISO 14001 is an Environmental management system, so you basically get a certification that we have the environmental system in place and we ensure the standardization from the market. All our customers will know that we are in line with the highest international standards. We have very good procedures in place in Castolin Ireland, but without the ISO 14001 certification we couldn’t officially prove to customers that we are complying with those standards.

What are the benefits of the manufacturing factory being ISO 14001 certified for our customers?
Maria Fuentes: In the first place, we earn our customers´ trust and demonstrate environmental performance. We confirm that we control our impact on the environment and control the cost of raw materials, as well as the amount of waste we are generating. There were expressions of interest from our customers because they have the Environmental management system in place themselves and their company policy is to mainly deal with suppliers having the ISO 14001.

How do you do that concretely? Do you need to change production workflow?
Maria Fuentes: No, you don’t need to. It´s just controlling procedures, checking how much waste is generated and finding a way to recycle, reuse it. We already had the procedures in place from previous years, but now we also implemented the system that allows us to monitor and measure everything, to see when we are consuming more raw materials or generating more waste than usual. We have a few recycling companies to whom we sell the waste – the ones that we cannot reuse – and they recycle it.

On one hand you apply the reduce-reuse-recycle approach, on the other hand you reduce costs. How can you reduce costs?
Maria Fuentes: Basically you are controlling how much raw materials you are using – we have over 200 finished products – and you can see when you are producing more waste or for some reason you are increasing or decreasing the use of raw material. You can find out the reasons and put a corrective action in place.

How does the certification procedure work?
Maria Fuentes: We have the certification for three years but every year we undergo a surveillance audit. In the same way as the ISO 9001 Quality certificate works. We have successfully passed the first stage of the Environmental audit on 6th-7th-8th January 2016 and the second stage in February. The National Standard Authority of Ireland (NSAI) conducted the audit.

Do you think the ISO 14001 will bring even more indirect benefits for the company in the future?
Maria Fuentes: We hope that it will. It is attractive for investors and enhances company reputation. Another benefit appearing in literature is that insurance companies would drop down their prices as well, because we are reducing environmental risks, which would translate in cost reduction for customers too. We will see if that will happen or not.

What is the plan after getting this certification?
Maria Fuentes: Maybe we will integrate ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 because both of them are management systems and most of the procedures and processes are very similar.

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