Judge 3D - ISO 9001 on Small Business Scheme

Judge 3D logoA respected and trusted name in commercial management, Judge 3D has come a long way in a short time. For all its high-profile clients and projects though, by late 2010, it faced some organisational and growth-related challenges. It took action by developing its quality management system (QMS), crowning this soon after with ISO 9001 certification from LRQA.

1. QMS Implementation

1. QMS Implementation

Judge 3D operates in the UK and overseas, working closely with its clients and key contractors. Its services include commercial bid management, post contract management (for major projects typically of £3m-£1bn), dispute avoidance and resolution, change control, managing risk and negotiation. Additionally it provides training, mentoring and strategic advice on a range of issues from procurement and market positioning to international contracting.

These services are predominantly undertaken at its clients’ offices, and when required at its St Neots, Cambridgeshire headquarters, mainly for off-site secure commercial analysis and defence preparation. Judge 3D operates according to its clients’ procedures.

“We’re happy to do this,” says Judge 3D Managing Director, John Judge. “However, as we have grown over the years, we’ve seen a blurring of the lines between our clients’ processes and our own. We therefore introduced a full QMS to separate and create a clear demarcation between the two.

“Other reasons for a QMS included wanting to challenge ourselves to continually improve and move forward; and wanting to be able to demonstrate our quality, not just tell people about it.”

In early 2011, Judge 3D appointed Bob Downie to develop its existing procedures and processes into a full QMS. “We brought Bob on board to look after our QMS, and he’s remains with us as our Quality Manager,” says John Judge.

“A colleague, Dermot Morahan, is our Business Development and Quality Officer, reporting to Bob and monitoring QMS and our compliance with it on a full-time basis. We certainly don’t see our QMS as a short-term box-ticking exercise, but rather as a valuable business tool to gain maximum benefit for the business.”

2. ISO 9001 assessment

2. ISO 9001 assessment

“LRQA has provided excellent guidance on streamlining our processes and improving, crystallising and formalising our service offering. ”

John Judge, Managing Director, Judge 3D

Judge 3D chose its independent assessment organisation carefully. John Judge says: “I’m used to buying professional services for both my clients and myself, and I always carry out simple but effective procurement.

“I produced a shortlist of six assessment companies and then narrowed this down to one. LRQA submitted a high quality, impressive tender and was surprisingly competitive on price.

“While some assessment bodies are focused on different parts of the market, LRQA met all our needs and was absolutely right for our business.”

LRQA selected Phil Wain to undertake Judge 3D’s ISO 9001 assessment. “Phil was a good choice,” says John Judge. “LRQA had clearly thought about who would support us best. Phil has worked with similar companies. He’s professional, interesting, engaging and communicates well, and we’ve had some excellent conversations on interpreting ISO 9001 as it applies and relates to our business.

“LRQA has provided excellent guidance on streamlining our processes and improving, crystallising and formalising our service offering. And we were delighted to achieve certification in December 2011.”

3. Benefits

3. Benefits

Judge 3D’s ISO 9001-certified QMS is based on a plan-do-check-act cycle of continual improvement. John Judge says: “We now have regular management meetings, reviews and internal audits. There’s been a smooth transition to the QMS because it’s dovetailed seamlessly into our business and embodies our culture. It has exceeded my expectations and works very well.”

Judge 3D’s QMS enables it to control work in a particular and precise way, and to separate roles and responsibilities. “Our QMS is a clear win as it adds clear structure to how to provide our service and who within the team and business will do it,” says John Judge. “It increases our discipline, improves our working practices and makes us more efficient.

“We now have a slicker, quicker management team. Our staff are more engaged too: they have embraced the QMS, which they see not as a burden but as something that helps them in their roles.”

John also feels that the implementation of the QMS has given the business greater structure. By using control documents, flow charts and other system documentation, he has been able to expand the service offer to include client training and in doing so grow the business in a more controlled and disciplined way.

Judge 3D has received a positive response to its ISO 9001 certification. “We stand out because none of our smaller competitors has ISO 9001,” says John Judge. “We’ve seen a marked increase in potential opportunities, and even some of our competitors are intrigued!”

4. Learning Points

4. Learning Points

Are you thinking of implementing a QMS and going for ISO 9001? John Judge of Judge 3D offers his advice:

  • Never have a document for a document’s sake
  • Always question the need for a document
  • Remove all processes that are not adding value
  • Be ready and willing to take these big steps
  • Keep your staff informed of progress – take them with you on this journey
  • Understand the full cost of achieving and maintaining your certification
  • Understand and accept your obligations
  • Certification is the first step, not the final, so be committed
  • Make sure your assessment body can deliver exactly what you want, when you want it.

Fact box

No. of employees:  6 to 12, depending on project workload, plus up to 10 commercial and technical associates
Annual turnover: £0.5m-£0.75m
Year established: 2005
Standards: ISO 9001:2008
Sectors served: aviation, construction, defence, energy, highways, property, railways, telecoms and others