Quality Assurance

 

There is a truism that goes “The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory”.

While every consumer can probably relate to this idea, business enterprises offering goods and services are the ones that should heed this the most.

Quality Management Systems

The concept of quality was first introduced in the 1800’s. Goods were then still mass-produced, created by the same set of people, with a few individuals assigned to do some “tweaking” on the product to bring it to acceptable levels. Their idea of quality at that time may not have been that well-defined, but it marked the beginnings of product quality and customer satisfaction as we know it now.

Since then, quality has developed into a very basic business principle that every organisation should strive to achieve. Yet while every business recognises the importance of offering product and service quality, it is not something that can be achieved overnight.

If you’ve been in any type of business long enough, you should know that there is no “quick-fix” to achieving quality. Instead, it is an evolving process that needs to be continually worked on. And this is where the importance of having a workable Quality Management System (QMS) in an organisation comes in.

Whatever Quality tools and processes you need to implement the change needed in your organisation, we can help you with it. We are ready to work in partnership with your team to develop strategic systems which will produce significant performance improvements geared towards the achievement of quality.

What is a Quality Management System?

A Quality Management System is defined as the set of inter-related objectives, processes, and operating procedures that organisations use as a guide to help them implement quality policies and attain quality objectives.

Needless to say, the ultimate goal of every quality management system is to establish quality as a core value of the company among all employees, and across all products and services. Why? Because quality services make for happy customers, and satisfied customers ensure continued business for the company.

A Quality Management System does not stop with simply having a set of guidelines that the leaders of a company can easily have their organisation members accept and adhere to. Rather, effective QMS can be implemented when management provides a culture of pride and patience, which will inspire acceptance of individual and group responsibility.

In this manner, not only the heads of the organisation but the employees as well, will develop the desire to achieve company goals that will benefit:

  • All contributing teams;
  • The customers; and
  • The company as a whole.

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IT Risk and Control Solutions Specialists – Why you need them more than ever

Over the years, the capabilities of IT systems have certainly grown by leaps and bounds. But so have the risks that accompany them. Countless threats to IT systems now exist that are capable of seriously disrupting business operations. That’s why companies have to conduct assessments aimed at making sure their systems are still capable of functioning effectively, efficiently, and securely all the time.

If you think you’ve been lucky enough to be spared from these threats, then maybe it’s because you haven’t conducted a risk assessment on your IT system recently. All too often, we hear of CIOs who believed their IT system was in tip-top condition, only to be later caught off-guard by a critical system breakdown that would eventually cripple their business for days or weeks.

More information assets to look after

If, before, you only had to worry about regular office applications, workstations, a LAN and a server, today’s varied and more sophisticated information assets are more challenging to maintain.

In addition to network operating systems, database management systems, content management systems, email systems, virtualization platforms, document management systems, business intelligence applications, and accounting software, a typical enterprise may also have to look after firewalls, intrusion detection systems, storage and backup systems, and data loss prevention systems, to mention a few.

These understandably require the services of experts spanning a wide range of skill sets.

Rising threats to corporate identity and privacy

Individuals are no longer just the ones being preyed upon by identity thieves. Businesses can now be subject to corporate identity theft as well. You could wake up one day finding your business already accused of carrying out illegal activities, a big chunk of your money gone, and your directors? seats already occupied by complete strangers.

To make things worse, corporate threats aren’t just coming from the outside.

Threats to corporate privacy, for instance, can come from within the organisation itself. Sensitive information like trade secrets and financial data are often leaked out (purposely or inadvertently) by employees. This is largely caused by the ever growing number of options for communications and transferring data (e.g. emails, instant messaging, blogs, social networking sites, ftp, P2P, etc.).

Greater challenges in designing, developing, and implementing policies and programs

Laws and regulations like SOX and Solvency II, which have direct impacts on IT, are on the rise. That is why corporate policies and programs now require sweeping changes. You now have to be more deliberate in integrating IT when establishing governance, internal controls, change management, incident management, and performance management.

A solid understanding on widely accepted frameworks and good practices like COBIT, COSO, and CMMI will help you considerably in such undertakings. Using these frameworks as guidelines will not only help you keep your policies and programs attuned to the times, they will also keep you in compliance with regulations.

Increasing demand for disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities

Every time you have a down time, you increase the probability of losing your customers to competitors. The longer the down time, the greater that probability becomes. Therefore, when a major disruption strikes, you should be able to recover at the soonest. If possible, you should be able to deliver products and services as usual.

This of course requires spending to increase your disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) capabilities. Are you ready for it? Migrating your IT infrastructure from traditional systems to the latest technologies that are better equipped for BC/DR requires careful planning and implementation to ensure an optimal return on investment.

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Denizon’s Business Continuity Services

Disruptions to business operations can be as catastrophic as a Hurricane Katrina or a 9/11 or as relatively trivial as a minor power outage or a planned shutdown. What ever the gravity, scope and duration the disruption has, your company should be able to handle each situation so that you can declare “business as usual” and really mean it. (more…)

2015 ESOS Guidelines Chapter 1 ? Who Qualifies

The base criteria are any UK undertaking that employs more than 250 people and/or has a turnover in excess of ?50 million and/or has a balance sheet total greater than ?43 million. There is little point in attempting to separate off high polluting areas. If one corporate group qualifies for ESOS, then all the others are obligated to take part too. The sterling equivalents of ?38,937,777 and ?33,486,489 were set on 31 December 2014 and apply to the first compliance period.

Representatives of Overseas Entities

UK registered branches of foreign entities are treated as if fully UK owned. They also have to sign up if any overseas corporate element meets the threshold no matter where in the world. The deciding factor is common ownership throughout the ESOS system. ecoVaro appreciates this. We have seen European companies dumping pollution in under-regulated countries for far too long.

Generic Undertakings that Could Comply

The common factor is energy consumption and the organisation’s type of work is irrelevant. The Environmental Agency has provided the following generic checklist of undertakings that could qualify:

Limited CompaniesPublic CompaniesTrusts
PartnershipsPrivate Equity CompaniesLimited Liability Partnerships
Unincorporated AssociationsNot-for-Profit BodiesUniversities (Per Funding)

Organisations Close to Thresholds

Organisations that come close to, but do not quite meet the qualification threshold should cast their minds back to previous accounting periods, because ESOS considers current and previous years. The exact wording in the regulations states:

?Where, in any accounting period, an undertaking is a large undertaking (or a small or medium undertaking, as the case may be), it retains that status until it falls within the definition of a small or medium undertaking (or a large undertaking, as the case may be) for two consecutive accounting periods.?

Considering the ?50,000 penalty for not completing an assessment or making a false or misleading statement, it makes good sense for close misses to comply.

Joint Ventures and Participative Undertakings

If one element of a UK group qualifies for ESOS, then the others must follow suit with the highest one carrying responsibility. Franchisees are independent undertakings although they may collectively agree to participate. If trusts receive energy from a third party that must do an ESOS, then so must they. Private equity firms and private finance initiatives receive the same treatment as other enterprises. De-aggregations must be in writing following which separated ESOS accountability applies.

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