25 Nov 2021

Vanderbilt International Secures ISO:9001:2015 Recertification

Vanderbilt has secured ISO 9001:2015 recertification, and for the fifth consecutive year, the company has achieved zero non-conformances in an external ISO 9001 audit.

In recertifying the company, auditor Andreas Odhage commented that Vanderbilt “have not only adapted to change, but they have also been a driver of change. The organization is a top performer from a benchmark perspective.”

Orla Ryan, Head of Quality and Process Management at Vanderbilt, credits Lean and Agile processes with the company’s continued success.

“Lean & Agile have been at the heart of everything we have done since 2019. It has helped transform the way Vanderbilt operates, from department to department from the ground up,” says Ryan.

“We were able to see an immediate response from our work on Lean last year when we made just over €200,000 in continuous improvements. This considerable saving in such a short space of time showed everyone the transformative power of the Lean system and inevitably brought more buy-in across the company. This led to a further influx of suggestions for improvement across the company that paid dividends with our latest ISO recertification success.”

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For instance, Odhage commented on the clear and robust improvement culture clearly present in the company. He noted that cross-functional teams work actively and transparently to improve working methods, processes, and performance.

Ryan agrees with this insight, commenting that every department now works closely together: “There has been a growing independence between staff working directly together to help solve problems,” says Ryan, “rather than having to operate in a system that dictated problems must be shifted back and forth through an oversaturated chain of command. Prioritizing people and collaboration over bureaucracy is at the heart of methodologies In turn, continual improvement is a key pillar of ISO 9001.

Ryan believes that this excellence in the transparency of workflow and communication ties directly back to Vanderbilt’s culture and core values of empowering its employees, emphasizing collaboration, and striving for high-performance by being forward-thinking. “These core values essentially define the very ethos of what it means to be Agile and Lean,” she says.

HR, in particular, was singled out for praise in terms of their work on culture and employee engagement. Odhage commented that there is “excellent work in connecting culture, core values, and strategies. There are very good support processes in place, for example, recruitment, onboarding, employee development, employee engagement, and off-boarding. Additionally, there is good support for managers working with appraisal and competence matrixes.”

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Overall, Ryan credits the success of Vanderbilt’s Lean and Agile processes to former ACRE International President David Sullivan, who in 2019 wholeheartedly endorsed the continuous improvement strategy.

“This couldn’t have been done without our executive leadership’s support. At the start of the Lean implementation, David Sullivan himself trained teams to correctly use A3 problem-solving spreadsheets, and other managers facilitated process workshops. It was a real example of very hands-on, empowering leadership,” says Ryan.

“The ISO 9001 recert demonstrates that Vanderbilt has a solid culture of continuous improvement, and sets us up incredibly well for achieving future targets and growth. Ultimately, our ISO 9001 recert is testament to our employees’ hard work and their dedication to excellence,” she concludes.