GNBS’ technical assistance leads CEVONS to ISO Certification

Getting certified to the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems (QMS) Standard has become an important accomplishment for local companies, especially those vying to provide products and services to the Oil and Gas Industry. This may seem like an impossible feat at first but having professionals who can simplify the process makes it 100% easier and even more attainable. This is according to CEVONS Waste Management Services which recently attained ISO 9001 Certification after benefitting from Technical Assistance provided by the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS).

CEVONS has grown to become a household name when it comes to waste management services in Guyana. The company started from humble beginnings in 1997 with one garbage truck, which was initially imported for a client who then decided not to purchase the equipment. As a result, Mr. Morse Archer, Chief Executive Officer of the company, decided to start collecting garbage around the capital city of Georgetown to offset his importation expenses.

CEVONS eventually became a recipient of a contract from the City Council which allowed for the acquisition of a second garbage truck. In 2001, the company was officially incorporated.

Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the company, Morris Archer noted that the business has since moved from owning just one garbage truck to over 100 pieces of equipment, inclusive of trucks, bulldozers and excavators. The company whose portfolio includes recycling, septic tank emptying, skip bin rentals, document shredding along with residential and commercial garbage collection, has also expanded its services to the real estate and construction industries.

However, just over a year ago, potential clients in the expanding Oil and Gas industry began requesting that the company become certified to the ISO 9001:2015 Standard. “Because of the whole oil and gas sector, almost every job for tender or invitation for bids, they will ask what Certification we have –whether it is for health and safety or quality, and we realized that a lot of these companies are specifically asking for ISO 9001: 2015,” the COO explained.

As a result, the company conducted research to find the best organisation to provide the required guidance to attain international certification. It was then that Senior Advisor with the responsibility for Quality, Mr. Don Smith learned that the GNBS provides Technical Assistance to companies pursuing international certification.

“We were concerned that we weren’t ready then we initially became hesitant but in conversations with [the GNBS], the team was very helpful, they broke it down for us,” Mr. Smith said.

The ISO 9001:2015 Standard specifies requirements for a QMS to enhance customer satisfaction and help companies consistently provide quality products and services. It also addresses statutory and regulatory requirements. The GNBS through its Technical Assistance programme, assists companies to better understand the standard and properly implement the requirements within their day-to-day operations.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CEVONS Waste Management Services started its Technical Assistance programme with the GNBS virtually. The Senior Advisor on Quality lauded the Bureau for its ability to offer services online to customers. He noted that it was the “prodding from the GNBS and their Technical [staff] who really gave us the confidence to move forward.”

CEVONS Waste Management services completed Technical Assistance with the GNBS in December 2021.

“The support we got was outstanding,” Mr. Smith noted adding that “I can’t recall making a phone call and if not the same day, by the next day, getting a call back on something; so the support we got was outstanding.” He also lauded the knowledge of the staff from the GNBS’ Business Development Department, pointing out that upon completing the programme to better understand and implement the requirements of the ISO Standard, it was easier to achieve certification from the Certifying Body.

The company proceeded to engage a Certifying Body and received its certification to the ISO Standard on March 10, 2022.

Upon getting certified, the Quality Advisor said: “From pursuing the ISO Certification, standardizing the way you do things, ensuring you do things right all of the time and not some of the time, having a process that everyone needs to follow, it helps tremendously in delivering that level of services we are striving for.”

His view was supported by the COO who pointed out that not only will the company be able to work in the Oil and Gas industry, but its offices are now functioning with increased efficiency.

“At first when we thought about ISO, it was about getting customers, getting new clients and so on but the processes that we follow now, it helps us to become a better company; it helps us to have more accountability with different Departments – each process is now mapped out as in what needs to be done and there is only one way it has to be done from the time someone comes into the organisation,” the COO said.

Usually, the period of Technical Assistance by the GNBS toward certification to the ISO 9001:2015 ranges from six to twelve months.

Given the benefits of getting certified, Mr. Archer is encouraging other local companies to pursue international certification. He explained that even smaller companies that are unsure of what is required, can get certified following guidance from the GNBS.

(Press release from Guyana National Bureau of Standards)