Coldharbour Marine: ISO 9001 (Case Study)

Jason Holloway, Chief Operating Officer

“Obtaining ISO 9001 certification was on the critical path to getting our product to market. I knew from previous experience that obtaining the Standard could take 9 months or more. We had just 11 weeks to do it.”

“Our product is unique, very technical and not one to get to grips with easily.”

“I spoke with a number of ISO consultancies, but Equas picked it up quite quickly and were extremely responsive. I had confidence from day 1 that they could deliver.”

“Our Equas consultant, David Morgan, held our hand through the whole process and really went over and above what I was expecting from him.”

The Company

Coldharbour Marine was set up around 35 years ago supplying modules that distribute hot and cold water on board ships.  Five years ago, they identified a new technology that would revolutionise how ballast water could be treated on the largest vessels in the world such as ultra large oil carriers and very large crude carriers (VLCC).

Traditionally, ballast water is treated when the vessel is in port, a time consuming process that racks up demurrage costs. The system developed by Coldharbour Marine means that the ballast water can now be treated when the vessel is at sea and on its journey.

Understandably, there is huge interest from potential customers and shipyards around the world for the product that is unique in the marketplace.

The Challenge

After an extensive period of R&D and having successfully completed land-based testing in the Netherlands, the system was installed aboard a VLCC for sea trials under both the International Maritime Organisation and Lloyds Register / UKMCA stringent testing parameters. The company had planned to complete the type approval process in December 2014, but whilst enquiring about the Approval process, it was advised that certification to ISO 9001 was a mandatory requirement.

Having already actively marketed the product with excellent response from potential customers, without ISO 9001 there would be no Product Type Approval and therefore the company would not be in a position to accept orders. Identifying an ISO Consultancy that could help them achieve ISO 9001 certification and meet the tight deadline was absolutely crucial.

The Methodology

David Morgan, Equas’s Managing Director, stepped up to the challenge and initially spent time discussing and agreeing the scope of what they needed to achieve. Because of the very tight timeframe and the amount of work required in applying the ISO processes and procedures to something that was completely unique, he opted to implement the company’s ‘ISO in a Box’ methodology. He received tremendous cooperation from Coldharbour’s senior management team and worked very closely with Andy Damjanovic, one of the project managers.

In reviewing the company’s existing management system, it became apparent that most of the necessary documentation and management practices already existed. However, they were over-complicated with no core processes and no effective document control.

The key task was to create processes that described the company’s activities from determining its strategic objectives through to project managing the design and installation of the Ballast Water Treatment system. Then all the relevant documentation had to be linked to the correct parts of the processes. Coldharbour Marine gained its ISO 9001 certification.

The Benefits

The company’s application for Product Type Approval was successful and it is now ready to sell its technology. Negotiations are currently underway with customers. One very exciting prospect has 20 brand new vessels – if they pull that off, the order book will be full for the next two years.