Corporate Events Ltd: ISO 9001/ISO 14001/OHSAS 18001 (Case Study)

Jed Bowers, Quality and Performance Director

“We grew from a small company and our management systems weren’t keeping pace with us. We had a large gap in the documentation of our processes – we couldn’t prove that we were actually doing what we said we were doing.

“We had a genuine wish to improve our health and safety and wanted to make sure we were looking after everyone on site. We wanted to make it a culture and having the standard in place has given us the framework to do that. In addition, having the certification is a definite advantage when tendering as it gives added credibility in our market place.

“We opted for a full system build because we needed it quickly and wanted to be sure that we had done everything right. That said, I wanted to take a hands-on role and worked alongside Equas Director, Julian Russell, in implementing all of the standards and our Operations Manager also worked with us on the environmental and health and safety standards. Julian did a lot of the actual documentation and my colleague and I did the implementation. With Julian’s guidance, it was pretty easy and straightforward – everything went very smoothly.”

The Company

Corporate Events provides a full service offering for event management for an extensive portfolio of blue chip corporate clients. Established in 1996, the company now directly employs 38 full time staff and is one of the largest corporate events companies in the UK.

The company specialises in designing, creating and delivering a wide range of live events including conferences, roadshows and awards ceremonies. Its work takes the company to venues in the UK and Europe.

The Challenge

The company has enjoyed rapid growth, attracting new clients through its first class reputation for creativity, technical skills and project management. The nature of its work puts it firmly in the public arena and given that it’s highly visible if anything were to go awry, it could prove damaging to the business.

The company has to be very responsive to its customer’s requirements as each event is bespoke. Clients also have very high standards when it comes to health and safety management at the event venues. The challenge was to design flexible processes that focused on the effective maintenance of key control points to ensure there were no compromises on service quality or event safety.

The Approach

The ISO 9001 standard is the most commonly asked for in the tendering process and it was for this reason that in 2013, the company elected to work towards this certification first. Since the company wanted to make the system easily accessible to all employees it was decided to build and house the system using Equas’s Activ web based management system.

For a company whose business is founded on customer service and reputation, Activ offered the facility to receive analytical feedback from customer questionnaires, which proved invaluable in maintaining high levels of service.

The following year, Corporate Events started to implement ISO 14001 and 18001 in tandem. As the Activsystem was working so well, it was an obvious choice for working towards certification in the additional standards.

As was the case with ISO 9001, Jed, along with the Operations Manager, carried out the actual implementation whilst Julian provided the necessary documentation and guidance. Although it was to prove extremely useful when tendering for new contracts, 18001 was really driven by the recognition that as the company had rapidly grown it was now providing a far larger range of on-site services for managing events. It was felt that this increased liability and potential risk to employees.

The Benefits

With ISO 9001, 14001 and 18001 certification, Corporate Events can prove it has robust procedures and systems in place, ticking all the boxes for its high profile clients. It has clear audit trails and importantly, documents are automatically updated ensuring it stays abreast with changes in regulations and legislation. Manual handling risks in particular have been minimized.

Using Activ also makes the system easy to maintain and ensure that employees can find the relevant information they require quickly and easily, saving frustration.