We know that better safety, longevity, value and lower disruptions are just some of the benefits of improving quality within our industry, and that's why 2019 is the #YearOfQuality.
Throughout the #YearOfQuality we're going to show you how we, our partners and customers contribute products and services that have a positive impact on the quality of our networks.
Be sure to keep a close eye on our website and social channels for some fantastic content throughout the year.
Select a company below
We are delighted to share the first #YEARofQUALITY article with you, which is from electrofusion welding equipment manufacturer Advance Welding!
Quality Influences our Companies Reputation
Our company’s reputation relies heavily on the quality and reliability of its products and services. The growing importance of social media means that customers and prospects can easily share both favourable opinions and criticism of our product quality on forums and social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. A strong reputation for quality can be an important differentiator in markets that are very competitive. Poor quality or a product failure that results in customer down time can create negative publicity and damage our reputation.
Meeting Customer Expectations
Advance Welding is the UK’s premier designer and manufacturer of Electrofusion Welding Equipment for the utility, industrial and building markets.
We are the leading provider of electrofusion welding units to the UK and the supplier of choice for all the main utility Hire Companies, Contractors and Network Operators. Our technology is also used around the world, from mainland Europe to Africa, Asia and the Americas.
As an original equipment manufacturer and designer at the forefront of electrofusion welding technology, we work closely with our key international partners in many different market sectors. By adapting and developing our products to meet precise customer requirements, we are able to deliver increased productivity and reliability, and reduce downtime.
Our systems and processes ensure a minimum of BS EN ISO 9001:2015 quality standards. For robustness we also operate a quality best practice system that ensures our products are manufactured to the desired standards. Best practice includes: mandatory random inspections of all product lines to ensure consistency and quality throughout assembly and test stages, document and evidence best practice scope and frequency and feedback from assembly and test staff where potential issues are investigated and resolved.
Through our distributor network we analyse customer feedback for quality, operation and serviceability to further enhance and improve our products. All changes are controlled and monitored thorough our PDC (Product Design Change) process to ensure completeness and traceability.
Our Quality Policy establishes four key elements which Advance Welding has adopted to ensure that everything the company does in terms of service and product realisation meets and exceeds the customers’ needs and expectations.
Customer Focus: Advance Welding will strive to provide quality engineering, support services and products to all of its customers. The highest importance is placed on satisfying the customers’ requirements for Quality, Delivery and Cost effectiveness
Continual Improvement: To realise the company’s aspirations improvements to the company’s performance and customer care can only come through continual improvement throughout the entire business. Therefore, Advance Welding will continually strive to improve its business competitiveness and customer satisfaction
Quality Culture: Advance Welding is committed to developing a culture of improvement through best management practice and the implementation of BS EN ISO 9001:2015 and the appropriate development and training of staff
Management System: The implementation and maintenance of BS EN ISO 9001:2015 will ensure that Advance Welding will continue to achieve the highest standards across the entire business structure and will continue to develop its potential through performance measurement, assessments, reviews and training
Quality Culture Values – How Advance Welding promote a quality culture:
The understanding that ‘we are all in this together’.
This may refer to the management team, employees, suppliers and our customers. Without these groups working in harmony, the company will be unable to operate to its full potential.
Communication is vital to improve quality.
Management teams should keep colleagues up-to-date with important changes as this will make the company function more effectively.
Everyone should be treated equally.
This follows the idea that all members of the company are working to the same goal and ideals – to do the very best they possibly can for the good of the company.
Change is inevitable.
By constantly challenging the norm we can explore new ideas where our company, our customers and the industry could benefit.
For more information about products and services from Advance Welding, visit www.advancewelding.co.uk
Peak Pipe Systems
Peak Pipe Systems is a leading manufacturer of polyethylene pipe and fabrications supplying products and services to the Gas, Water and Waste-water industries.
At Peak, we have several quality procedures built into our sourcing, manufacture and supply processes to guarantee the quality of our products and services.
We undertake yearly audits on raw material suppliers to ensure that the quality of their products and processes meet our expectations. This gives us assurance that the products we manufacture are created using the best materials possible.
When raw materials arrive at Peak, they are subjected to independent tests prior to manufacturing which gives us visibility of any raw material issues and the opportunity to remove these prior to manufacture.
During the manufacturing process, our products undergo automated quality checks, which include the recording of dimensions and weights at key points during the process, checked against expected parameters.
Following manufacture, we use manual intervention checks of pipe wall thickness and outer diameters, ovality and length checks every 30 minutes to maintain our quality monitoring throughout the production process.
As a final check within the production stage, an independent testing laboratory undertakes batch release checks including tensile, butt-fusion tensile and hydrostatic pressure testing.
Finally, we monitor the quality of our logistics to guarantee quality from manufacture through to delivery. Our products must be loaded and secured correctly for transportation to guarantee they are delivered to customers in excellent condition. To assist this process, we undertake audits on our logistics suppliers which allows us to monitor the services provided and maintain our quality expectations.
Further to the quality processes and procedures we have in place, we offer full traceability by marking our products using inkjet or hot-stamp marking of information such as material, line, size, specification, operator and date. This allows us to quickly identify and address any quality issues if they arise by linking the product back to the testing process undertaken on each job.
We manufacture in accordance to key industry standard specifications to ensure safe supply of products into the Gas, Water and Waste Water industries. In order to maintain our compliance, our processes are subject to internal and external audits, undertaken every six to twelve months.
We undertake full route-cause analysis on any quality issues detected, utilising our existing testing and checks to provide a clear and comprehensive picture of the issue, whilst facilitating quick and efficient solution.
Russ Brown, Director of Operations adds “We frequently review our quality processes and undergo continuous improvement to ensure the quality of our products exceed the expectations of our customers. With these processes in place, we aim to continue to contribute positively to the quality of polyethylene pipe networks throughout the industry.”
Peak Pipe Systems Ltd – Professional Polyethylene Solutions
Visit Peak Pipe Systems website for more information on their products and services.
We invited Dave Benson – Quality Manager to tell us all about how Amey monitors and continually improves the quality of their work for customers.
Electrofusion welding, what does it involve?
The process of jointing two polyethylene (PE) pipes together by means transferring heat through an electrofusion coupler which fuses both ends together.
What is a JCI score?
Joint Confident Index (JCI) is the score given to each weld based on a set of criteria in line with industry standards and best practice.
Is this technique innovative? or is it standard across the industry?
Electrofusion welding is widespread practice in the industry, however the use of a joint integrity system is only mandated by a few water companies in the United Kingdom.
The difference is by using this system we can evidence to the client that quality has been achieved. Thus, providing a level of assurance against leakages and defects. Furthermore, a GPS record of each weld is captured, providing the client with greater visibility of their network.
How do we maintain high-level quality? What have we done differently to achieve 97.8%?
During 2018, we installed over 24,000 joints, achieving a leading average JCI score of 97.8%.
To achieve this exceptional result, we took a holistic approach to our management system which can be exemplified using the PDCA cycle:
Producing an electrofusion procedure with the customer for all other major contractors to work to.
Stipulating requirements early when procuring new subcontractors to assist on schemes.
Meeting with subcontractors to set out expectations and set up required systems.
Competency checks of both supervisors and operatives.
Supporting subcontractors through, set-up, supervision and ensuring compatibility of equipment.
Providing onsite support as required for new contractors to maintain performance levels.
All subcontractors working toward the same goal by acting on non-conformance alerts immediately.
Providing feedback to enhance software capabilities to improve usability of the system.
Tailored reports for Amey, Subcontractors and customers to review performance.
Audits through site inspection of installed quality.
Monthly performance review with subcontractors.
Onsite training support.
Welder of the month recognition in partnership with customers.
Development e-mails to individual operators as required, Tool Box Talks and Safe Start briefings.
Monthly flash reports to sub-contractors and Project.
What were our JCI scores previously?
2015 | 83.40%
2016 | 89.00%
2017 | 95.30%
2018 | 97.80%
David Benson, our Quality Manager adds, “This is a team effort on a large scale. I would like to thank the operatives for the pride taken in their work, Amey and subcontractors supervisors for the monitoring and proactive approach in dealing with non-conformities, senior managers for their leadership and engagement with the teams and our client for working with us in raising the standards across the whole of the one supply chain.”
What are the benefits/positives that have come from achieving a high score?
We have provided a level of assurance to our client that can be quantified and evaluated to ensure longevity of their assets. Moreover, the benefits to Amey is improved programme delivery (by reducing remedial works), cost savings by getting it right first time and continually improving our reputation, which allows us to win more work.
A Quality Reputation
PSS HIRE is proud to be the UK and Ireland’s leading specialist supplier of products and services to the utilities, civil engineering, pipeline, infrastructure and associated sectors. With over 25 years’ experience, we have built a reputation of continually supplying industry leading equipment and providing a range of added value services to our customers.
Our parent company, A-Plant, was one of the first hire companies in the UK to achieve the ISO 9001 accreditation for Quality Management; pushing the boundaries to ensure we achieve a quality product has always been a top priority.
Our customers are delivering highly complex projects, with various time pressures and critical deadlines to achieve. Our ability to deliver both a quality product and service is essential to our customers. They require innovative, reliable equipment to increase their productivity, and a proactive and reliable service that they can count on, time and again.
High levels of product investment mean PSS HIRE has the youngest fleet in the industry!
PSS HIRE invest heavily in new products and equipment each year; working closely with our customers to understand exactly what type of products they need for their projects. Through regular investment we ensure that our fleet remains the youngest in the industry and we are able tailor our investment to support our customers on a project by project basis.
Our skilled and knowledgeable Engineers support our Customers individual needs.
Whilst our equipment is widely acknowledged as being the most up to date in the industry, the real factor behind our success is our experienced and highly knowledgeable team. PSS HIRE has over 200 dedicated staff who work throughout the UK. We work closely with the leading product manufacturers and suppliers to ensure we are at the cutting edge of technology and product development.
Our highly trained Engineers and Technicians can provide the necessary technical support to our customers to ensure they hire the most suitable equipment and achieve their own quality targets. PSS HIRE Engineers and Technicians are fully trained and certified by the industry’s leading manufacturers, including McElroy, Fusion Equipment, TT UK, Advance Welding, Harrington Generators, Ritmo, Tesmec, MSA, Centurion, and more. We are often invited to join contractors in the Utilities sector during the planning stage of their projects to develop bespoke product solutions which allow them to get projects finished ahead of time, on budget and with as little disruption as possible.
Successful Asset Management leads to Quality Assurance.
Our established asset management system is at the heart of how we achieve a well-maintained, high quality fleet of equipment. Every piece of equipment has a unique asset number and is only allowed back into the fleet and out for hire once it has been inspected, tested, serviced and had any necessary repairs undertaken. This fully auditable process means that we can demonstrate to our customers that they are hiring a safe and quality product. This is an essential factor in ensuring they can pass the same levels of safety and quality on to their own customers.
Our larger pieces of equipment have the very latest security technology fitted to them to prevent theft, including A-Trak GPS and CESAR datatag identification. This allows our customers to have complete control over their hired equipment; they can monitor the equipment’s location using our internet-based portal, whilst also benefiting from a host of critical performance data to improve product efficiency.
PSS HIRE is always striving to improve quality for our customers.
Recognising that a high level of quality assurance and customer service is critical to our customers, we introduced PSS Projects, a new initiative which allows us to fully integrate into our customers project teams for their complex large diameter polyethylene pipe projects.
This dedicated team works in partnership with the customer from the project inception to select the best products and technology available on the market, helping customers to overcome specific project challenges. Critical to the success of this team is our chance to get feedback from the customer to help influence how we can best support them and others on future projects.
PSS HIRE is much more than an equipment supplier, we believe the only way to improve future quality in the industry is to provide a customer-focused service, based on the principals of partnership, innovation and collaboration.
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