Lea-Ann Penaluna – Team Leader
appa me ltd
appa me | appa life | appa training | appa fitness | appa kids
A simple task which then led to overseeing the development, population and functionality of our in-house ISO database, part of this meant checking that the information we started to upload to the database was part of the appa current processes from bookings through to invoicing, customer surveys to recruitment.
I also liaised with our external consultants to ensure our database was completed correctly for an external audit.
The magnitude of this process became quickly apparent and my colleague Laura Gilby (Language Services Team Leader) became involved to overseeing the competence matrix, which was a job in itself!
As a company our aim was to demonstrate with gaining the ISO 9001, our commitment to quality services and our ability in maintain an internationally recognised standard generally held by much bigger companies. It also gives us the opportunity to showcase that ever since our inception transparent processes which are client driven are at the heart of what we do and we have found through this process the actual consistency in our productivity to be seamless across all our services.
With the National Business Standards (NBS) database we have a centralised matrix which supports our on-going formal reviews of the processes that supports our service delivery, helps us to continually regulate and improve our services towards delivering a high level of customer satisfaction whilst complying with relevant regulations to all our clients.
Upon first contact with the ISO database – I was a little taken back! However, once I began the process of collating information to input the data I began to really see all the ‘behind the scenes’ work that goes into the foundation of appa me limited. Just from the general insurances, variety of processes and data software protection that is included.
Area’s that as a Support Services Team Leader I would not come into contact with in my day to day role in gaining this knowledge I have a stronger understanding and appreciation of how important sound foundations are to make the company work and can now appreciate the links in what we do and how we do it.
The areas that I have particular interest in seeing develop are:
Customer Satisfaction Process – with the use of customer surveys and client reviews being able to instantly see the results populate and comparing to past results in continuously striving for the highest standard.
Makes you feel good to see it in black and white.
Competence, learning and communication process – we’ve always discussed client’s needs, and as a team leader I have been privy to management meetings where actions are agreed and outcomes discussed but with this matrix there’s an instant reporting and to have this in place gives us the tools to be even more effective in our client response, and monitoring staff progress in regards to mandatory training.
A key feature which we have already benefited in using is the newsletter, so the entire appa team can see the outcome from their efforts and commitments to appa clients and the industry we love.
The audit was far smoother than I had expected, considering the volume of data that goes into the running and standardisation of appa!
The internal audit was carried out with my colleagues Kyla Aitken (Director of Operations) and Laura Gilby and each process was examined in finite detail – we enjoyed refining our processes and actually was able to find some areas where we instantly improved. In fact during the formal audit this worked to our advantage and with acknowledgement from the inspector has set the bar much higher than the average ISO approved company.
The Good, The Bad and The Struggle
Over the course of the year, there have been some up’s and downs with implementing the data and using the system. Here are some of the memorable issues we faced over the last year:
- At the start of the year, we discovered our current ISO consultant would be leaving, therefore starting up and new working relationship with a new advisor.
- At one point we were not able to access our ISO system, this was due to being open on a different format and being saved, luckily this was fixed by our new consultant with the assistance from NBS’s IT department.
- After spending months implementing staff training to the competence matrix it was decided that the template in place simply was not working for us, this was deleted (much to Laura’s horror!) we then appa’d it, and changed the fields, by theme, and colour incorporating further training and making the matrix a real effective tool to work with.
- During the internal audit process we discovered that some of the hyperlinks were not working! We quickly fixed this, kept calm and carried on.
Our first audit is complete and, well you know, we smashed it! But this is the start of our journey, we have many more reviews to undertake and processes to introduce to support our growth, we look forward to continually raising the standards for all deaf and disabled people in all walks of life and shift perspectives on what being a service provider truly means.
Bring it on.