Verifying Quality – Eurofins Auditing Ontec Oy

Each autumn Ontec goes trough series of audits. Some related to our different Quality System Management, some made by our customers. Preparation and planning starts sometimes months ahead of the actual audit. This time Eurofins Expert Services Oy was conducting a surveillance audit of the QMS ISO 9001 certification, after which we had an opportunity to get to know our auditor Jouni Aalto and his organisation better.

ISO 9001 – the best-known standard and management system in the world

ISO 9001 standard is recognised all over the world. The philosophy behind the standard is to lead with continual improvement. This is the reason why the standard is such a great tool for improving the business and processes in a high-tech company such as Ontec. Improvement is not left to chance when independent experts verify everything is done as it should be. “Valid certification gives you a competitive edge and demonstrates that a company complies with the requirements of the standard”, Lead Auditor Jouni Aalto of Eurofins sums up.

Ontec and ISO 9001

Aalto has been auditing Oy since 2014, so he has had time to develop a deeper understanding of how Ontec manages its business. “Ontec develops the company in a controlled and systematic manner. Have there been any non-conformities, noticing and dealing with them has helped to make the operations more systematic. For example, document handling has become more controlled”, says Aalto.  “It has been pleasant to carry out the audit at Ontec Oy as a company. We have received the required information from Ontec on time regarding non-conformities discovered during the audits and related corrective actions. At the moment it is particularly nice to notice how customer-driven the company is – sometimes one would hope to find more of that attitude in Finnish companies.”

Jouni Aalto

Education: Engineer in IT Technology.

Has worked for a long time in mid-management in the electronics industry.

Has been working in auditing for the past 10 years. Currently works as Lead Auditor at Eurofins in Finland.

As a hobby enjoys sailing and motorcycling with his wife.

About auditor’s work

Auditor has to meet with certain criteria, established in ISO standards.  Auditor qualifications are defined for each management system separately, like for Quality Management Systems (ISO 9001) and Environmental Systems (ISO 14001). ”Those interested in auditing as a career have to pass needed courses and practical training in order to gain qualifications to act as an auditor of any given standard. Besides that, you have to show industry-specific qualifications by passing a test or by competence demonstration. Auditor’s competence is also regularly monitored in order to keep the expertise of auditors at a high level. Even if auditing procedures have little changed over the years, the content and requirements have naturally evolved”, says Aalto.

Auditing at Eurofins

Lead Auditor Jouni Aalto from Eurofins ended up in the auditing business after the bubble burst in the electronic industry. After having worked 25 years as a supervisor, Aalto was keen to take up new career opportunities in auditing. ”Auditing is expert work. Long work history and the wide experience that comes with it help a lot”, states Aalto.

At Eurofins, each auditor has their regular customers they work with. Lines of business of the customers vary from the service industry to massive industrial objects. ”Personally I enjoy working with people. This work lets you study the inner makings of a company, the very core of their business. It is extremely interesting and satisfying work. Certification gives companies tools to manage their companies, as well as brings a certain systematic structure to their operations, deriving from the requirements of the standard and the audits. My personal observation has been that by a systematic business approach companies create a competitive edge for themselves”, advises Aalto.

Challenges of ISO 9001 certification

”The biggest challenges companies face when we are talking about ISO 9001 certification can be a fairly meager analysis of their business environment, and as a result of that – at times weak risk management. Some companies have challenges in setting their goals or measuring their operations. They have a hard time identifying the KPIs of their business”, Aalto sums up, when asked about what are the common challenges companies face with ISO 9001 certification. Sometimes it is hard to get started with the ISO certification process if the company lacks expertise or required time resources. ”If a company experiences difficulties with the first phases of the certification process, it might be worth considering an experienced consultant to step in”, recommends Aalto.

All Ontec certifications and approvals have been made by respected, international certification bodies. Successful cooperation with Eurofins and its predecessors has been continuing for more than a decade.