Northern Marine Group, a global family of ship management and marine service companies headquartered in Glasgow, is implementing a centralised, multinational quality management system using EQMS by Qualsys.
We spoke to Managing Director Philip Fullerton, Group Business Controller Eileen Leith and Marine Compliance Director Ken McConnell about their journey to world class development.
Qualsys: Why have you decided to implement an electronic quality management system?
Philip: Northern Marine has grown significantly over the past few years through organic growth and acquisitions.
This has given us a number of challenges operating the company using a variety of different systems.
So it was our intention to standardise and implement a single-source quality management system across our global companies to aid our business development and growth.
Qualsys: How will EQMS help you do that?
Philip: EQMS provides us with a common platform to host our management system and allows us to digitise our document workflows.
It will allow us to enhance visibility of process management and risk assessment to give us greater business intelligence.
And the common database gives us enhanced control and visibility of our suppliers across our various business entities.
Qualsys: Northern Marine Group is a diverse family of businesses. Which companies will be using EQMS?
Philip: Employees across Northern Marine in our IT, commercial, finance, HR, business control and secretarial departments will all have immediate access to the system.
The system will then be rolled out to all business units who aren't directly involved in our ship management activities.
Qualsys: Why did you choose us?
Ken: After reviewing our options and looking at the various systems on the market, it very quickly became apparent to us that the best fit for our business was EQMS - particularly with its flexible range of individual and integrated modules, and also the flexibility of its workflow and dashboard capabilities.
We see EQMS as an asset to the business and also a great benefit to our employees.
Having a structured platform will help us, as a group, expand, and having the continuity of the group working together is important for us.
Qualsys: What do you want to achieve with EQMS?
Ken: Success for us would be timely roll-out of our EQMS modules and buy-in from our employees.
What we aim to do with EQMS first is to move as many document flows as we can into a digital format, so we can realise the efficiencies and benefits of the system.
EQMS fits very well with our current tool set.
We will be retaining our electronic safety management system (ESMS), which is Blueline and InForum, for all our vessel documentation - the reason being that this is our established and mature safety management system which we need for our ships.
But for all other documents, we'll be transferring them to EQMS.
Another advantage of EQMS is it can integrate with our other systems like Agresso. So we'll do that on a case-by-case basis as the business requires.
EQMS provides us with a common platform to host our management system and allows us to digitise our document workflow processes.
It allows us to enhance our visibility of process management and risk assessment to give us greater business intelligence.
And the common database will give us better control of suppliers across our various business entities.
- Philip Fullerton, Managing Director, Northern Marine
Qualsys: We think it's important that all EQMS users find benefit in accessing the system, not just senior managers. How do you think day-to-day work will become easier for Northern Marine staff?
Eileen: Employees can log into the system and access all the policies, procedures and related documents they need in one easy-to-use system.
That will result in less hard copy paperwork, less manual signatures, and a more efficient workflow for each process.
We see EQMS as a great asset to the business and also a great benefit to our employees.
Having a structured platform will help us expand, and having the continuity of the Group working together is important for us.
- Ken McConnell, Marine Compliance Director,
Qualsys: How will you be kick-starting your EQMS project?
Eileen: We want all employees to start by accessing the system, making use of the tutorial videos on our bespoke landing page, and to start thinking how the system can add value to their daily work and the work we do for our clients.
Download our business case toolkit to find a quality system that works for you, know what questions to ask and get internal buy-in.