A Profile of Stephen Keeping, HSEQ Manager at IDL
Fastlane and Door Detective products are designed and built for the global market, so adhering to international standards is a critical element of our business, as well ensuring we continue to provide high quality, cutting edge products that will satisfy and inspire our clients and end users.
The entire team is responsible for IDL achieving these standards, but we also have a dedicated HSEQ Manager – Stephen Keeping – keeping (😊) us all accountable and ensuring we integrate good safety, environmental and quality practices into all aspects of our operations, with a focus on improving performance at every opportunity.
Below, Stephen shares why environmental concerns are so close to his heart and highlights some of the changes he has seen at IDL since he joined in 1997.
All hands on deck!
When I joined IDL over 20 years ago, having completed my studies in Electronic Engineering, there were only eight people working for the company. As a small business, everyone pitched in and helped out where they could, which fostered a great team culture. It also meant that I was able to experience a variety of roles, having a hand in making and delivering the turnstiles from beginning to end. From soldering components and assembling products, to writing software and being involved in the testing; I have even installed products on-site and supported customers with technical queries.
My move towards HSEQ started when I became the Quality Manager in 2009. Having experience working across various departments really helped me in this role, as I understood the range of challenges faced by the different teams.
Initially, I was in charge of controlling processes and documents, but this quickly expanded to include occupational health and waste control. My role evolved fully into HSEQ Manager in 2011, when IDL saw the need for a dedicated safety officer. I was more than happy to step up and complete the intensive NEBOSH General Certificate course required for the role.
Procedures that bring us together
During my time at IDL, the company and team has grown exponentially. For some companies, a consequence of this kind of growth is greater internal departmentalisation but, recognising the importance of retaining the team culture IDL is built on, we’ve taken steps to avoid this by placing even greater importance on communication between teams.
Our quality procedures define how often our departmental meetings must happen and the level of information that must be shared throughout the company. This helps to bring different teams together and makes sure that no department operates alone.
Keeping up with new regulations and legislation
As well as IDL changing as a company, there have also been significant changes in my areas over the years. In health and safety, the biggest shift for us has been moving from simply meeting the legal requirements, to developing a management system that actively reduces risks and finds the root causes of issues. For example, we have now reduced the number of harmful chemicals used in the business by over two thirds.
From a quality point of view, I would say the biggest change was when the ISO 9001 standard was revised in 2015, and became more risk-based. This was a great step up for quality in business, as the new standard is far more reflective of modern management practices. We fully embraced the changes at IDL and transitioned to ISO 9001:2015 eleven months before the deadline. We also hold an international environmental accreditation (ISO 14001:2015) and are working towards the occupational health and safety equivalent (ISO 45001:2018) with the aim to have a completely integrated system by the end of 2020.
As you might expect, environmental legislation is regularly changing around the world, and we need to keep checking and evaluating our requirements, as do our customers. What we make will ultimately end up as electronic waste, and we do our best to design them so that end users can dispose of them in an appropriate manner. Given the nature of our products, they have often been exempt from legislation in the past. However, we have been disposing of in-house waste electronics responsibly for over a decade, and I hope that our customers will be inspired to do the same.
Global carbon emissions have been in the headlines for some time, and we are proud that our strategic choice of suppliers means that our products have a very low carbon footprint up until the point of delivery. Customers have the option of using air freight to receive their turnstiles quickly, but I’m always happy to see when the option of sea freight is selected.
Ensuring that IDL is environmentally responsible and that as a company we handle our waste appropriately is a personal as well as a professional standard for me, as environmental issues have always been close to my heart. I remember being horrified as a child when I realised that all of our rubbish just ended up in a big hole in the ground, and this sentiment has stuck with me. Every company and everybody needs to do their bit to help.
It’s also important to recognise that procedures are not static. As a business changes and evolves, the quality, environmental and occupational health procedures must also be regularly reviewed and developed. If the systems in place don’t adapt, people fail to use them and they become useless. I’m proud to work for a company which recognises this and understands that it’s about continual improvement.
Always aiming for extraordinary
IDL has a constant focus on quality, which has an obvious benefit for our customers. This doesn’t mean striving for an unachievable level of perfection, but rather that good systems produce consistency. If someone buys a set of turnstiles today, they can expect all of the pedestals to look and behave the same. If they buy more in a year, they again can be sure of the same level of aesthetics and behaviour. The same goes for the packaging, the documentation and the post-purchase support. With such premium products, we need to actively engage with these standards, as the best customers expect the best.
Some companies achieve the accreditations and think, “that’s it, we’re done”. At IDL, we believe that the accreditation is just the start of the journey. We could just aim for the standard and be ordinary or, we can use the standard to aim higher and be extraordinary.
Want to know more? Contact our team to arrange a visit to our showroom in West London for a live demonstration of our product range – call +44 (0)20 8890 5550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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