It is generally accepted that the only way to compete successfully in today’s engineering and manufacturing sectors is to maintain uncompromisingly high standards in safety and quality. A company’s SHEQ (Safety, Health, Environment and Quality) strategy is driven by both business imperatives and environmental awareness and legislation.
For Rand-Air, adhering to internationally recognised standards of excellence has long been a pivotal part of our business ethos. Accordingly, we attained our ISO 9001, ISO 14 000 and OHS (Occupational Health and Safety) certification way back in 2000.
“We are proud of our safety track record which shows no accidents in the past ten years,” notes Bongani Thobela, Rand-Air’s SHEQ manager. “However, having good systems in place is just part of the solution. We have instituted a rigorous programme at Rand-Air to ensure that we not only maintain our high standards, but that we are, collectively, on a path of continuous improvement.”
Apart from quarterly internal audits and annual external audits to ensure health and environmental compliance, Rand-Air has instituted monthly ‘mission directed’ team meetings to build on the company’s SHEQ values and ensure commitment across the board.
“Effective communication is essential in assessing and minimising risk, setting common objectives and determining company priorities,” says Bongani.
“Our core value at Rand-Air is excellence,” he continues. “This means continuously looking for better ways of doing things, with the overarching aims of reducing costs, improving efficiencies and enhancing overall safety and quality.
“This is why Rand-Air has implemented an on-line system for employees to log their own improvements in relation to their work activities. We emphasise that, while no-one is perfect, it is so important to have targets. We take even the most minor improvements seriously – because collectively, small, incremental improvements make for company-wide excellence.”
Bongani notes that one of the biggest challenges at Rand-Air is to ensure alignment with customers’ changing requirements in terms of their own SHEQ standards.
“Ensuring that we adhere strictly to our customers’ requirements entails a focus on training our own technicians, and frequent on-site quality checks,” he says.
“Part of the SHEQ package is a healthy, comfortable and user-friendly work environment. External audits ensure that we comply with local environmental and OHS legislation in terms of hygiene, noise levels, ergonomics, lighting (lux levels), among others.
“At Rand-Air we have proved that employees who are healthy, comfortable and motivated result in a thriving company. This takes years of focused, hard work in all areas of SHEQ management,” Bongani concludes.