Improving environmental management processes through matrix certification

During the financial year 2020/21, nine of our operational sites in Germany, Austria and Switzerland became ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 certified under one coordinated audit process. As a result, we have achieved a matrix certification, which simplifies processes between the countries, saves audit costs and time, nonetheless it increases customer satisfaction.

ISO 14001 is the most widely used international standard for environmental management systems (EMS), that helps to better manage and control environmental processes, reduce negative impacts and ensure legal compliance. ISO 14001 is accompanied by ISO 45001, which additionally covers topics related to Occupational Health & Safety, and ISO 9001 is about Quality Management.

In the first year of the certification process the focus was among others on the implementation of environmental management processes, reporting, measurement, REACH and RoHS regulations, as well as business continuity management, including risk analysis and crisis action plans.

Despite the Covid-19 situation, which added even more challenges to this generally complex audit process, we have successfully reached our goal. The dedicated and professional work of the Quality Managers and other team members, and furthermore the already existing quality-oriented mindset of our employees all contributed to this.

One of the biggest benefits of having a matrix certification is that we need to work only with one certification body, which audits one system instead of the three, that we previously had. Therefore, this adjustment obviously resulted in cutting expenses and saving time. In addition, as now we use standardized processes and tools, the cooperation between countries in this area is also easier and more efficient. And finally, as processes have been simplified through harmonization, we are able to respond faster and better to  customer requests regarding quality and sustainability.

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