ISO 17025 audit ready with competence plans

IKM Labs delivers on the need to document competence

IKM Laboratorium is a knowledge enterprise with 70 employees within calibration, repair and rental. All calibrations are conducted acording to known standards with audit trails referencing national and international norms.

Acccordingly the company is ISO 17025 and 9001 certified, with a strong focus on quality assurance and continuous improvement. In order to demonstrate and document competence, IKM started using Dossier in January, 2014.

The need to demonstrate and document competence

"The basis of our procurement was the annual review process under the auspices of the Norwegian Accreditation Board, where there is a need to document quality, specifically related to training and training plans according to ISO 17025, but also according to ISO 9001, explains Cato Jansen, Section Manager for Sales and Marketing.

"ISO 17025 is a standard that deals with enterprises that operate within calibration, in which a basic element is competence. The objective of accreditation is for companies to document quality. This occurs through a national accreditation body, such as UKAS in the UK, or NATA in Australia. Accreditation bodies enter at a procedure level, and monitor your description of how you conduct a task. Once they are approved in one country, enterprises are automatically approved in all countries that are associated with the accreditation scheme - and thus they can compete globally. In our field, accreditation is completely business critical," he explains.

"Moreover, it is of course important for us to be able to demonstrate and document competences in our dialogue with customers. Especially within larger framework contracts, there is a need to demonstrate e.g. how many employees have the skills to conduct a certain type of work."

"We had all the information", Jansen says. "The challenge was that it was spread across several locations, and was often in different formats. It was costly to manage, and also difficult to show plans and status for several employees and departments in a simple and graphically appealing way."

Wanted a specialist system for competences - but benefits from a broader solution

"We began with a requirement specification that we shared with a number of vendors that we hoped could be able to help us."

"We contemplated going broader and acquiring a more comprehensive HR system, but chose to be sharper and focus more narrowly on what was most important to us - documenting competences and competence plans."

"Through acquiring Dossier, we of course acquired much more with the purchase. We received updated CV's, and a system to conduct employee and development discussions."

From 0 to 60 competence plans

Jansen happily shares his experiences with future users of the solution.

"To work structurally with competence plans proved to be a learning curve. It was a challenge to begin without codified competence plans, but once there was agreement in what one could call the respective competencies, the staff was divided into appropriate groups, and a proper level of detail was found."

"The challenge with Dossier was not the fact that the solution could not manage high complexity - rather, it was the opposite. The problem was that there were so many opportunities that we had to make sure we kept it simple."

"The group "all employees" has shown itself to be especially useful," he elaborates. "It has made it possible to manage the learning related to HMS, onboarding of new employees, and much more."

"We currently have 50-60 competence plans for only 70 employees - that says a lot about the range of tasks undertaken by our employees, and the breadth of competences the enterprise possesses." 

Documented quality

"We sell competence, therefore, it is important to demonstrate it. Thus, it is satisfying that Dossier contributes towards visually creating competence and competence plans, in a manner that is clear and convincing."

From a purely operative perspective, we also see that it has become far easier to delegate the responsibility for learning, as well as assigning and following up on competence plans - not least because this works as a natural part of the performance appraisals and development discussions that are managed through the solution.

"The most important thing for us is still  that the solution does exactly what we wanted from the beginning," Jansen concludes. "Dossier effectively and reliably documents and demonstrates competences, training and training plans for accreditation bodies as well as customers."