Wymondham-based mechanical services contractor Pruce Newman has proved the benefits of adopting a Continuous Improvement culture during a recent audit by Achilles – the global supply chain community. The company scored an average of 91% for the way in which it manages the four key indicators of Health & Safety, Quality, Environmental Impact and Corporate Social Responsibility, and an average of 99% for the way in which it demonstrates these values on site.

Operations Director Tim Moorse, who has responsibility for Compliance and Continuous Improvement within Pruce Newman, said:

“Following recommendations from previous audits, we’ve made a number of changes across the business to improve our procedures and practices. These have been very positively received, and the improved score in this most recent audit by Achilles proves their value. I must thank everyone in the business who has helped us achieve these improvements – without the support of everyone in the organisation, we would not have been able to demonstrate the results that we have.”

Pruce Newman have successfully maintained Achilles’ stringent Category B Verification standard for a number of years, believing this to be of greater value to clients than a simple registration on the database. This requires Pruce Newman to undergo an in-depth external audit of its management systems, policies and procedures, and to prove that it delivers on these through the assessment of site activities.

Pruce Newman is frequently audited by third parties, particularly as the company holds accreditation to ISO9001, ISO14001, OHSAS18001, ISO3834 and BSEN1090 – all internationally recognised standards. Pruce Newman is also regularly audited by its customers, to ensure that it can continue to deliver pipework and steelwork fabrication and installation services in some of the most demanding environments in the South and East of England – including Upper Tier COMAH sites and sensitive installations.

Some businesses may find this type of audit regime to be a distraction, however as Tim Moorse comments:

“These audits provide an opportunity for Pruce Newman to learn and develop, and the feedback from third-party and customer assessments is invaluable. Not only do we gain insight into how we can improve our own performance, but we also get to understand how we rate against our competitors and other contractors that our customers work with. The key findings from all the audits we receive are integrated into Pruce Newman’s Continuous Improvement processes, and help us move forward as a business.”

Pruce Newman has adopted a formal Continuous Improvement process as a key part of its strategy to develop its service offer and business performance. To ensure engagement at all levels of the organisation, the family-owned business has applied its trademark inclusive style – welcoming any and all suggestions, feedback and commentary on how any aspect of the business could be improved, no matter how large or small the issue. Representatives from sites, offices and the leadership team assess the merits of each suggestion during regular Continuous Improvement meetings, and decisions on whether to adopt, decline or defer a Continuous Improvement suggestion are fed back to the originator and the business as a whole, with the reasons why.

Nothing is off-limits – topics so far have ranged from the quality of wire brushes to IT improvements and HR changes, but the key consideration is the benefit to the business that a change would bring. These changes may lead to an improvement in quality, productivity, employee satisfaction, environmental impact or health and safety – all key areas of focus for Pruce Newman. As Tim Moorse puts it:

“Many businesses grow, and lose focus on the small things as their horizons expand. By actively encouraging suggestions and improvement ideas at all levels of the business, Pruce Newman are able to ensure that the small issues don’t become big problems, and we know that we’re operating ahead of our competition by the external feedback we receive. This not only gives us confidence, but in the fast-changing markets that we work in, it gives our customers confidence that Pruce Newman will always be able to meet their needs.”