Stephanie Barnard – Head of Performance Management, Quality and Audit at Copart UK reveals just how achieving five ISO standards really does make a difference.
Copart has been the holder of ISO 27001 Information Security Management and ISO 14001 Environmental Management for a number of years now, as we have always recognised the importance of underlining our processes and practices with the appropriate standards to ensure the very best service delivery for our Customers.
It’s been this ethos that has been the driver to continue to achieve accreditations for our business practices and why our recent focus has been on achieving additional ISO standards.
Undertaking ISO standards at any time is a challenge, and when we signed up to do the certifications life was ‘normal’. It was before COVID-19, so we were planning on undertaking three on-site audits.
Obviously, as COVID dawned this had to be changed to work around the lockdown, so all our audits were undertaken remotely, adding another level of complexity we had not at first envisaged. It made it more of a challenge for us to explain what we did and even harder to show it.
Our auditors were all very accommodating, but I could not help but think that they thought they would have been turning up at a scrap yard with a large dog chained to the gate! By the end of the audits, we were able to demonstrate how we maintain a market-leading level of professionalism in all we do, with well-documented processes, policies and risk assessments, as we focus on continuous improvement and growth to meet our customers’ needs.
Preparation for the audit was important and I’m sure to the rest of the business it looked like we just selected the audit dates and undertook the assessments. In fact, we spent a lot of time collating our ‘evidence’ to be certain that we didn’t miss anything that we wanted to showcase.
When we decided to take on the challenge of the three additional ISO Standards, we selected standards that were not only relevant to us but would provide us with the opportunity to further enhance our services and provide our customers with the reassurance that we do this at a very high, accredited standard. Each of these ISO awards brings their own specific benefits but of course, there are links between them all and they work well together as a suite, sharing some similar outcomes.
Selecting the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Standard was an easy decision for us as we take service quality very seriously.
Over a three-day audit, we were required to demonstrate that we have captured our processes in order to operate effectively, we have strong partnership relationships with our customers, we have the right resources and leadership and that we focus on continuous improvement.
These elements have been, and will continue to be, essential to the way in which we operate so maintaining this standard is just part of what we do. A real strong point for us in this audit was the way in which we demonstrated our rigorous documentation and adherence to audited processes.
At Copart, we have always taken the safety and wellbeing of our teammates very seriously. Whether it be in the UK wide Operation Centres operating large machinery in potentially hazardous environments, or in our offices and contact centres. Underscoring our best practices with ISO 45001: Occupational Health and Safety Management Standard is an excellent way to ensure we are doing everything possible to minimise risk to our people and provide reassurance that we take their safety very seriously. We were required to demonstrate that our risk assessments were robust and continuously monitored and that we have processes in place to ensure that our knowledge on legislation is up to date.
ISO 31000 Risk Management is probably the lesser-known of the ISO standards but one we definitely wanted to focus on achieving. As we run a centralised UK Health and Safety department, we felt our governance was already strong, but this standard requires you to think much wider.
We now have broader, updated corporate risk registers that assess risk connected to potential loss of revenue, reputation, land and even elements like weather events. As part of the audit, we had some interesting discussions about the role we play in mitigating risk for our customers and what this looks like in real life…not just written in documents.
As well as corporate risk registers, we have also further developed our operational risk registers that look at very detailed plans for a ‘what if’ scenario, which makes us well prepared and organised but also requires us to continually check we are making the necessary changes to prevent risk in the first place.
In summary, although we have always been committed to challenging the way we do things under our ‘continuous improvement’ ethos at Copart, achieving these ISO standards has again enabled us to level up.
Achieving and continuing this high standard is vital, not just to us and our teammates at Copart, but to all our customers, buyers and sellers.
For those in the industry, and for those outside of it, I hope this brief insight gives a glimpse as to why we feel ISO is such a vital tool for our business to achieve and maintain.
Deploying and adapting our existing BCP during COVID was an incredibly reassuring illustration of how prepared we were, but achieving the relevant ISO standards gives us the independent external validation of lots of hard work. We are incredibly proud of our accomplishments (dare I say we did high five!) even if it is in our DNA to continuously improve!
See Copart’s awards and accolades at www.copart.co.uk/content/uk/en/awards-and-accolades