Every SEMA Distributor Company (SDC) is to be independently audited on quality in a pioneering scheme launched by the racking sector's trade body.
It’s the first scheme of its type for the storage industry, and all SDCs must be independently audited on 25 quality measures to retain their membership status.
Every member who has passed the audit will be able to prove that their products and services meet the SEMA QA standard by way certification.
External quality assurance company QCS International is currently auditing all 30 or so SDCs following a successful pilot programme in late 2013, and the process is on target for completion before May. Every member will then be reassessed every three years in two key areas: its process control of actual projects on the ground; and proof of controlled administration, including the correct insurance.
Companies must achieve 60% or above to pass, and those achieving 90%+ are awarded the Highly Commended status.
Should an SDC be seen to be failing, the QCS-led audit will help that member to produce a satisfactory improvement plan to meet the required standards. If when re-audited four months later, the company still fails to measure up, then the membership will be declined To re-join, they must improve and re-apply.
Chairman of the SEMA Distributor Group, Jonathan Bennett, said: "Many end-users are confused by the volume of information out there and in every industry, rogue practices are likely to exist. Our experience shows us that some don’t know which standards that their existing storage schemes are designed to. Others are fed up of the time it takes to check the details on a storage firm’s quality credentials. Many wish someone else had done the leg work on health and safety, use of trained labour and correct storage design so they can sign on the dotted line.
"An SDC audit certificate takes away that element of risk and sets that company apart from the rank and file. Each audit certificate is proof to the customer that their new storage systems will be correctly designed using new products, are installed by trained and qualified teams to meet HSE standards.
"Customers should remember that no-one has better access to SEMA technical information. Our members supply storage systems that are correctly designed to SEMA codes of practice."
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End users are recommended to use the SEMA Distributor QA checklist as a guide when purchasing storage systems.
The SEMA Distributor Quality Assurance Checklist
- Are the HSE’s correct health & safety measures are in place? Are risk assessments and method statements (RAMS) issued on every job?
- Is the distributor company using only SEIRS trained and qualified installers?
- Are projects correctly designed to the SEMA Code of Practice? Will the project be able to display a SEMA load notice?
- Are you sure your racking is brand new? Is the resale of used racking promoted?
- Does the company have appropriate insurance policies and work to up-to-date industry standards and legislation?