Quality, Safety and Environmental Excellence in Defence Coating: a year on from certification and public recognition

In the competitive industry of defence manufacturing and production, staying ahead of the curve requires not only innovation in product or service output but also a relentless commitment to quality, safety, and environmental management. One year after achieving ISO certification, Defence Coating Systems (DCS) has demonstrated a remarkable improvement in these critical areas. Having been featured in a Defence Connect Magazine article entitled “Certification in the defence industry — much more than just ticks in boxes” on the 1st of November 2022 following their audit and certification, DCS has continued to achieve transformation and improvement.

A Year Prior: The Journey Begins

Just a year before the monumental shift in DCS's operations, a Défence Connect magazine article highlighted the company's potential for growth but also underscored the importance of enhancing their quality, safety, and environmental management practices. The article acknowledged DCS's certification achievement and its value in the defence industry, but it also called attention to the need for ongoing continuous improvement.

ISO certification is a globally recognised standard for quality management systems. It signifies a commitment to delivering products and services of the highest quality while adhering to stringent safety and environmental protocols. Achieving ISO certification is not just an accolade but a testament to a company's dedication to excellence.

Improvements in Quality

DCS has held ISO 9001:2015 Quality certification for many years. The Company had previously implemented a robust Quality Management System that not only met the requirements of 9001 but also served to add value to the end output for clients and projects. The Company made substantial strides year-on-year in enhancing the quality-of-service delivery and overall output.

With a desire to add high level Safety and Environmental certification to its portfolio, a ground up rebuild of the Company’s entire Management System was sought. This would mean an even more robust and modern Integrated Management System that keep meet the requirements of ISO 45001:2018 (Safety) and ISO 14001:2015 (Environmental) in additional to the existing commitment to the principle and requirements of 9001.

The “re-build” process itself necessitated a comprehensive review of their existing quality management systems, leading to several positive changes in the field of quality management:

Standardized Processes: DCS implemented further standardized manufacturing and coating processes, ensuring consistency and repeatability in output.

Quality Control Measures: Rigorous quality control measures were introduced at various stages of production to identify and rectify defects promptly.

Customer Satisfaction: A renewed focus on customer feedback allowed DCS to understand their clients' needs better and incorporate them into their products and services.

These changes not only elevated product quality but also improved customer satisfaction, paving the way for strengthened customer relationships and repeat business.

Enhanced Safety Measures

In the defence sector, safety is paramount. The desire to achieve ISO certification in work health safety prompted DCS to reevaluate and improve their safety protocols across all parts of the Company:
Employee Training: Employees underwent extensive safety training programs, ensuring that they were well-versed in the latest safety procedures.

Equipment Upgrades: DCS invested in cutting-edge equipment and technology to protect their workforce and prevent accidents whilst maintaining strong output.
Emergency Response: Robust emergency response plans were devised and tested, ensuring a swift and effective response in case of unforeseen incidents. Key stakeholders in the community including neighbours were consulted with a view to a “safety-first” attitude and culture being rolled out. 
The emphasis on safety not only protected the well-being of DCS's workforce but also positioned the company as a responsible and dependable partner in the defence industry. Clients and industry partners can trust in DCS’ commitment to safety and security.

Environmental Management: A Greener Approach

Environmental sustainability is a growing concern in all sectors including defence. The goal of achieving Environmental ISO certification prompted DCS to reevaluate its environmental impact and adopt eco-friendly practices. The development of a top-down Environmental policy and system of managing environmental aspects and impacts led to a complete on site Initial Environmental Review. The purpose was to lay the foundation for “greener” and more friendly processes and practices including:

Reduced Waste: DCS implemented waste reduction strategies, minimizing their environmental footprint.
Energy Efficiency: Tracking energy consumption and engaging in a more closely monitored and controlled use of energy has led to a lower impact on the environment. 

Supply Chain Sustainability: DCS worked closely with suppliers to ensure that their materials and processes aligned with sustainable practices wherever possible.

Environmental Conscientious Workforce : DCS developed a culture that led to all workers and levels in the business keeping environmental impact at the front of their mind.

As a result of these changes, DCS has not only reduced its impact on the environment but has also positioned itself as an environmentally responsible company in an increasingly eco-conscious market. The Company holds further desires and plans to reduce its carbon footprint over time.

The Road Doesn’t End Though: Continued Improvement

The improvements that DCS has made in quality, safety, and environmental management a year on from appearing in Defence Connect Magazine are a testament to their commitment to excellence. However, they recognise that this journey is ongoing and never ends. Management has set the view that if you aren’t moving forward, you’re actually moving backwards. ISO certification has set the bar high, and DCS is determined to continue exceeding these standards. Year-to-year surveillance audits with the Company’s chosen certification body, TQCSI, as well as internal audits conducted in-house, will ensure standards are met and maintained.

Future plans for DCS

DCS’ commitment to improvement has led to further long-term plans for development and growth in the areas of quality, safety, and environmental management. These include continued investment in employee training to ensure that the workforce remains up to date with the latest industry standards and safety protocol. DCS will also maintain its focus on innovation, with a commitment to developing cutting-edge coating technologies that meet or exceed defence industry requirements. Furthermore, the company will persist in its efforts to reduce its environmental impact and explore new ways to adopt sustainable practices throughout its operations.

Défence Coating Systems' remarkable progress in quality, safety, and environmental management, one year after obtaining WHS and Environmental ISO certification, is a testament to their dedication to excellence. With a renewed focus on standardized processes, safety measures, and environmental sustainability, DCS has not only met industry standards but has also positioned itself as a leader in the defence manufacturing sector.

Dan Hadley
Post by Dan Hadley
October 23, 2023
With extensive corporate consultation experience across Australia, the US, UK, and Asia, Dan specialises in defence, manufacturing, and finance. He's a strategist with a background in risk and change management. A prolific academic writer, Dan has penned over 50 articles on Macroeconomics and related fields.