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Solar Solve Marine’s customers and suppliers know that they have in place the SSMQA Quality Standard and work to it rigidly; having been awarded their first BS5750 Quality Assurance Accreditation by the British Standards Institute way back in 1992. Since then the South Shields based manufacturer of anti-glare roller screens and specialist roller blinds for ships has held a Quality Assurance accreditation continuously for the last 22 years, without ever having a Non-Conformity raised during external audits, which is a significant achievement for any organisation.

In 2000, when BS5750 was changed to ISO9001:2000 the Directors thought that the new Standard was not as relevant to their operations as the one that they already had in place and subsequently decided to create their own SSMQA (Solar Solve Marine Quality Assured) Standard in 2003.

It was based on the accepted ISO9001 Quality Standard of the time and as well as being Internally Audited every 6 months, it was checked out externally at least once a year and occasionally 3 times in a year by assessors from Lloyds, ABS and DNV-GL when they were on site for Type Approval Audits. All of them were always impressed.

However, time moves on and as a result of recent changes to Type Approval requirements by the leading Classification Societies, only ISO9001:2008 Quality Management Systems that have been certified by officially recognised and accredited organisations will be acceptable for Type Approval applications in future.

Having an effective system already in place Solar Solve just updated it in certain respects to comply with the new requirements and an acceptable system was created. The opportunity was taken to re-write some of the old Quality Procedures and the Quality Manual and to re-design many of the documents that had evolved over the last 10 years. The task that was undertaken and effectively completed by Quality Officer, Mark Weatherburn, who received a great deal of help and encouragement from Internal Quality Auditor, Carl Johnson and some members of the Solar Solve team including MD Julie Lightfoot.

During his assessment visit at the end of September, the ABS (American Bureau of Shipping) Quality Evaluations auditor was very impressed with everyone and within 2 weeks the company received its Quality Management System Certificate of Conformity.

John Lightfoot , Company Chairman commented, “Solar Solve exports over 90% of sales every year to customers in the global marine industry and so far our products have been dispatched to over 80 countries. They have to meet Classification Society Type Approval Standards and it was very important that we gained this Certificate of Conformance.”

“On behalf of a very proud Board of Directors I thank all of the Solar Solve team for their efforts in gaining this award and we congratulate them on yet another significant success for our outstanding organisation”.

Top Image – The Solar Solve team of 1992 proudly show off their BS5750 Quality Assurance certificate issued by BSI.

Solar Solve Marine ’ s Internal Quality Auditor, Carl Johnson; Managing Director, Julie Lightfoot and Quality Manager, Mark Weatherburn admire the company ’s new ISO9001:2008 Quality Management Certificate of Conformance that was issued by ABS (American Bureau of Shipping) Quality Evaluations.