KKATT Consult Limited a dynamic Consulting and Safeguards Management firm that specialises in multi- disciplinary Engineering, Environmental, Social and Project Management Services started on the journey of implementing ISO 9001 in 2015.

The company was not looking at implementing ISO 9001 to just get a certificate but to support the organization streamline and easily manage its activities because there was a lot of fire fighting in implementing projects and in carrying out the day-to-day work.  

There was no systematic way of doing things and the company’s decision to implement ISO 9001:2015 came in a way to help the organization get organized by putting their systems in order, for instance setting out their objectives, the vision, mission and goals such that everyone in the company understands them and works towards the same vision and mission.

KKATT Consult Limited’s vision for example is ‘To Be The Preferred Consultant Of Choice For Clients, Partners And Employees.’ According to Mary Rwaboona Ajiji, Director Human Resource, their vision means, if the company gets a client, they must provide a quality service and in order to do so, their deliverables are reporting on time, assessing the risks involved in providing that service and in that way, they can give quality advice and service to the client.

Implementing ISO 9001 has helped the company put systems in place for the successful delivery of projects, for example, if the company gets a new client, they have setup a system that requires the organization to plan by among other things interrogating if the company has the right resources to execute the project which makes the entire team to work towards producing that specific service as required by the client.  

According to KKATT Consult Limited, the company applies ISO 9001 across the entire organization. For example, it starts with bidding for work. The company has setup a system which guides the business development department on the approach to be taken in bidding for projects. Once the company gets work, the project is handed over to the operations department which comprises the engineering and safeguards departments. The company has  a process on how projects should be executed be it designing a road, a building or conducting a certain study. The company has quality control checks throughout the life of the project to ensure alignment with the client’s terms of reference. At the end of each project, there is an internal review that ensures that the lessons learnt are properly documented for reference and improvement on future projects. The finance and administration department then comes in to support by providing the required resources.

According to Ms. Mary Rwaboona, applying ISO 9001 across the entire company as indicated above has helped KKATT Consult Limited improve  the quality of services which has earned the company repeat business from her clients. They all know that the company prioritizes providing quality services.

She said ISO 9001:2015 has also helped the company reduce on the cost of operation because the standard requires the company to plan, implement, monitor and measure. “With planning in place, you find yourself working within the budget and making some savings. The company even avoids repeating the work because you do work according to the plan unlike before where there’s no planning, you just realize that you forgot something then you have to go back and do that same thing again.” She said.

KKATT Consult Limited said it has been able to get referrals and new clients more so in the oil and gas sector. “We have been able to break into oil and gas because before we used to bid for work but we could not get any work.” Ms. Mary Rwaboona.

She said prospects in the oil and gas sector do not work with a company that does not have systems in place. She said clients in oil and gas always want to come and inspect your systems, how you work but that whenever they have come to their company, they have always found them organized and having everything in place which has earned the company business in the sector.

Similarly, implementing ISO 9001 according to Ms. Mary Rwaboona has helped the company get better international partners. She said there are times where a prospective partner wants to ascertain whether the company is following a quality management system and want to know if the company is certified and has systems in place. For their case, their answer has always been affirmative.

On the other hand, before implementing ISO 9001, they used to struggle to manage the company as management but now they are able to move in the same direction, they have the same objectives, and she thinks this has helped the operations of the company.

Implementing a quality management system has also taught KKATT Consult Limited’s management and staff how to plan. “As management we have learnt to have strategic plans in place and to review the strategic direction of the company. We also have plans on how to achieve those specific goals and objectives that we have put in place.” Ms. Mary Rwaboona said.

She said implementing the quality management system has taught them to make risk assessments. Risk based thinking is advocated for in ISO 9001. This has helped the company mitigate risks because a risk assessment is always done before bidding and throughout the project life cycle.

She said implementing ISO 9001:2015 needs to be embraced because it helps one run the company smoothly especially in Uganda where companies tend to operate well only when the owner is available. Systems help the company survive and keep moving independent of the owner as the system focuses on building the structures of the company and takes care of the day to day operations. This is still a big challenge for most privately owned companies in Uganda.