PP Control & Automation (PP C&A) has become one of the first companies in the UK to be ‘virtually’ re-certified to a prestigious international quality standard.

The strategic manufacturing outsourcing specialist, which works with 20 of the world’s leading machinery builders, completed its three-year ISO9001:2015 re-certification audit without a BSI assessor physically being on site.

John Leach, Quality Systems Manager at PP C&A, harnessed the power of the internet and video conferencing to provide access to the firm’s impressive processes and dedicated manufacturing cells that aim to achieve 99.5% right first time quality and 98.5% on time delivery performance.

The two-day audit featured a ‘webex’ with the senior management team to look at strategic direction, before the assessor was given a virtual tour of the factory and in-depth discussions with selected operators on how they were following processes and procedures in accordance with the firm’s published quality manual.


“It was a little bit surreal to start with, but by the end of the two days it was second nature and I believe we gave a full and thorough overview of how we do things at PP Control & Automation,” explained John Leach.

“We had reached the stage where we needed to complete the audit, but due to Covid-19 had to look at other ways where we could still deliver the level of information and visuals required for a BSI assessor to assess our systems. A combination of audio and video calls – whilst maintaining social distancing – were agreed and allowed us to build a really clear picture.”

He continued: “Strategic objectives, purchasing and supplier development, contract review activities and logistics and kitting were all part of the assessment and we came through with flying colours and zero non-conformities.

“This means we are now re-certified to ISO9001:2015, which gives our customers confidence that we operate to the highest possible standards. A big well done to the PP C&A team, who adapted and excelled at a new way of doing things.”

Paul Randle, Client Manager at BSI, added his support: “We all have to change the way we are working and quality assessments are no different, exploring new practices and how we can use technology to deliver an assessment visit with the same level of effectiveness as if we were on site.

“I’ve got a really good relationship with PP Control & Automation, so we sat down and looked at the best way we could complete its three-year re-assessment and agreed on a combination of voice calls and video, with some of the audit evidence being uploaded electronically.

“Over the course of the two days, I was transported virtually on to the shop floor to see processes taking place and learn more about new initiatives, such as the Own Goal scheme, whilst also having the opportunity to quiz operators on what they do and how they do it.

“It was clear to see from all the information at my fingertips that PP C&A met all the quality measures required and I was delighted to make a positive recommendation for ISO 9001:2015 re-certification.”

PP Control & Automation, which employs over 220 people at its 5,500 sq metre facility, delivers added value design, engineering and complex assembly to clients involved in aerospace, food processing, machine tools, packaging, printing and advanced technologies.