Compliance as a Selling Point

November 27, 2017
By Nicholas Lowe-Hale

With the increased use of industry standards and pressure for positive social impact, regulatory compliance and certification have become key points of focus for many companies. Almost every industry has its own regime of compliance or certification, and organizations with in that industry often consider it a burden to meet. Compliance, however, can be an outward selling point that accurately reflects the internal culture and structure of the company. New business can come from customers who require certain standards be in place or by having a competitive advantage over similar companies that do not have matching certifications. While achieving compliance takes some planning and resources, doing so shows customers and the public the values and culture of the organization, which leads to new opportunities.

If you would like to know how Freer Consulting can help your organization with your compliance needs, contact us at (206) 285-9044 or info@freerconsulting.com.

Do You Need a HACCP Plan?

November 25, 2017
By Nicholas Lowe-Hale

Food safety systems are a key part of the food production industry, designed to allow the large-scale production of food in a safe and clean environment. Having certain plans and processes in place protects consumers from physical, chemical, and biological contamination of the food they buy. Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans achieve this type of protection throughout the production process by identifying areas where contamination could occur, assessing the risk of contamination, and putting mitigation efforts and responses in place. While the FDA and the USDA require food production companies to have a HACCP plan, other organizations related to food production may also benefit from a HACCP plan. Having a HACCP plan in place at organizations outside the direct production of food further ensures a safe, healthy product is delivered to the end customer. We have put together a few brief questions below to see if your organization should consider creating and implementing a HACCP plan.

Is your organization wanting to be certified in a standard that requires a HACCP plan?

Does your organization handle or transport food for on its way to an end consumer?

Are there multiple points in your operation where food is contacted and contamination can occur?

Is your organization involved in the transport of food products?

Answering yes to any of these could indicate a need for your organization to create and implement a HACCP plan. If you would like to know how Freer Consulting can help your organization, contact us at (206) 285-9044 or info@freerconsulting.com.

Freer Consulting at StormCon 2017

September 12, 2017
By Nicholas Lowe-Hale

We had the pleasure of attending the vendors’ expo at Stormcon 2017 last month and seeing the latest and greatest in stormwater treatment technologies. Stormwater treatment is often necessary to meet regulatory requirements for limiting levels of pollutants such as turbidity and metals. Whether you need improved sweeping BMPs, catch basin filtration systems, or a large-scale treatment system, Freer is available to help you meet your stormwater benchmarks with the most up-to-date technology. If you would like to know more, contact us at 206-285-9044 or info@freerconsulting.com.

Freer Consulting Supports the Austin Everett Foundation

August 28, 2017
By Brian Schefke

From our president, Brian Freer:

As part of Unite2Fight with the Austen Everett Foundation, I had the honor of meeting Rob Heckard and his wonderful family at Safeco Field in June for a Seattle Mariners game against the Rays. I came away inspired by Rob’s gratitude and was swept up in the joy his family expressed at the beauty of a great day at the ballpark. As a company founder and executive, the Unite2Fight program at AEF has encouraged us to reach beyond philanthropy. In the process we have learned a few things from AEF Honorees about courage and resilience. Our partnership with AEF has become a journey and maybe that is fitting. AEF Honorees have allowed us to join their journeys. Our challenge is to learn from these experiences and take the spirit of the journey into our professional lives and business relationships.

Should Your Organization Pursue ISO 9001 Certification?

August 11, 2017
By Nicholas Lowe-Hale

Quality management systems have become an essential part of modern organizations. Having a standardized system that can streamline your business and be scalable with the company will save the organization time and money. ISO 9001 is an internationally recognized quality management standard that helps organizations achieve consistent product and service delivery that meets their customer’s requirements. The latest version of the standard, ISO 9001:2015, has a large emphasis on risk based thinking, helping leadership get ahead of potential risks, and mitigate their causes before they happen. ISO 9001:2015 also has an increased emphasis on leadership involving everything from key performance indicators to change management.  Below we have come up with a few questions to help you determine if your organization needs to be ISO 9001:2015 certified:

 

Are you looking to increase your organization’s level of risk awareness and control?

Are you looking for consistent quality leadership across all departments, relying less on a quality manager?

Do you need more accountability from your organization’s employees?

Is your supply chain increasing their quality management efforts or are your customers requiring ISO 9001 certification?

 

Answering yes to any of these could indicate a need for your organization to pursue ISO 9001 certification.  If you would like to know how Freer Consulting can help your organization with implementing and maintaining an ISO 9001 quality management system contact us at (206) 285-9044 or info@freerconsulting.com.

WSDOT Bridge and Ferry General Discharge Permit: Keeping the Environment and Travelers Safe

July 20, 2017
By Nicholas Lowe-Hale

Washington State is striving to keep its infrastructure safe, and a major part of that process is inspections. To do this, inspectors need clean surfaces to identify structural issues. Working with the Washington State Department of Ecology, WSDOT was able to get a general discharge permit for cleaning bridges and ferry terminals for inspections. This permit allows the spot and maintenance cleaning of fracture critical bridges during the winter, spring, and fall, seasons when the flow of waterways is high enough to mitigate any effects of contamination and debris from the washing. The permit also outlines the catch and filtration procedures necessary to mitigate runoff, remediation actions, and the levels of each pollutant that may be discharged. Ecology examined the immediate environmental impact and the long term effect of possible pollutants on both humans and the ecosystem. The issuance of this permit is a great example of two state agencies working together to ensure the state infrastructure stays safe for travel without compromising the protection of humans and the environment.

 

To find out more about the permit visit The Washington State Department of Ecology’s website here.  

Does Your Company Need a Stormwater Permit?

March 22, 2017
By admin

With an incredibly rainy winter in Seattle, and more wet weather to come, managing stormwater is coming to the forefront of everyone’s mind. Whether you are a new company applying for a permit and managing stormwater for the first time, or finding new outfalls, staying on top of the permitting process and responding to changes this time a year can be fast paced and is extremely important. Understanding the types of permitting and when each is needed can be difficult. To help with this decision process, here are a few questions that can be used to determine if your organization is in need of a stormwater permit.

 

Does you facility discharge stormwater to a surface water body of the state, a storm sewer system that drains to a surface water body, or a municipal combined sewer or sanitary sewer?

 

Is the facility performing industrial activity for a department or agency of the federal government?

 

Are fueling operations, or maintenance for vehicles and/or equipment conducted at the facility?

 

Is oil stored above or below ground at the facility?

 

Answering yes to any of these questions could indicate a need for a stormwater permit and possibly a Spill prevention, cleanup, and countermeasures (SPCC) plan. If you would like to know how Freer Consulting can help your business or other organization with permitting ,implementing, and maintaining a stormwater management system contact us at (206) 285-9044 or info@freerconsulting.com.

Reviewing Quality Objectives for ISO 9001 and 14001

January 17, 2017
By Brian Schefke

The advent of the new year is a good time for an organization to review its existing objectives to see if they are still relevant to the organization’s goals. If your organization is certified (or is seeking to be certified) in ISO 9001 or 14001, it’s worth looking at your quality and/or environmental objectives to determine if they are being monitored and measured properly and if the objectives themselves need to be updated.

ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015, sections 6.2.1 and 6.2.2, outline the requirements for quality and environmental objectives and how to plan for achieving them. Objectives should:

• Be consistent with the organization’s quality (or environmental) policy
• Be measurable
• Take into account applicable requirements
• Be relevant to conformity of products and services and to enhancement of customer satisfaction
• Be monitored
• Be communicated
• Be updated as appropriate

With these requirements in mind, it’s especially important to know if your organization’s objectives are being monitored and measured properly. If a review of your monitoring data doesn’t make clear how well you’re achieving your objectives, then it’s time to consider new methods of monitoring and measurement or modifying your quality and/or environmental objectives.

When planning how to achieve its quality and/or environmental goals, the organization needs to decide the following:

• What will be done
• What resources will be required
• Who will be responsible
• When it will be completed
• How the results will be evaluated

A regular review of all of these requirements will enable your organization to set measurable objectives and ensure that your quality management or environmental management system is functioning as designed.

If you would like to know more about how Freer Consulting can help your business or other organization with implementing and maintaining an ISO-compliant quality or environmental management system, contact us at (206) 285-9044 or info@freerconsulting.com.