TAU-RET regains ISO 9001:2015 certification after hurdling 1st Surveillance Audit
The commitment of the Tarlac Agricultural University’s Research, Extension and Training (TAU-RET) Unit to conform to high quality standards and to provide utmost customer satisfaction paid off after it achieved re-certification of the ISO 9001:2015 during the recently conducted 1st Surveillance Audit by Russian Register on January 31, 2019.
The said audit started with an opening program attended in by the members of TAU- RET ISO Core Team, representatives from the different TAU support offices, and the University’s Administrative Council members.
During the said program, Dr. Tessie E. Navarro, TAU vice president for RET and the Quality Management Representative, shared the improvements in the TAU-RET processes and systems implementation within almost a year of being ISO certified.
“At first, we find difficulty to adjust just to conform with the standards as the ISO process is a new learning process for all of us,” she said.
“But now, I can say that little by little we are adopting ISO by heart. We can say that we are improving as a unit, and we are very much grateful to ISO because of that,” said the VP-RET.
Facilitated by Mr. Jovertlee C. Pudan of the Russian Register, the surveillance audit was conducted to validate the conformity of the TAU-RET to the requirements set by ISO through the effective implementation of the Quality Management System (QMS). It is the 1st follow up visit for the quality management system conformity evaluation of the Unit following its ISO 9001:2015 certification in February of last year.
Part of Mr. Pudan’s audit plan during the surveillance was to scrutinize the actual process flow of operations and processes of the Department of Extension and Training (DET) and Department of Research and Development (DRD) in terms of managing and providing services for technology generation and verification, training and technical assistance for the implementation of research and extension mandates of the University to its various stakeholders. The monitoring and evaluation of the various system protocols of DET and DRD with regards to the requirements of the ISO 9001:2015 standards and their respective accomplishment rate as set forth in their Quality Objectives were also assessed.
At the closing program which followed just after the surveillance audit proper, Mr. Pudan presented some highlights and best practices of the TAU-RET in the ISO implementation, but three minor observations meant to enhance the performance of the Unit.
Fortunately and most importantly for TAU-RET, the External Auditor did not find any major noncompliance in any of the various system processes of Unit, and thereby announced that the University, through the RET Unit, has established, maintained, and implemented a quality and effective system of operations, ensuring compliance with its policy and objectives, and adhering to other statutory provisions.
For his part, Dr. Max P. Guillermo, the University president, recognized and welcomed the minor nonconformities and assured that the University, as a whole, would consider these as opportunities for improvement.
“I assure you, Mr. Pudan, that we will make sure to make use of these findings for our improvement as we gear up for the ISO certification of our University, maybe during the 1st quarter of next year,” Dr. Guillermo said.
In his closing remarks, Dr. Geraldin dela Cruz, Chief of the TAU-Internal Audit and Quality Assurance, declared that the ISO re-certification of TAU-RET does not mean conclusion of hard efforts, but the start of more work to be done.
“This recent reward of all our efforts is not the end, but the beginning of something bigger. We must sustain our hard work and continue aiming for the best as we are now striving to attain University ISO certification,” he said.
“With our concerted efforts, and the unceasing support of the administration, I know that this goal will never be elusive,” the IAQA chief concluded.
It can be recalled that the TAU administration opted to submit its RET Unit for the ISO certification instead of undergoing the rigid university wide assessment. TAU-RET was awarded the ISO 9001:2015 certificate on February 9, 2018 and will be valid for three (3) years, subject to renewal after annual surveillance audits. The next surveillance visit is due in October of this year.
-by Mr. Joji U. Cabatic
*Article was first published in DET Newsletter, June-March 2019 issue.