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Improving Supplier Assurance

Porterbrook has just become the third ROSCO to achieve RISAS (Railway Industry Supplier Approval Scheme) certifi cation. RTM talks to RSSB’s RISAS scheme manager Brian Evans about the value of RISAS and next steps in assurance.

system in response to a questionnaire –

Above: A Class 222 at Etches Park, Derby. Its owner, Eversholt Rail, got RISAS accreditation in 2011.

R ISAS, the Railway Industry Supplier Approval Scheme, has been operating

since 2006, as a result of work by the cross- industry engineering and procurement working group supported by RSSB with input from Network Rail, RIA, and ROSCOs and ATOC.

The scheme is currently focused on rolling stock systems, sub-systems and components.

RSSB’s RISAS scheme manager Brian Evans explained the initial aims of the scheme, saying: “The aim was to reduce the volume of audits in the industry, whilst improving their quality and effectiveness, in relation to the procurement of critical products particularly.”

The creation of RISAS also formed an industry response to the requirements of the ORR and was recognised by them as meeting the needs of recommendation 24 of the Cullen report into the Ladbroke Grove rail crash.

Procuring with confi dence

Evans explained: “RISAS is all about enabling duty holders and other customers to procure critical products, at the high risk end, with confi dence. RISAS ensures clients are able to rely upon common third party assessments by approval bodies accredited by RSSB (see panel opposite).

“These approval bodies assess the adequacy of key supply procedures, practices and competences to manage risk arising from the specialist nature of rail industry applications. What singles RISAS out is that it’s not a systems driven audit as such; it’s a process assessment. An audit is management systems driven; you could say you’ve got a quality management

46 | rail technology magazine Feb/Mar 13 you get a tick in the box. “What RISAS does is actually

follow that through: the process of delivery and application of systems and of the competence of the individuals involved, right through to the shop fl oor level where the product being assessed is actually overhauled and delivered to the customer. It provides assessment and validation of management systems, processes and procedures right to the delivery end, confi rming that the supplier ‘does what it says on the tin’.”

From pre-meeting to accreditation

We asked Evans to talk us through the process that would have been involved in Porterbrook gaining

January 29.

He explained: “After the ROSCO applied for a given product area captured by RISAS, they tender to select from one of the fi ve approval bodies to deliver this approval service – who are themselves accredited and regularly monitored by RSSB to ensure their competence. There is then a pre-assessment planning meeting held with the approval body and the ROSCO to talk through the process of assessment. Product/ competence/company specifi c supplementary assessment criteria are developed and it is agreed at that point that there is a selective range of evidence required to follow up on and assess these elements and the management processes in place. For example, in this case from a procurement perspective they would select, say, two signifi cant contracts Porterbrook have been involved in as evidence of the management of the product in question and their supply chain interfaces, to demonstrate that they offer a quality safety ‘product’ on behalf of themselves and indeed to their customers, as a leasing company.

its accreditation, announced on

The RISAB identify ‘required actions’ or make ‘observations’ of high, medium and low importance. In that event most suppliers will, when they meet and close out those actions, be able to meet the required standard for approval and certifi cation.

But the process is ongoing after certifi cation too, Evans said: “It’s not a case of having a certifi cate on the wall, it expires in three years’ time and ‘we’ll see you then’. It’s about building a relationship.

“Any required actions will be managed out to an agreed action plan and throughout the duration of that certifi cation and approval, any other issues that may arise would lead to that approval body coming back in to work with a supplier to overcome them.

“I’ve been a RISAB assessor before I came into this role. I personally assessed another ROSCO which was the fi rst of the three to gain RISAS certifi cation in 2009 and what you tend to fi nd in managing the process and going through the competences and delivery processes is that you work together and come up with ideas for further improvement and identify opportunities to build on good practice.

“Having got that evidence together then the RISAB [Lloyds Register Rail Ltd, in the Porterbrook example] would put together a plan which will go through the processes in the management system end-to-end and effectively – unlike tick box audits – focusing particularly on any identifi ed shortcomings. It will ensure they are identifi ed and seek to dive really deep into those areas where there are some concerns identifi ed in the assessment process.

“That’s not to say it’s about tripping up a supplier. It’s

about understanding how,

through the process of assessment and certifi cation, suppliers can be supported to close those shortcomings.”

Improvement and action plans

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