Medebach. True, the certificate doesn't look very spectacular. However, it is far more than just another award for a company. Anyone who receives this certificate has successfully completed an intensive process and proven that environmental protection and sustainability are fundamentally integrated into all operational processes. Paul Köster GmbH, based in Medebach, is one such company. In an intensive audit, the globally active special mechanical engineering company fulfilled all the criteria for the certification of its environmental management system in accordance with DIN EN ISO 14001 and received the corresponding certificate in October. The auditors certified that the local company is very well positioned in the area of environmental protection. For the medium-sized company itself, but especially for its customers, this is another important quality feature in the production of special machines.
"For us as a family business in the very rural Sauerland region, it is and always has been part of our self-image to be committed to the environment. To document and prove this, we decided at the end of 2022 to introduce an environmental management system and have it certified," says Jürgen Köster, Managing Director at Paul Köster GmbH, explaining the reason for the certification process. In addition to this aspect, some customers are increasingly focusing on the environment. "Our customers are often required to document their sustainable and environmentally conscious actions. Working with certified suppliers makes it easier for customers to provide the relevant documentation. As a supplier, we strive to meet these requirements in terms of environmental awareness and sustainability."The new system brings benefits for customers
In addition, a key component of the new environmental management system is the consideration of the life cycle of the products used and produced at Paul Köster GmbH. This focus increases awareness in all departments of the need to create a sustainable product. And this has positive effects for the customer, as Jürgen Köster explains: "If, for example, our new system leads to our delivered machines consuming less electricity later in production, then this naturally also has a positive effect on the customer's operating costs."
Launched in December 2022, the process to the successful audit took just under 10 months. A specially assembled team was responsible for the certification process in order to drive the project forward in a targeted manner. "Together with an external consultant, we first discussed the basic requirements in order to set up the management system on this basis in line with our long-established quality management system and successfully complete the certification audit at the beginning of October," says Jürgen Köster.
The auditors' consistently positive conclusion: Paul Köster GmbH has fulfilled all the requirements of the standard and is very well positioned in the area of environmental protection. Specifically, the auditors were able to see for themselves in this initial audit that all the necessary procedures, processes and documents had been created and activated. "It was therefore a matter of laying the foundations for using the system in all areas of the company in the future to repeatedly consider environmental aspects, define targets on this basis and systematically achieve them with appropriate measures."
Of course, as expected, the certification process also revealed potential for improvement. "However, these do not mainly concern the daily processes in administration or production, but rather the small pieces of the mosaic, such as waste separation, which will be given greater attention after certification than before." The management system will help to identify precisely this optimization potential in the future, concludes the Köster Managing Director.