Seeking quality as a team
In March, Tecpetrol Ecuador will undergo the final audit to certify for the ISO 9001 standard: This is the last step on its path to achieving synergy between this operation and its peers in Pesquería, Mexico.
First, a little history by Fausto González, Quality Manager at Pesquería: “We were the first Tecpetrol operation to obtain the ISO 9001 quality certification. The process was quite slow as it covers lots of different areas: HR, Purchasing, Suppliers, Operations, Maintenance. We even held meetings with HSE from Argentina about which software to use.”
As Pesquería progressed with certification, the program called Leading Tecpetrol was being developed, a new way of thinking about projects aimed at bringing about improvements. Of the eighty-seven proposals presented by employees, ten were chosen, including the Quality project in Ecuador: "Just as one of our points of support was the consideration of some areas in Argentina, we provided inspiration for the system in Ecuador."
“Last August, we invited them to visit central operations to see how the system works,” explains Fausto. Génesis Bautista, the Warehouse Operations Analyst, adds that, “It was very gratifying to be told about their upcoming visit, and particularly when they explained how they envisaged us supporting them in their process. We have been sharing ideas and improvements ever since, and it has benefited both parties.”
Juan Carlos Araujo, Quality Team Leader of Tecpetrol Ecuador, summarizes, “With the certification we are essentially pulling off a trifecta, as we have already certified for ISO standards 14001 and 45001. We began talking to Pesquería and the Quality department in Argentina back in May 2022. During the visit held in August, we established contact with the quality management system to learn first-hand about all its specific features.”
And in November, Fausto and Laura Piña, Quality Sr. Engineer, visited Ecuador. “The task was immensely satisfying. We learned many new things and I became totally enamored of Ecuadorian food. It feels great to be able to contribute, even if it’s a little,” Laura enthuses.
Juan Carlos is delighted with the support received so far. “They were our first line of auditors, and dedicated themselves to reviewing what we’d implemented, offering us recommendations. We worked with them for a week and after that visit, practically everything was ready for the certifier. We have ongoing contact with them, as they are tremendously supportive thanks to all the experience they have, and we are working with their ideas and advice to resolve and adapt their knowhow to our management system.”
The task is well underway and the team can look forward to some very busy months, as work is already being done on the improvement opportunities detected and on an action plan, so that they can be ready for the March audit to certify for ISO 9001. Fausto adds that, “My impression is that Ecuador is doing very well, they’re a professional team, highly dedicated to their task, very open to input. They did a super job because they had to cross-reference different rules. They also had to make an extra effort because they didn’t acquire any special software but adapted and applied something from each existing tool.”
Juan Carlos chimes in with, “We are preparing for the final audit in March in the best way possible. We put together a very interesting team, we were able to share many things, from anecdotes and experiences to culture and traditions. It has been incredibly enriching. Pesquería has helped us a great deal to establish a solid quality system”.
It's not long until March. Both operations are on tenterhooks to see the results. The experience has been a very stirring one for them all. “I know they’re going to do very well. They’ve worked incredibly hard and are extremely committed,” concludes Laura, agreeing with Génesis who adds that, “I appreciate the opportunity that our colleagues from Ecuador gave us to share our knowhow. We’re convinced they will succeed."