A North-East-based management systems certification provider that began as a home-based business with one customer is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Worldwide Quality Assurance was launched by Paul Raymond in 1999 on the strength of just six weeks guaranteed work from Marine Terminals Corporation, which operated ports across North America.
It was a big risk that reaped rich rewards, as WQA built up a committed and highly qualified team in the years that followed, opening offices and winning customers throughout the world.
The firm has now established itself as a leading certification body for standards including ISO 9001, 14001 and 45001, while operating throughout the UK, Europe, USA and Asia.
While initially most customers were in the transport industry, WQA’s client base now includes engineering, manufacturing, air transport and many more sectors.
Its newest customer, Arabian Chemical Terminals, based in Saudi Arabia, has extended the reach of the business even further.
“The company grew very quickly and customers began transferring their business to WQA based on reputation alone,” says senior lead auditor Daniel Raymond, who joined the firm in May 2000 after completing an apprenticeship as a heavy vehicle technician.
“The range of services we offered expanded rapidly, usually driven by demand from our customers. We now provide certification, internal auditing, Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser (DGSA) services and specialist audits for the Chemical Distribution Institute.”
Daniel took over the helm at WQA after Paul sadly passed away in 2012 and has continued to grow the business while maintaining the core principles his father put in place.
He says that employing good people is key to the success of the business and this is an area he has continued to invest in heavily.
“One of the first auditors we employed, Geoff Raine, is retiring this year having completed 17 years with us,” says Daniel.
“Becky Thomas joined the business as an administration assistant in 2015 and four years later is a lead auditor. She recently qualified as a dangerous goods safety adviser, strengthening the knowledge within our team even further. Like all our auditors, Becky spends time travelling the world serving our loyal customers.
“We have an average customer retention time in excess of 10 years and we’ve never employed a sales team – our success is based completely on our reputation for providing a flexible, first class service.
“Reaching our 20th anniversary is a fantastic milestone for us and one that we’re all very proud of.
“We’re grateful to all our customers, old and new, who have played a part in a success story that has seen us go from small beginnings to having a global and an ever-increasing scope of services.”
There have been several office moves to accommodate growth since that homebased start-up and WQA’s head office is now in Severn House, Mandale Business Park, Durham, which boasts excellent views over the historic city.
Further offices are located in Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Kuwait and Oman.
Assessments are carried out against the Port Marine Safety Code and CDI assessment schemes and a wide range of on-site training can also be provided at customers’ own premises.
- For more information about WQA, call 0191 384 0666 or visit worldwideqa.com.