Rob Woodley, Managing Director at Derek Lane & Co and BFPDA* Council member recently spoke out to the fluid power industry on the importance of Quality standards with the aim of raising awareness and adoption of important schemes across the fluid power sector.
*British Fluid Power Distributor's Association.
In this interview with the British Fluid Power Association (BFPA), Rob talks specifically about why the Q logo is a must-have accreditation in the industry and the importance of the BFPA Approved Hose Assemblies Scheme; which for him, serves as an integral framework for quality in his own business operations.
“I don’t believe all customers realise what the ‘Q’ mark stands for and its importance to them; it’s something we’ve been trying to promote for a while. Customers don’t need to know necessarily every detail of what that company has had to do to get that accreditation, but they should be aware of the main points and understand that it’s really important for us to have, and for our customers to be reassured by” says Rob.
“We really do believe that the Q-Approved Hose Scheme improves efficiency and productivity simply because if customers have equipment that’s working well or a machine that’s in a production environment, down time will be limited and far less costly BFPA Q Scheme – peace of mind for safety, reliability and quality.
Fluid power really touches nearly every industry you can think of, and for us that’s anything from marine, construction and food, to pharmaceutical, agriculture, and quarries for example. There’s hydraulics on almost anything and everything. These industries use equipment that’s crucial to what they do; that’s why they can’t afford long breaks in production. If they need a replacement part, they need to know it’s not going to keep failing, and we want to make sure that’s what our customers get.”
As a well-established name within the industry after 40 years of business, Derek Lane adheres to and promotes the values and regulations of the BFPA Q Scheme. As well as using high quality hose and fittings and being up to date with all the latest regulations, the Q scheme is a recognised hallmark of quality, and a cornerstone of Derek Lane’s own industry reputation. Affiliation with the BFPA Q Scheme ensures that both Derek Lane engineers and customers are confident in the safety and reliability of the product, alongside the quality of parts and professional service. That service includes a proactive approach to trouble shooting:
“There are signs you should be looking for – wear of the outside of the hose, the way it’s routed, the bend radius and the environmental conditions it is situated for example. All this comes with extensive training. When we show customers how to route hose, we ask questions on where and how it will be used in its applications, its pressure and temperature requirements and so on. There are numerous factors in providing the right hose for each application which should not be overlooked.
If a customer comes in with a hose failure, the questions that we typically ask are: What’s the application? Where’s it being used? Have you thought about putting guarding on the outside? Is it in direct sunlight? Is it the right type of hose? There are numerous hose types for various applications. There are many preventative measures that we can do or suggest for our customers.”
With regard to hose assemblies, peace of mind is a priority for Derek Lane’s loyal customer base, and affiliation with the BFPA Q Scheme ensures both customers and employees are confident in total commitment to safety and reliability.
As a BFPA Approved Hose Assemblies Scheme member, Derek Lane signs up to the criteria laid out in the BFPA in its comprehensive D8 document: Quality Control Procedures & Certification Requirements, all of which are there to ensure all customers receive quality, and qualified hose assemblies. These requirements are essential to assure customers that only fully certified, tested and approved hose assembly products are assembled in a manner recommended by the original hose and coupling manufacturer. Q Scheme guidelines also cover stringent quality assurance; testing and inspection; safety and training; handling, maintenance and disposal.
Reduction in down time, uplift in productivity
Customers return to Derek Lane for the associated reduction in potential downtime caused by hose repairs or replacements. Aligning themselves with an accredited Q-rated supplier of highest quality parts and assembly, reduces the risk of leaks and malfunctions which lead to reduced productivity and downtime.
“If you’ve got a machine working all day, it’s reliant on the parts – so if a hose fails, which is an integral part of that machine, then production stops. If customers use substandard equipment, then the likelihood of it failing is greater. So, for us, a quality brand and a quality assembly keep our customer base coming back, and their productivity is reliable.
We make sure that we’re only aligned with suppliers of hose and fittings with the highest reputation and quality. And if we’re making hose assemblies, we assemble those correctly too.
The ‘Q’ mark covers supply, storage, handling and fitting. If you visit our premises, every hose has got its own location, it’s stored out of sunlight to stop UV and dust. Every hose end is stored separately, with a part number, and there’s no way you can mix and match ends, it’s impossible to do. Couple that with the regular training all our staff receive, you end up then with quality being absolutely spot on.
We all know that cost is the biggest driver. Those running businesses are of course going to want to save money, but unfortunately, it’s the integrity of the whole assembly that’s at stake, not just the end of a hose. We made the decision around 15 years ago that we’re just going to stop all bad practice – we don’t re-end, we don’t mix and match, that’s it.”
Interview lifted from www.bfpa.co.uk.