Finns and Dutch certify first water utility in Finland to ISO 55001
Kiwa Finland has awarded the ISO 55001 Asset Management System certificate to Alva Water Supply (Alva-yhtiöt Oy). The company is the first water utility in Finland and the first in the Nordic region to be certified. Colleagues from Finland and the Netherlands worked closely together to help Alva achieve this milestone.
Professional management of assets such as pipes, pumping stations and water storage facilities enables companies like Alva to continuously provide the best water services to its customers. But this infrastructure is subject to exceptional demands from society and customers in terms of performance, risk management and costs. Even more so as demands increase and assets age. ISO 55001 is the international standard for asset management; it provides a broad, decent, recognised basis for companies managing utility infrastructure.
All skills assembled (including interpreter)
For Kiwa in Finland, certifying a company to the standard was a first. But for Kiwa as a whole, it certainly isn’t. Says Jere Ritari, technical expert at Kiwa Finland: “If there is any country within the Kiwa Group we could turn to for know-how about ISO 55001, it has to be the Netherlands. So, it was just logical that we asked our Dutch colleagues to assist. They were of course very willing to share their know-how.”
Dirk Konijnenberg of Kiwa Netherlands, lead of the Kiwa audit team, comments: “In the Netherlands, we have a great deal of experience with certification according to ISO 55001 as we have already teamed up with many drinking water and other asset-driven companies to assist them in reaching this goal. For the Alva project, we assembled a dedicated team with Jere and my colleague and auditor Peter Hafkamp. That way, we had all skills we needed: ISO 55001 knowledge related to drinking water, know-how about Finnish law and regulations, and an interpreter from English to Finnish and vice versa.”
Adds Jere: “What particularly pleased me about our collaboration was how the people at Alva reacted. As dedicated and well-prepared as they all were, they regularly stated that we asked them thought-provoking questions. Which of course in a process like this is what we want to achieve: that people start thinking about what they do and why they do it that way.”
Kimmo Järvinen, Alva’s project manager, confirms: “The certificate is a proof of formal success of the work and we’re proud of it, but it is not an end in itself. The biggest reward has been to see our professionals’ commitment to a common goal and to see the impact of the management system as part of their everyday work. I believe that doing things as part of everyday life and developing our own area of responsibility has taken water management a great leap forward and will have a real impact in the future.”
So, there we have it: another example of effective international collaboration within Kiwa to service yet another satisfied customer. Way to go and congratulations!