The latest audit of SEMA Distributor Companies (SDCs) proves outstanding progress has been made since the process was initiated in 2014. Three years ago, the group set out to demonstrate that clear blue water exists between these businesses and other storage industry operators.

The evidence-based assessments for the 30-strong group reveal that every single member has passed scrutiny in 2017 with average scores improving by a comfortable margin to 86%. The percentage achieving Highly Commended has doubled to 61%.

This means that every single SEMA Distributor Company can prove that their products and services meet and beat the SEMA QA standard by way of independent certification.

The initiative was the first scheme of its type for the storage industry and all SDCs now must be independently audited on no fewer than 31 quality measures every three years to retain their membership status.

Every member is reassessed every three years in two key areas; its process control of actual projects on the ground and proof of controlled administration including the correct insurance.

Wayne Wiggins, auditor for external quality assurance company QCS International says: “The 2014 audit comprised 25 compulsory questions and six voluntary elements which didn’t form part of the scored assessment but added value and opportunity for improvement. This time, all 31 questions became mandatory, adding further rigour to the process. The SDC members have reacted extremely well to previous feedback especially in the voluntary aspects and there is a genuine desire to offer an outstanding service.”

The new requirements include:

• A training plan for directly employed installers

• Training records to include SEIRS courses and other training opportunities

• A mechanism to capture customer feedback

• A suitable and sufficient work environment and fulfilment of statutory compliance obligations (e.g. PAT status up to date) as distributors have a duty of care to their employees

• Demonstration of taking corrective action to problems which can occur

Chairman of the SEMA Distributor Group Jonathan Bennett said; “Many end-users plan to invest in new storage systems for 2018 but they are likely to be confused by the volume of information out there and in every industry, rogue practices are likely to exist. Our experience shows us that some end users don’t know which standards that their existing storage schemes are designed to. Others are fed up of the time it takes to check the details on a storage firm’s quality credentials. Many wish that someone else had done the leg work on health and safety, use of trained labour and correct storage design so they can sign on the dotted line.

“An SDC audit certificate takes away that element of risk and sets out members apart from the rank and file. Each audit certificate is proof to the customer that their new storage systems will be correctly designed using new products, and will be installed by trained and qualified teams to meet HSE standards. Customers should remember that noone has better access to SEMA technical information. Our members supply storage systems that are correctly designed to SEMA codes of practice.”

End users are recommended to use the SEMA Distributor QA checklist as a guide when purchasing storage systems.

Log on to sema.org.uk/sdg and watch a short video on the benefits of choosing a SEMA Distributor Company or to find a list of regional members. When buying storage systems, ask to see the SDG member’s current audit certificate. If you’d like to find out more about becoming a member, call the SEMA office on 0121 601 6359 or visit sema.org.uk