Quality Audit Registrar Recognizes Canal Authority’s Steadfast Commitment to Customer Service

Panama City, Panama – Det Norske Veritas, the Oslo-based registrar confirmed that the Maritime Operations Department and the Training and Development Division of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) maintained their registration to the standard ISO 9001:1994 after successfully passing the periodic audit. Alberto Alemán Zubieta, Canal Administrator said: “On the 88th anniversary of the Canal, we reiterate our steadfast commitment to customer service through constant application of quality and improvement processes.” Aleman added: This achievement further articulates our mission to serve as the cornerstone of the world transportation system, it is also an award for our workforce – for their hard work, dedication and excellent service.”

Det Norske Veritas recently audited the quality system of the Maritime Operations Department and the Training and Development Division of the Human Resources Department. The registrar found a more robust and mature system with significant improvements. The deviations identified were minimal compared with the scope of the system. The audit recently carried out is part of a three-year program that includes periodic audits every six months to insure that the company remains in compliance with the requirements of ISO 9001:1994.

Det Norske Veritas first audited the ACP Maritime Operations Department and the Training and Development Division in March of 2001. On May 15, 2001 the firm granted the international certification ISO 9001:1994 version. This is the result of the commitment and dedication of the more than 5,000 employees in these two organizations.

The implementation of this system further reinforced the emphasis towards quality to guarantee Canal customers a safe, expeditious and reliable transit service. Workgroups were created to work on the appropriate documentation required by the standard. Moreover, employees of these two organizations were trained in the requirements of the standard, and in internal auditing to document and audit the system respectively as a tool to maintain and improve the system.

Meetings are also held periodically by the leaders of these departments to evaluate the system and to propose improvements. The ACP quality management system fosters teamwork, the fast adaptation of new employees through documentation and training, the evaluation and improvement of processes, and the prompt evaluation and formal processing of customer complaints.

ISO 9000 began when the military needed to utilize guaranteed quality equipment. A few decades ago, this required the introduction of a series of design and manufacturing controls, in addition to quality procedures to guarantee that the manufacturers produced equipment according to requested specifications.

About Det Norske Veritas
Established in 1864, Det Norske Veritas is an independent foundation with the objective of safeguarding life, property and the environment and is a leading international provider of services for managing risk. It has 300 offices in 100 countries.

About the Panama Canal Authority
The Panama Canal Authority is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating, and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the Panama Canal Authority is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors.