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peopleEquas Smartpro

Services Franchise
“The ISO in a Box Activ product is now used by thousands of business people and over 200 companies.”
Julian Russell, Owner, Equas Smartpro
About the Company
Equas SmartPro is a successful supplier of Quality Assurance systems and ISO 9001/14001 accreditation processes. Since inception, the company has invested heavily in the design of modular quality processes that it tailors to each client’s application and delivers via a network of regional consultants, who often go on to form long term relationships with the client company. Equas has built an enviable reputation among its many clients across private and public sectors and its “ISO in a Box” product is an accepted success story.
The Challenge
Keen to expand, Equas began to explore the possibility of franchising the “ISO in a Box” model, building a network of independent consultants who relied on Equas for the core systems design and to keep procedures and documentation up to date. After thorough research, Equas commissioned GreyRidge to design and manage a new internal management system that would allow them to monitor and control the Activities of its franchisees. This project proved a great success. The new software was developed using GreyRidge’s GRAD framework which ensured that the project was delivered on time, on budget and proved an immediate hit. This enabled Equas’ expansion plans to proceed with confidence. Until 2008, the company’s operations were based wholly in the UK. The large amount of documentation required to implement an ISO accredited quality assurance system was delivered in paper form – as were the frequent updates to each client’s system and most communications with franchisees. The company’s ambitions then turned abroad (ISO 9001/14001 being an international quality standard) looking for involvement in multi-national projects and to expand its by now successful franchise model into foreign markets. Equas Managing Director, David Morgan, and his fellow directors quickly determined that the company’s existing paper based distribution processes would not work in an international setting and again turned to GreyRidge for ideas.
The Partnership
GreyRidge were able to see how an electronic document management system could solve Equas’ problem. Such a system not only allows initial document sets to be distributed (via an Internet hosted service) it provides easy access to clients who, having logged in, can call up whatever document they may require at a given point in time. Updates to documentation are equally easy to implement and distribute. GreyRidge’s questioning (part of the information gathering that happens within the GRAD framework) led it to suggest that an opportunity existed to make Equas’ product dynamic. In other words, moving beyond the design and delivery of quality assurance systems into activ monitoring of the system’s use. Implemented correctly, this enables Equas to provide a far more valuable product to its customers – one that is also far more lucrative to Equas. The fruits of this partnership is Equas new “ISO in a Box Activ” product. Launched in December 2008, ISO in a Box Activ allows franchisees to establish new customer accounts on-line, automates the production and distribution of documentation which customers can access anytime and anywhere they need to. The “Activ” part of the product’s name describes the new processes that audit the customer’s operation of its new Quality assurance system, providing feedback to the customer nd to the franchised consultant enabling systems to be tuned and adapted to meet each customer’s requirements and practices. Equas has gained significant advantages from GreyRidge’s large scale investment in GRAD and its underlying technology, not to mention the quality of commercial experience and business understanding that GreyRidge’s people bring to every project. GRAD provides the Internet hosted, secure environment that an application such as Equas new “ISO in a Box Activ” product needs. GRAD (and the methodologies surrounding its use) also provides impressive speed to market – ISO in a Box Activ was turned from idea to live product in just five months. In fact, GRAD provides an ideal basis on which to build the latest Software as a Service (SaaS) type products that allow knowledge- and service-based business to obtain the benefits of the eCommerce revolution that has already driven large changes and benefits into manufacturing and distributive industries.
The Solution
It goes without saying that ISO in a Box Activ is easy to use. GRAD delivers a consistent, proven user interface – accessible via any Internet browser running on any kind of computer operating system. Greyridge provides Internet hosting, payment processing mechanisms, backup and full technical services to ensure that ISO in a Box Activ is available to Equas and its clients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A further benefit to Equas and its customer that derives from use of SaaS technology is that almost no capital investment is required to access or use the system. Customers need only their existing PCs and Internet connections and have no need to invest in expensive new data servers – or the specialist skills to operate them. This leads to shorter sales cycles, faster decisions and impressive return on investment. Equas partnership with GreyRidge has delivered the technological service advantage Equas sought to expand their business and deliver their established ISO product but in a new, dynamic and intuitive manner that brings opportunities for growth and profit beyond the company’s initial expectations. ISO in a Box Activ can service any company anywhere in the world no matter how large or small. In unison with the highly professional and knowledgeable consultancy provided by the franchisee network and ISO in a Box Activ framework, Equas are seeing an increase in size and budget of their clients.
The Results
As a result of it’s use of ISO in a Box Activ, in February 2009, Equas signed its largest ever contract for delivery of an ISO 9001 quality assurance and accreditation system, to a multi-national engineering company whose operations cover 6 different countries with multiple users in multiple locations in each country. The ISO in a Box Activ system enables both consultant and client to monitor every aspect of the system’s performance and greatly reduce the cost of obtaining accreditation as audit is an essential by-product of system use. By late 2011 Equas was still enjoying of recession-beating high growth. Multi-national contracts aside, global distribution of the ISO in a Box Activ service is well underway with a Canadian consultancy group contacted to represent and sell the product throughout Canada and with negotiations underway for partnerships in Denmark, Germany and Dubai. The current product is now used by thousands of business people and over 100 companies. The ISO standard is an international benchmark implemented the world over and ISO in a Box Activ is in good form to become the premier quality assurance system for any company looking to become certified in ISO 9001/14001.