THE CORNERSTONE OF THE ISO 9001-2015 CERTIFICATION
By Aimé Christian NANA NGATCHA,
Head of Quality Department at UCB
The news was like a shock wave. Our hope was to continue together this magnificent adventure that started in 2017 under his stellar leadership. An adventure to revamp, modernize and emerge as a major player in the industry in the year 2025.
To reach his objective, Mr. Ajewole opted for a management tool whose effectiveness is no longer to be demonstrated - the progressive integration of Management Systems in the steering of the strategy. The first Management System to be integrated was the Quality Management System for which, during an administrative meeting, he solemnly announced his intention to see the Union Camerounaise de Brasseries certified ISO 9001/2015. The project came with obstacles.
It took us thirty six (36) months to reach the goal with a Managing Director who magnified stratagems in order to federate the staff around this goal, which for him, represented more than a challenge. He kept on repeating the same words to me:
“Nana, I know it’s not easy, but just keep up to the challenge and I know you can”.
These words of encouragement motivated, and gave me enough strength to continue to deliver this ‘extra mile’ dear to his heart.
An accomplished Career Mr. Ajewole’s constant reminder was that as the person in charge of the certification, he had to lead by example by applying the principles of quality and respecting the requirements of the standards; he had this very special way of letting us know:
“It’s not me, It’s an ISO requirement”. This had the merit of stealing a smile from us, and at the same time impacting to us his degree of involvement and motivation towards the expectations for the upcoming certification.
This was shown in so many ways through: - The Senior Management Responsibility: He kept leading by example.
He asked to be personally involved in trainings, coaching, mentoring and organizational activities. As Managing Director, he was present from the beginning to the end, with no room to backpedal. - A factual approach to decision making: What more can be said besides recalling those memorable moments during the management committee meetings where he never hesitated to take over from the person in charge by repeating:
“Where are the facts?”
Mr. Ajewole, throughout the certification process, invested in additional training not only in the areas of Quality, but also in the skills of the various program pilots. He was convinced that crisis management, the complexity of changing practices and mentalities, the diversity of our backgrounds and the challenges related to the implementation of the Quality approach implied close links with everyone, for a successful transition. An area in which I proudly took over from him.
Once the certification was obtained and during the first management committee meeting, after his congratulatory & encouraging messages, he ended his speech with this sentence that continues to resonate today: “It is now that the hardest part begins, because from now on we must fight daily not only to continue to improve, but also to maintain our certification and demonstrate to everyone that this was not a fluke”.
Of this great man, I hang onto the following: A genuine engineer, with an unparalleled capacity for analysis, a project manager; A remarkably enlightened man with great advice; A strategist and a visionary with a concern for implementation, and therefore a lot of pragmatism; An honest, authentic and distinguished man Go and rest in Peace, my MD.
This flame will continue to burn with the upcoming implementation of other Management Systems that will all be inspired, without a doubt, by the unforgettable experience you have given us.