The Gatekeepers of Quality QEHS Team - Business Insight - Canon Singapore

    The Gatekeepers of Quality: Behind the Scenes with Canon’s QEHS Team ​​​​​​​

    Canon is proud to be the recipient of many awards and accolades, a sign of recognition that our products and services are of the highest standard in our field. However, all that magic doesn’t just happen overnight.

    Maintaining Canon’s high standards lies on the onus of the QEHS team, a group of silent heroes that put in multiple hours to ensure the high standards that we enjoy today. We had a talk with Mr Christopher Chan, Assistant Director of the QEHS Division, to find out more about his team and what they do.

    Can you tell us more about the QEHS Department?

    QEHS is an acronym that stands for Quality (Q), Environment (E), Health and Safety (HS). It started in the 1990s to focus on Quality Assurance activities. At that time, Canon Marketing Singapore was amongst the first to be certified under ISO 9001 for Quality Management for a sales and marketing organization, a proud moment in our history. Environment, Health & Safety management came much later, on top of our Business Continuity Management (BCM), Information Security Management (ISMS) and SS620 GDPMDS (Goods Distribution Practice for Medical Devices). In a nutshell, we basically assess the company’s practices and ensure they’re up to standard in order to receive various industry accolades.

    Apart from these organisation-wide certification programs, we also manage the Canon Breakthrough Award (CBA), an in-house program that encourages innovation and productivity in our staff members. One memorable recipient of this award is Mr Ramachockalingam Sam, a salesforce administrator at Canon Singapore who went above and beyond his role to improve Canon’s internal processes. We also manage Service Hero, a program that acknowledges the contributions of our front-line staff in delivering excellent services. As you can see, our QEHS department is involved in multiple aspects of Organisational Development.

    Tell us about your team’s responsibilities.

    Our responsibilities tend to follow a seasonal pattern. During different quarters of the year, our team handles the planning and conducting of workshops, internal audits and documentary & site reviews. We also support our subsidiaries in the region (for QEHS area such as those mentioned above) and compile them for the headquarter. Most importantly, we maintain constant interaction with staff from both domestic and regional units to support them in their business tenders or vendor qualification processes.

    Apart from myself, I have two other team members: Kenny and Joe. One takes care of all the certification programs – QEHS, BCM, ISMS, GDPMDS – while the other focuses his efforts on CBA and SH. We are a small team and hence act as each other’s back-up as well.

    To work effectively as a team, each member has to adopt an open mindset on top of an eager learning attitude. As an admin unit, we have to stay mindful of our role in supporting our business units in their endeavours; as a result, we often have to balance existing resources against the needs of various businesses. For example, we started the ISMS certification in 2013 to support the endeavour towards more solution-based business approaches.

    How has the QEHS department helped the company?

    We put together a structure to enable our organisation to respond systematically to our customers’ and stakeholders’ issues and expectations. This also functions as a risk management tool for us. In addition, being awarded the various accolades also serves as a testament to the strength of the organisation, which is something the staff can feel proud of and gain satisfaction from.

    What are some of the challenges that the QEHS team face?

    We often encounter subject matters that can be fairly complex and technical in nature. In such situations, we’ll have to decipher and disseminate this information in a way that can be easily understood by our stakeholders.

    Furthermore, some perceive our practices as a form of “policing”, resulting in some resistance at times. However, the truth is that we aren’t seeking to penalise anyone; rather, our team is simply striving to ensure that operations are at a level that meets, or exceeds, prescribed requirements so as to maintain the standard of our accolades. Take for example a person that wants to get fit – in such a situation, a specific level of physical exercise is inevitable. The same applies to us!

    What has kept you working at Canon all these years?

    I really appreciate having very supportive colleagues. As our organisation’s business approach changes and develops, the role of the QEHS team also keeps evolving. The uninitiated might find this mundane but to me? There’s never a dull moment here at Canon.

    Indeed, unbeknownst to many, the quality assurance that Canon offers is the result of the QEHS team’s sheer diligence and hard work. Join us in saluting these silent warriors, who continually work to maintain our high product and service standards.

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