Charleston Water System is a public water and wastewater utility serving the Greater Charleston area. Its water and wastewater services protect public health and the environment, provide fire protection, and support the economy.
For public water systems, quality management is everything. Paper trails are extensive and can involve multiple approvers. When the Charleston Water System determined quality document and approval workflows were too disjointed, management was open to a better solution. After Abel Solutions implemented QMS|share, personnel were amazed at the difference.
An Important Initiative Begins
CWS prides itself on its continuous improvement focus, an attitude that led them to Abel Solutions. “We were exploring some improvements that [Abel Solutions customer] Nucor had done when we learned of Abel,” says CWS Senior Systems Analyst Anna Sandifer. “They initially recommended Nintex, with which we could easily create workflows specific to our quality department, and Abel helped us with the installation.”
At the time, Sandifer relates, CWS was also having a considerable business challenge with document management. “We started talking to Abel Solutions about our document silos and they introduced us to QMS|share,” says Sandifer. “In the past, everyone in the firm created their own quality documents and spreadsheets for ISO compliance,” she continues. “We knew this was inefficient and ineffective and needed to get all of the departments in the entire company to use the same process.”
A Solution Emerges
During their first meeting, Sandifer says, Abel Solutions’ Senior Solutions Architect Eric Gregorich met with the major departments to demonstrate QMS|share and explain how it worked. From that point, she says, he made a concerted effort to ensure the solution would meet CWS’ needs. “Eric came back asking about our design—how each department would have an approval flow, and at what levels,” Sandifer says. “That was our biggest concern. Our system is very complex—so many different steps for the document workflow. Eric walked us through those steps and ensured we covered everything.”
As Abel Solutions’ experts were deploying and configuring the solution, they remained engaged with Sandifer and the CWS team. “We had monthly meetings, and at every stage they showed us what they were doing,” says Sandifer. “They also worked with us as we went through testing.”
In addition to working closely with CWS from planning through testing QMS|share, the Abel Solutions team trained CWS system administrators, helping them understand how the system would benefit them. They also provided Sandifer with documentation on QMS management and operations that she could adapt as the firm’s reference guide.
“Abel Solutions’ QMS|share helped the audit process go more smoothly than our previous audits,” Young continues. “We passed with flying colors aided by the organization and efficiencies of the QMS system.” When asked if CWS would recommend Abel Solutions and QMS|share, Sandifer doesn’t hesitate. “No system is bullet-proof, but if we have any questions or problems, Abel’s personnel are always there, and they are prompt about getting back to me.”