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Southampton: Marine engineers strive for ISO accreditation

By Jo Whittle
21 January 2021

Southampton-based specialist marine precision engineers, Seadub, is charting a course to an internationally recognised quality management system to help boost its customer base.

The company has received grant funding and expert advice through the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) delivered by Oxford Innovation to support its business improvement strategy and achieve ISO 9001:2015 accreditation.

Seadub is led by husband and wife team Chris Whitwam and Katie Charge, who have notable experience in captaining and crewing superyachts. This ‘hands-on’ insight enables Seadub to design and manufacture parts to match the precise needs of their clients and often involves the use of innovative metals and alloys with high strength-to-weight ratios and resistance to corrosion, which are ideal for marine craft.

Charge commented: “Receiving a grant through the Manufacturing Growth Programme was quick and easy and has really helped the business to move forward. Their support has led to significant productivity gains in key areas of the business and has enabled us to improve our offer to our customers.”


Robin Simpson

The company enlisted the support of Robin Simpson, the manufacturing growth manager for the Solent region, to undertake MGP’s GROWTHmapper diagnostic review process to highlight opportunities for business improvement.

As a result, Seadub has been able to refine its processes and procedures and it now has a much clearer structure in place that will help towards achieving the ISO 9001 accreditation. Production processes have been improved, leading to better overall job management and quality control. At the same time, increased structuring has improved estimating, streamlined workflows and allowed better scheduling of jobs, which created productivity gains benefiting customers, including faster response and shorter lead times.

With the new structures in place, Seadub is now actively looking to grow and has recently recruited a new miller to the team.

The company has also created a dedicated inspection and testing area at its dockside location as part of its quality procedures.

Said Simpson: “Seadub is a great business, with two directors strongly committed to providing the highest level of product and service. With many projects requiring unique design and manufacturing capability to meet very specific client needs, the close relationship with customers has been a key element of the company’s success story so far.

“The ISO 9001 quality management system will help Seadub to standardise key processes, which can be a real challenge for businesses specialising in low volume batches and ‘one-offs’. This will position the company strongly as it seeks to widen its customer base.”

The marine and maritime sector accounts for around 20% of the Solent's economic output and provides around 60,000 jobs locally, supporting over 3,000 businesses*. By 2025 these sectors are expected to grow by 5%. Overall, the Solent region generates over 10% of the UK marine sector's GDP.

*source: Solent LEP Growth Hub