Best practice on the radar; how Cobham Antenna Systems benefits from Entropy

Cobham Antenna Systems, a subsidiary of Cobham Plc, is a world leader in the design and manufacture of sophisticated communication systems and navigation equipment for use on land, at sea and in the air. The Marlow-based company, which employs around 300 people, has long held certification to AS9100, the aerospace sector enhancement of the quality management system standard ISO 9001. More recently, it has focused on creating a culture of workplace safety, occupational health and environmental awareness, achieving certification to two further standards in 2012: BS OHSAS 18001 in Occupational Health & Safety, and ISO 14001 in Environmental Management.

Mick Cooper, Safety, Health and Environment (S|H|E) Manager, explains that Cobham benchmarks S|H|E achievement against the group’s own management standards, “but the new certifications add external verification to our Level 3 ‘world class’ status within Cobham’s S|H|E management standards.” Cooper continues, “The task was daunting at the outset, knowing we were at Level 1 and a long way from certification, but the entire team was determined to demonstrate that we really did believe in our positive S|H|E culture. Entropy created the platform we needed.”

Cooper describes Cobham’s acquisition of Entropy as “a battle-winning investment”, enabling the creation of a fully integrated management system for all of its standards. “Entropy is the ideal tool for the job,” he says. “Without it, our management systems would be fragmented and lack a consistent backbone.” He values the “great range of tools” that Entropy makes available, reeling off “audit, inventory, documentation, reporting, tracking, analysis, archiving, security – it’s all there. It matches every requirement in every detail. It’s saving us a lot of time, which in turn makes us more effective too.”

Cooper adds, “You can customize the system to suit your particular circumstances. If there’s an incident, it focuses everyone’s attention because it automatically creates reporting channels and escalatory action that breaks through all departmental boundaries.” He credits the system with a sharp rise in the number of hazard reports to more than 250 in 2013. “It’s the low-level incidents that a lot of businesses don’t seem to capture, but by using the system to gather and analyze this data, we’re able to identify risks and take action,” he says. This process has been key to driving down the number of injuries at Marlow to just 4 minor ones in 2013, compared with 16 and 9 in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

“I would have no hesitation in recommending Entropy to any organization,” says Cooper. “I really don’t know how we managed before without it.”