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QA/QC Manager Martin: ‘Quality is a collective process’

From his experience as a perfectionist, he knows it is not always easy to keep an overview. Martin Uittenbogaard has been working at Gpi since 2015 and is manager of the quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) department. ‘As QA/QC Manager you need a helicopter view and a thorough understanding of the details.’

In order to become QC manager with a previous employee, at the age of 37 Martin started a part-time degree course in engineering. He specialised in welding practice and became an expert in the field of welding technology and metals. Some years later Martin was appointed QC inspector at Gpi.

QC and documentation

The QC and documentation team is responsible for ensuring the quality of finished products, which includes the inspection of tanks during the production process. Martin explains: ‘During the production process, tanks undergo inspection to ensure that they meet the specified requirements. Before work commences a joint test and inspection plan is set up by Gpi and the customer. This plan is closely followed and we check progress from the customer’s perspective. Prior to delivery we invite the customer for an inspection. Although we keep to the standards, every client is different, so that means delivering a customised product. The final documentation for each and every tank is unique. Ultimately, we aim to give the client what they have paid for.’

Welding plans

As for quality control, there’s a lot more involved than just inspecting tanks. ‘For example,’ Martin elaborates, ‘if we sell tanks using a new grade of stainless steel, we have to ‘re-qualify’ so that the materials can be welded in line with the required standards. To do this we draw up a welding plan to assess the qualifications that are required for welding methods and welders. Our team also monitors and arranges the validity of 250 to 300 qualifications of foor 60 to 70 welders, so there’s more to QC than meets the eye.’

Quality as a collective process

Martin’s team has since expanded from two to ten colleagues, each working from different Gpi sites. ‘This organisational expansion brings many challenges,’ he explains. ‘Customers working with Gpi must be able to expect the same levels of quality and experience. Everyone must be pointing in the same direction. The larger the organisation, the bigger the challenge. A lot of colleagues are involved in the process of building a tank. From sales and engineering to production and assembly, everything has to be just perfect. Our department does its bit too. Quality is something you achieve collectively.’

QA department

Whilst QC focuses on the final product, the QA team is responsible for examining the processes needed to reach the required end result. ‘We make the quality of our products and services quantifiable according to an international standard,’ Martin elucidates. ‘Quality manuals describe the protocols for many procedures, but also for different working methods. In the next few years we aim to optimise this into one single manual, so that it applies to the whole organisation. This will be a major task.’


In addition to his job as QA/QC manager, Martin is also keen to help out in other areas for Gpi: he was involved in the setting up of the works council and helps organise activities for the staff association. His motivation? ‘I like organising things and am happy to get involved at Gpi. Due to the firm’s expansion, it was decided to set up a works council 5 years ago. I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to regulations and it’s important a company is subject to good governance. In my early years, I was more than happy to contribute to this process.’

Working at Gpi

Gpi suits Martin to a tee. ‘It’s important there’s enough space in my diary to fill myself, and that usually works out fine for me. At times, it can get exceptionally busy, but it’s the diversity of work that makes it so exciting. When we’ve had a busy period meeting deadlines, there is a great sense of satisfaction. Gpi is a good employer where mistakes are not unnecessarily punished. After all we are working with people. Together we focus on the solution and look at what has gone wrong and learn from it for next time.’

Growth and challenge

Martin sees more than enough challenges in his work over the coming years: ‘There will be more new and complex challenges. A lot is involved, including documentation. There’s still a lot for me to develop here, so that our quality is able to keep up with the expansion of the business and the latest market trends. I want us to deliver what we promise. No customer is the same, but I do believe every client should be as satisfied as the next when it comes to the end result.’