Alcatraz Cruises Becomes First National Park Service Concessioner To Receive ISO 9001, 14001 and OHSAS 18001 Certification
San Francisco – Alcatraz Cruises is the first concessioner in the National Park Service, and one of only a few organizations nationwide, to obtain certification for ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001:2004 and OHSAS 18001:1999. These three international standards measure an organization’s quality management, environmental management and health and safety management systems. They are all widely recognized as standards for the highest performance a company can have in each of these categories.
Organizations rarely receive the triumvirate of certifications, and it is especially difficult in attractions and hospitality organizations. Alcatraz Cruises is also the first member of the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA) to receive these certifications. PVA is the trade association for all operators of passenger vessels, including car and people ferryboats, charter yacht companies, tour boat operators, overnight cruise ships and gaming vessels.
The systems and programs created to align to ISO standards rely on every employee for success. For example, the company built an internal database to track inconsistencies and guest service issues, each of which had to be entered by the employee who first noticed the issue. The database is constantly monitored by supervisors and managers, allowing them to take immediate corrective actions and provide the best possible visitor service. This system also creates a very hands-on management style, with constant and through training for all employees.
“We are very pleased that Alcatraz Cruises has achieved these three internationally recognized certifications, indicating their operational achievement in areas of importance to the National Park Service and we appreciate their service to visitors of Golden Gate National Recreation Area,” commented Brian O’Neill, Superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
“We are committed to aligning our company with these standards and we are committed to receiving the certification. This is not the end of our process. An integral part of our long-term plan is continual improvement, so we will continue to observe and evaluate all of our operations and look for opportunities for improvement and achievement,” said Alcatraz Cruises Director of Environmental Services, Cameron Clark. “Next we will be taking our successful implementation program to our affiliates, Hornblower Cruises & Events throughout California, Statue Cruises in New York and other maritime companies that want to make this same commitment. By setting this example we hope that other organizations in San Francisco, and other National Park Service concessioners will strive for this standard of excellence as well,” continued Clark.
Alcatraz Cruises began working towards these goals from the moment the contract for the ferry service to Alcatraz was awarded by the National Park Service in 2006. Each standard requires that all processes and programs throughout an organization be evaluated, measured and observed constantly. Every operation that Alcatraz Cruises’ performs, from customer service to recycling programs to hiring practices and purchasing are thoroughly reviewed by an independent auditing agency certified against the standards established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Occupational Health and Safety Standard organization (OHSAS). The international firm KPMG audited Alcatraz over the course of two months. Continual auditing will take place annually to ensure Alcatraz Cruises’ commitment to continual improvement. The process involved a thorough review of all training manuals, marketing material and operational guidelines. This was followed by six days of onsite inspection.
According to the International Organization of Standardization: “The ISO 9000 family addresses “quality management.” This means what the organization does to fulfill: the customer’s quality requirements, and applicable regulatory requirements, while aiming to enhance customer satisfaction, and achieve continual improvement of its performance in pursuit of these objectives.
The ISO 14000 family addresses “environmental management.” This means what the organization does to: minimize harmful effects on the environment caused by its activities, and to achieve continual improvement of its environmental performance.” (www.iso.org, 2008)
The OHSAS 18001 standard is a health and safety management system. It was created to control occupational health and safety risks of employees, and through the program, the health and safety of customers, suppliers and the community impacted by the work environment.
In May 2008 Alcatraz Cruises was named a winner of the 2008 San Francisco Business Times Green Business Awards.
Alcatraz Cruises is the National Park Service concessioner of ticketing and ferry transportation to Alcatraz Island, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Alcatraz Island attracts nearly 1.4 million visitors annually and is a top visitor destination in San Francisco.