Robert Schmit - an expert in certification

Thursday 28 June 2018

Around ten years ago, the Caritas Luxembourg International Cooperation department decided to have some of its offices abroad certified in accordance with the ISO 9001 standard.  And to achieve this, it enlisted the help of Robert Schmit, an expert in the field of certification.

The paths of destiny are impenetrable, and this Luxemburger, born in 1944 in Rollingergrund, would be the last person to disagree. Having passed his Baccalaureate, he went straight into higher education. But not just anywhere. He finally chose the "Ecole Royale Militaire" in Brussels. He started there in 1964. However, all his hopes of a career in the military were thwarted two years later when Luxembourg declared the end of compulsory military service. At the time, it was a shock but he still pursued his studies and graduated.

A new trajectory

On leaving the military school, Robert Schmit entered into civilian life. An American offered him the chance to work on the maintenance of pipelines while a Belgian company promised him the opportunity of participating in the construction of a new town... in Guinea, where bauxite deposits had just been discovered. He opted for the latter option. And he was well aware how hard it would be to build a town of thirty thousand inhabitants, a bauxite processing plant, a rail network, roads, a port etc.  He threw himself into his work, but just as he was about to get married, he returned to the Grand Duchy and got a job at Dupont de Nemours in Contern, which was setting up a new production line. Robert Schmit eventually applied for a job at Goodyear, where he was welcomed with open arms. This was where he would make his mark in the field of quality, in particular during his time as Quality Manager. After 31 years of loyal service, Goodyear let him go, claiming that they no longer had a position suited to his qualifications. He had been thwarted again, and was frustrated this time.

A necessary process

Robert Schmit had no intention of resting on his laurels. Shortly afterwards he joined the Red Cross as a volunteer in its AIDS prevention programme. Then in 2007 he joined Caritas Luxembourg to became involved in the field of international cooperation, as the organisation planned to have offices abroad certified in accordance with ISO 9001. This related to the quality of management, internal performance and continuous improvement objectives. Frequently working in the field, Robert Schmit trained Caritas Luxembourg office staff in Montenegro and Kosovo, explaining the standard to them and preparing the procedures necessary for certification. And the programme was successful! Both offices obtained their certification. The Montenegro office went even further, obtaining ISO 14001 certification (relating to the environment), the basic principle of which is to prevent waste and to set rules for achieving this.

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