Powder Processing & Technology, LLC has maintained ISO 9001 certification since 1998 and just transitioned to the latest version – ISO 9001:2015. PPT’s professionals have assisted the top materials technology companies around the world for over 30 years. The company performs process development and contract manufacturing on a wide range of powders, and has a fully equipped pilot plant as well as multiple production areas specializing in spray drying, calcining and firing
PPT uses the formulas and processing parameters provided by their customers and/or develops the formulations and processing parameters of the products produced for customers. Therefore precise process control is necessary to meet high quality standards. For that reason in 2012, PPT brought in simpleQuE to conduct its quarterly internal audits. Kenneth Bartelt, President, said, “PPT is a small technology company which places significant weight on its quality management system and which needs to ensure its valuable and limited technical resources are focused on customer requirements and our ability to deliver results.”
“We consider the quality system to be part of the fabric of our management system and simpleQuE has added a critical component to that system,” added Ken. “I think that simpleQuE has a practical approach to quality management that is effective and efficient.” In the case of PPT, the commitment to maintaining quality standards is evident and practiced from the highest level of management to their plant workers.
SimpleQuE matched PPT to auditor/consultant, Don Milinkovich, whose 34 years in the chemical manufacturing business made him the right fit. “Don is an experienced and personable consultant who has delivered meaningful audits and provided relevant expertise. Our audits have been at the right level of detail and have made a significant contribution to the business. The performance from simpleQuE has been such that the registrar’s representative and auditor has been very complimentary of the service they have performed,” stated Ken regarding the benefits of working with an experienced auditor. Don also worked with the PPT team to prepare them for a smooth transition to the new standard.
These internal audits have reinforced the objectives of PPT to maintain high levels of service and customer satisfaction while utilizing the principles of ISO 9001 to incorporate continual improvement into their business practices.
Twenty years ago small businesses focused on one thing: how to make profits. Today, environmental impact is turning out to be just as important as meeting the bottom line. Here’s how to manage it for growth:
Incorporate planning – the very first place to start with addressing environmental impact and risks is to include them in strategic planning at every level. Because ISO 14001 is the cornerstone of environmental standards for a business, planning is essential. If the matter isn’t addressed to begin with from the top down, one of two things occur: 1) no one internally treats the matter as a priority, and 2) responses that do occur end up being ad hoc and disparate, which often incurs more costs than expected.
Anticipate that not everyone will be happy at first – getting environmentally focused is still a politically-charged approach. Education is probably the best response, even though it may require a bit more effort. At the end of the day, however, socially-conscious businesses sometimes have to stake out a claim. Choose wisely and then stay the course.
Embrace leadership – businesses that really break out and become the major players using ISO 14001 as their environmental management system are not necessarily the biggest in their industry. Smart businesses are out ahead looking for these leadership opportunities to craft their own path and market niche before anyone else.
Use size to an advantage – Being a small business comes with a lot of advantages in terms of flexibility and speed for adjusting to changes. Rather than a big bureaucracy involved in shutting down an assembly line, small business can test the waters far more rapidly and frequently with new ideas in environmental impact and that’s a huge competitive advantage when used effectively.
Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water – Every new change should have a thorough cost-benefit analysis. There are plenty of existing quality management procedures that align with ISO 14001, including ISO 9001 and IATF 16949.
SimpleQuE offers customized consulting solutions for all sizes of Aerospace, Automotive, Laboratory, Manufacturing and Service organizations. When it comes to environmental impact and responsibility, ISO 14001 certification makes good business sense for businesses small and large, across all industries.
Not only is Accutech Mold and Machine (AMM) ISO 9001:2008 certified, but they also achieved their IATF 16949:2008 certification from Eagle Registrations. In January 2016, simpleQuE consultants, Larry Vance and Don Milinkovich began working with AMM to assess their existing processes and formulate an action plan that would address the gaps and fit their very tight timeline. That was followed up by an internal audit and training to prepare for the expansion to the automotive standard.
Why was this so important to AMM’s founders, Kelly and Darrin Geiger? As AMM’s website states, “International Standards are the backbone of our society, ensuring the safety and quality of products and services, facilitating international trade and improving the environment in which we live in. Conformity to International Standards helps reassure our customers that Accutech Mold and Machine’s products, systems and organizations are safe, reliable and good for the environment.”
Founded in 1996, AMM specializes in plastic injection mold manufacturing. In 2004 the company expanded with an injection molding press to sample molds that were built. Today, AMM continues to build high quality plastic injection molds and also produces plastic injection molded components with 25 presses running 24 hours a day.
Vice President, Darrin Geiger, had this to say, “It was easy to work with simpleQuE and they provided an action plan which our team utilized, working hard to reach our certification goal in just six months. The advantage to being IATF 16949 certified is that it has opened new doors for us in the automotive industry, and our non TS clients are happy because they also benefit from these additional business processes.”