MICHELLE BANGERT 2017-01-25 17:41:40
Quality at the Top The results are in for the annual Quality Leadership 100 survey. Successful companies depend on high quality. Without it, all other elements of a business fall away. Each year, we recognize companies that place a high priority on quality and provide examples of how they achieve these results. The Quality Leadership 100 offers a closer look at companies making quality a priority. Whether they are making parts for SpaceX or the local hospital, quality is always top of mind. Successful companies often use lean, ISO, or Six Sigma to achieve high quality results, but no matter which method they use to get there, the customer benefits from the results. Each year, the BNP Media Market Research Department conducts this survey for Quality. Results are tabulated and the top 100 companies are ranked based on continuous improvement and internal quality programs in place; contribution of quality to profitability and shareholder value; average number of hours monthly that employees receive quality training; scrap and rework as a percentage of sales; warranty costs as a percentage of sales; and registration to various standards such as ISO 9001. Thank you to all those who participated in this year’s survey. 1) ASTRO ALUMINUM TESTING COMPANY INC. South Gate, CA www.astroaluminum.com Astro Aluminum Treating Co. Inc. has done work for SpaceX and other big names, but doesn’t even have a sales team. Quality Assurance Manager Paul Blaisdell explains that the company does meet with potential customers but new business comes about largely on the strength of their reputation. They’ve been in business for 50 years. Astro Aluminum provides aluminum treating services on some of the largest and most complex structures used in the aerospace market. The company has approvals from companies such as Airbus, Boeing, Cessna, GE Aviation, Honeywell Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Rolls Royce, Sikorsky and United Technologies. Aerospace customers require high quality products, and the company’s quality system is based on AS9100 and is accredited by NADCAP to AC7004. Blaisdell, a former NADCAP auditor, has been in the quality industry for 32 years. “As a NADCAP auditor, I’ve seen both sides of the standards,” he says. “If you follow the flow of the NADCAP system, the level of quality will improve.” Understanding the documents and checklists leads to a better quality system, he says. For those looking to improve quality, he also suggests a rigorous internal audit. “It takes more time to do the audit,” he says, “but it gives you a much better reflection of meeting industry expectations.” 2) TOP DIE CASTING COMPANY South Beloit, IL www.topdie.com Top Die Casting has been a family owned business since 1977. The company got started in 1977 with aluminum die castings, and in 2002 started a plastics division to offer plastic injected moldings.The company can produce custom thermoplastic injection molded parts and components for virtually any application and industry. Despite offshoring, they’ve also seen evidence of reshoring with companies coming back to the United States. The company has been busy with new customers. They don’t differentiate themselves with the lowest prices, but the company stands out because of its service and quality. Quality Manager Andrew Bryan says, “Our policy in a nutshell is that we try to do things right the first time. That’s our goal.” Top Die is ISO 9001:2008 Certified, and has received a Supplier Quality Excellence Process Certification from Caterpillar. “The most important thing is understanding your customer’s expectations,” he says. In many cases, Top Die’s work comes from customers whose previous providers weren’t up to the challenge of making their parts with the quality and delivery required. The company uses a range of quality technologies to achieve their goals, including metal analysis spectrometry, real-time fluoroscopic X-ray, leak testing, CMMprogrammed inspections, and a 3D scanner. They also use Six Sigma, in-house raw material inspection, continuous in-process inspections, and process-capability studies. Top Die also does real-time inprocess monitoring, recognizing that managers are only as effective as the information they are getting. 3) WESTERN CONSOLIDATED TECHNOLOGIES Fremont, IN www.wctgroup.com Western Consolidated Technologies makes highly engineered plastic seals that go into just about everything. “Our parts are not sexy,” says Kimberly Kelly, vice president of operations, but “customers know when they are not there.” Without these parts, there are leaks. The advantage of such a part is that there are seals in everything, so even during the recession, business remained stable. They do a lot of cross training so employees can handle various areas of the business. Lean has been huge for the organization— profit doubled when they started to put lean in. “We’ve been on a lean journey for quite some time,” says Kelly. “With lean and the quality system, we don’t see them as mutually exclusive. We do everything in our power to merge those. Both systems have a strong emphasis on employee engagement and auditing. We think that makes a huge difference for our customers.” The company emphasizes safety, quality, delivery, cost and growth, and measures each factor every month. The biggest factor to success is employee engagement and training, Kelly says. When operators feel empowered, they can bring better ideas. 4) COMPOSECURE Somerset, NJ www.composecure.com CompoSecure, founded in 2000, offers in-house manufacturing capabilities for the production of complex metal and plastic composite cards. They have produced products such as 100% polycarbonate ID cards, metal financial transaction cards, RFID inventory tracking tags and ID cards, registered full face holographic sub-assemblies for financial transaction cards, national ID cards and driver’s licenses for domestic and foreign governments, and laser reactive composite sub-assemblies including polycarbonate. The company is ISO 9001: 2015 certified. 5) CASSEMCO INC. Cookeville, TN www.cassemco.com “Quality is what we’re made of,” says Adam Richey, director of operations at Cassemco Inc. “It’s an everyday thing. It doesn’t ever take backstage. It’s always upfront.” The company produces foam and plastic industrial products, everything from mattresses and foam pillows to sponges used in surgery. No matter what the application, the company is serious about quality. “We continually check every step of the process,” Richey says. “When issues are found, we report them and try to knock them out quickly.” Cassemco, a woman-owned small business, began in 1975 with athletic gear. Since then the company has moved on to applications in medical, military, packaging and automotive. “It’s very important being in manufacturing these days to be as efficient as possible. Lean manufacturing is an excellent way to achieve those goals,” says Richey. The company is ISO 9001:2008 certified, and he says this has been a big help to the organization as well. “I think some companies might read it and think there’s too much paperwork, but at the end of the day, it’s those things that help push you forward and help you stand out,” Richey says. He says the themes of studying your customer’s satisfaction levels, listening to customers—did we do what we said we were going to do?—and using that process and believing in it has been huge for the organization. Safety is also a priority, and the company has received the OSHA Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) Award since 1999.
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