Like many companies around the world, UI is certified to the ISO 9001:2015 quality management standard. If your company is certified, you already know what this certification means. But if you don’t, here’s a general overview:
The goal of the standard is to get companies to think holistically and systematically. While the standard is committed to quality, it’s not about product quality. Instead, it’s about describing, understanding, and communicating company processes. The goal is to improve consistency of operations across the board, with an emphasis on leadership engagement.
Reviewing the standard made us question how adhering to it has improved UI, and to learn the answers, we turned to Guy Dixon, UI’s Quality Manager. In this brief interview, he explains how the ISO 9001:2015 standard has changed UI’s culture and how we work – and what it means for you, our customer.
CM: When you say adhering to the ISO 9001 standard has changed UI’s culture, what do you mean? Can you give a few examples?
GD: We’re all now focused on consistent quality and continuous improvement. One thing we’ve done is listen to employees and implement their suggestions. Not only does this make them feel like part of the team, but it says their ideas are valued. They can also witness how the new process improvements reduce waste and streamline how we do business. All of this adds up to better quality and happier customers.
CM: Can you share some examples of what UI is working on with regard to Continuous Improvement?
GD: One thing we’re working on is how we record information. We want to be sure organizational knowledge is available to all employees on the floor. We’ve learned that if information isn’t shared, or if the person with the information leaves the company, we’re left making the same mistakes or relearning processes that have already been resolved. By recording information, we reduce wasted time and improve quality – which translates into lower costs for customers.
We’re also improving our process for quoting new parts. When sales receives an RFQ, they may not know all the particulars involved in manufacturing the part. Our process now includes having each person involved, from engineering, machining, casting, etc. review the quote / part and then give their input. This thorough review reduces the chance of not having clear requirements upfront and also allows sales to quote things much more accurately.
CM: What’s one challenge that UI has overcome due to Continuous Improvement?
GD: We eliminated duplicate production paperwork that could cause errors due to double entry. This paperwork was something we had been using for years and wasn’t really needed. Again, it helps us improve quality and in turn, means happier customers.
CM: Thank you, Guy. It’s been wonderful to see all the changes, big and small, throughout the plant.
Guy Dixon has been with UI since 2015 and is responsible for UI’s quality program, including all processes and day-to-day operations. He’s also a 20-year U.S. Marine Corps veteran. Read his bio to learn more.