Extended Benefits

The Weekly Report – September 18, 2023
The great part about ISO certification is the value it brings to an entire business.

Talk about the ultimate buy-one-get-one proposition. Or more accurately, buy-one-get-many. Obtaining ISO certification gives companies the widely recognized and highly respected seal of approval, plus countless benefits from the process itself.

On that note, manufacturers considering ISO will want to check out Robb Murray’s article in the current issue of Enterprise Minnesota magazine®. Robb gives readers a sense of what drives companies to pursue ISO certification while showing the far-reaching benefits of the process.

Savillex, an Eden Prairie-based specialty plastics manufacturer, has always served the life sciences market. The company wants to expand by adding new materials to its product line.

Steve Harding, Savillex’s president, says ISO certification will open opportunities in new markets. “We’re relative newcomers compared to our 50-year history, and that’s one of the reasons why ISO certification was important.”

In pursuit of certification, Savillex has reviewed its quality management system and implemented more robust documentation and non-conformance monitoring systems. Harding says ISO certification also keeps the company in the mindset of doing things the right way and smart way.

At Reliable Bronze, a Stanchfield manufacturer of bronze sleeves, bearings and made-to-order components, a recent change in ownership sparked the goal of doubling output in the next three to four years. To hit that target, CEO Kevin Herkner is leading the company through implementation of Lean Manufacturing principles and an ISO 9001 quality management system.

The two efforts complement each other, and the ISO certification process has the whole team at Reliable Bronze fired up. “Every manager and employee here is like a sponge, wanting to learn, change, improve and adapt,” Herkner says.

Despite its name, General Label in Minneapolis doesn’t print labels. It produces permanent graphics and manufactures tactile membrane switches – an example is the component placed behind push buttons on vending machines to help them dispense the right items (I never get tired of hearing about the amazing “behind the scenes” products Minnesota companies manufacture).

Customer requests and the desire for a more robust, thorough and complete quality management system drove General Label to pursue ISO certification. One benefit: the process led the company to adopt business intelligence tools that can produce useful data quickly.

Sumit Mahajan, General Label’s manufacturing engineer who led the ISO effort, says that new data allows leaders to adjust staffing levels and analyze customer satisfaction scores on the fly. “Getting that transparency in the system – so we have a dashboard view to understand what is going on – is one of our first projects. And that initiative came from the ISO process,” he says, noting the boost to employee morale.

One of our top Enterprise Minnesota business growth consultants, Keith Gadacz, has helped countless manufacturers, including those featured in Robb’s article, navigate the ISO process. He estimates the ROI for ISO certification falls in the 10-to-1 to 50-to-1 range. “Looking forward, in growth, profitability improvement, employee engagement – that all shows up in that double-digit to one ratio.”

Incidentally, Keith is leading a manufacturing workshop, A Model for Manufacturing Excellence Using ISO 9001, on Wednesday, October 18 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the Maple Grove Community Center.

If you’re a manufacturer considering ISO, you can read Robb’s full article here. 

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