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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2012

For more information please contact:
Zenagui Brahim
NH MEP
Tel: (603) 226-3200

Advantage Plastic Products Expands Market Opportunities by Achieving ISO 9001 Certification


CONCORD, NH - Looking to expand both its domestic and global market opportunities, Advantage Plastic Products (APP) today announced that it has achieved ISO 9001:2008 certification. The certification demonstrates that the company complies with the highest international quality standards and comes after a year-long initiative by the Concord-based manufacturer.

Capable of meeting a wide variety of customer needs with its custom plastic injection molds and molding, APP decided last year to pursue ISO 9001 certification. Company managers recognized that success in accessing competitive global markets would require proof that the firm meets international standards. But like many small manufacturers, APP’s management worried about the cost and burden of achieving ISO certification.

“The cost of certification for a small company like ours was initially a concern,” said Joel Beaudette, APP’s vice president of sales. “We began by pursuing the certification on our own, but our managers are very busy and juggle many responsibilities. After several months of limited progress, we heard about the ISO Collaborative and decided to join it.”

The ISO 9001 Collaborative is a new initiative sponsored by the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NH MEP) designed to help small and mid-size enterprises with limited resources achieve international quality standards. Recognizing that collaboration rather than competition is sometimes the best approach for achieving business goals, the ISO Collaborative employs a team approach to helping companies prepare themselves for ISO 9001 certification.

Monthly workshops delivered by MEP instructors are combined with homework assignments and templates that can be customized by each participating company. Participants work on their companies’ quality management systems, training a quality team and preparing for ISO audits, over a seven month period. In addition to the workshops, the NH MEP instructors provide individualized coaching and attend the company ISO audits.

“Getting involved in the NH MEP ISO Collaborative was the best move we ever made,” said Beaudette, noting the significant cost savings resulting from its partnership with NH MEP. “It was easy, and kept us on point while helping us to help ourselves.”

The unique collaborative approach often is hailed by participating companies and enables ISO teams to learn from each other as well as from the MEP instructors.

“The friendly competitiveness between companies in the Collaborative brings positive results such as a deeper understanding of the content, increased overall achievement, improved outcomes and higher motivation to remain on task,” said NH MEP Center Director Zenagui Brahim. “Generally, participants in the program achieve full compliance to the ISO standards.”

Participating companies also value the significant cost savings that can be achieved by participating in the collaborative, Brahim noted. Typically, the cost of participating in the NH MEP ISO Collaborative is approximately half of what a company might pay going through the program independently.

“The collaborative price structure was much easier to deal with than if we had done this on our own,” APP’s Beaudette stated.

With 18 employees, Advantage Plastic Products was the second largest company participating in the Collaborative. Another company had approximately 10 employees, two had just a few people each and the fifth company had more than 200 employees.

“The Collaborative brought together a good mix of companies,” said Beaudette. “The needs were different, but it was good to hear about other companies’ issues and perspectives and share ideas that could be related to our own situation.”

The NH MEP Executive Director noted that many companies attempt to secure ISO certification on their own before turning to the NH MEP. In the case of Advantage Plastic Products, the company had formed an internal ISO certification team and had been working on the implementation of ISO standards for some time, but had been unable to make much headway before joining the Collaborative program.

Brahim pointed to some of the benefits enjoyed by companies that achieve ISO 9001:2008 certification:

“In today’s extremely competitive market, ISO certification can make a difference. It is internationally recognized, which is vital for global suppliers, and its standards help ensure consistent customer satisfaction. In addition, implementing ISO 9001 helps companies organize and streamline processes, and this often leads to greater efficiencies and cost savings,” said Brahim. The International Organization for Standardization (IOS) based in Geneva, Switzerland, is the source of the ISO 9000 family of quality management standards. IOS has a network of national standards institutes from 146 countries working in partnership with international organizations, governments, industry, business and consumer representatives. About Advantage Plastic Products

Advantage Plastic Products is a custom manufacturer of plastic injection molds and molding servicing a diverse array of industries including electronics, medical, telecommunications, commercial and industrial. In their continuing effort to better serve its customers, APP recently designed and built a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Concord, NH. APP can take your project from concept to completion utilizing the latest in 3D CAD technology working with a variety of commodity and engineering grade resins designed to meet your product requirements. For information on APP and custom injection molding, please visit www.app.nh.com, or phone 1-603-227-9540.

About NH MEP

The NH MEP is an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) under the U.S. Department of Commerce. The national MEP system is a network of manufacturing extension centers that provide business and technical assistance to smaller manufacturers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Through MEP, manufacturers have access to more than 2,000 manufacturing and business “coaches” whose job is to help firms make changes that lead to greater productivity, increased profits and enhanced global competitiveness. For information on the MEP Lean Energy and Environment program, please visit www.nhmep.org, or phone 1-603-226-3200.



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