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Missing out on waves of potential customers, Seacoast manufacturer rides ISO Certification into new markets
For 28 years, Agility Manufacturing in Dover, NH has specialized in the assembly of printed circuit boards and the manufacturing of electro-mechanical assemblies for electronic design facilities, engineering firms and OEM’s.
In 2004, the company was purchased by Mike McGreevy, who had no previous manufacturing experience, but who had successfully run a large temporary staffing agency. At the time, the business, which had 10 full-time employees and one part-timer, was located in the bottom of an old shoe factory that was built in the 1890s. Despite the less than ideal conditions for electronics equipment, the company grew significantly over the next decade under McGreevy’s guidance, surviving the nationwide economic downturn, while expanding to nearly 50 employees and moving to a larger facility across town. The company currently generates more than $4 million in sales annually, with greater profit-margins than years past, and McGreevy said he hopes to grow the business to around $6 million in revenue within the next two years.
Though Agility has long been a respected and successful Seacoast electronics manufacturer, McGreevy admitted that retaining current clients and recruiting new ones, especially in the ever-expanding medical field, was becoming increasingly difficult without ISO 9001:2008 Certification.
“We were missing out on work, we couldn’t bid on work, we had customers that we had that were pressuring us to become ISO certified, so … it became apparent we needed to become ISO certified and we needed to become trained before we could become ISO certified, and we knew NH MEP had a great program for that and we decided to take advantage of it.”
McGreevy reached out to NH MEP President Zenagui Brahim, who he had met at various New Hampshire manufacturing functions, and subsequently enrolled in NH MEP’s unique ISO Collaborative program, which joins several companies together for a cost-effective approach to becoming certified.
McGreevy sent three employees to the monthly ISO Collaborative sessions, where they learned the proper procedures for ISO 9001:2008 Certification, while also being trained to become in-house ISO auditors. On several occasions, a staff member from (NH MEP partner) Exolytic Inc. personally visited Agility’s facility to make sure the ISO training and implementation was on track.
“She came over and was very helpful, and she gave us great insight into what she saw and what it meant,” said McGreevy, who noted that NH MEP and Exolytic set his company up for success when it came time to be audited for ISO 9001:2008 certification.
In fact, he said his company targeted certification by spring of 2014, and achieved that goal in May of that year.
“We passed no problem,” said McGreevy. “The process went very smoothly. It was great. I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking to become ISO certified.”
Based on ISO 9001:2008 Certification alone, McGreevy credits:
• Four new customers
• At least three retained customers
• About $200,000 in increased sales/revenue
• Three retained jobs
• Three new jobs
• A positive overall impact on productivity and efficiency
“The folks at NH MEP have been exceptionally easy to work with. They (and their partners) have been very thorough in their training. The program that we availed ourselves was reasonably prices, especially given the fact we were able to turn around and become ISO certified, which in turn helped us to retain and gain some new customers, so it’s been awesome. We struggled for two or three years talking about becoming ISO certified and never really gained any ground, and then when we got engaged in the program, we had a clear path and a clear direction, and we followed it and became ISO certified. We went from just floundering to getting it done with the help of NH MEP, so that was a big win for us.”
- Mike McGreevy, President, Agility Manufacturing