“Customers only like two things, quality and on-time delivery,” said Tom Barber, Chief Operating Officer for Costa Precision. “But we were struggling in manufacturing engineering with quoting and manufacturing processes prior to going to the shop floor. This caused irregular workflow, and customer quote deadlines to be missed.”
The manufacturing floor had its share of issues too. “We were failing to provide needed quantities of parts per shift, per day. This led to poorer quality parts being produced because we would get behind schedule and had to rush parts out the door,” said Barber. “This also led to late deliveries.”
They knew they needed to do something to overcome these challenges and not lose customers.
It all started in 2010 when one of their large customers began putting pressure on them to get ISO certified. “This caught us off guard,” said Mark St. Gelais. “We heard horror stories about ISO certification. We really didn’t know how to go about it.” Then in 2011 they heard about and attended an information session put on by the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NH MEP). “The info session went over what ISO certification was all about and let us know about the NH State job training grant program to help offset the cost.” said Mark. They took advantage of the grant, and along with his wife Johanna attended NH MEP’s ISO 9001:2008 Collaborative Program in 2012.
With a new facility, new processes, and new equipment, Kerri knew they would need help with efficiencies and where to place the new equipment. “We tried to be proactive with all the changes going on,” said Mobile. “So in mid-2016 we brought in NH MEP to implement Lean training. We wanted everyone in the company to be of the same mind-set, learn how to reduce waste, and understand the benefits of continuous improvement.”
“If we wanted to retain certain customers and get new ones, we needed to be ISO certified,” said Peter Spohn, Director of Business Development for Textiles Coated International. Recently they attended the NH MEP ISO 9001:2008 Collaborative Training Program and became ISO certified. “But to keep our business current we realized we needed to upgrade to ISO 9001:2015,” said Spohn. “Again we turned to NH MEP for help with handling our ISO upgrade training.” This time, the training would be done on-site.
“When we purchased Concord Awning, we recognized it needed some upgrades. There were no standard operating procedures, no pricing tools, an antiquated computer system, a paper-based system to track sales, and the company’s static website was not focused on bringing in new customers.” said Peter Sandberg.
“About 5 years into running the company our largest customer took their business in-house and hired 3 of our employees,” said Denise Sandberg. “We realized from the start that having one disproportionately large customer was not a good long-term plan for our business. When that customer made their decision to leave, we knew we had to accelerate our existing plan of expanding more into commercial and industrial markets to balance out the seasonality of the awning portion of our business.”