“I think that if you are serious about growing your business, ISO is a really good way to start,” says Autovino. Brady agrees, but advises letting the market dictate when the time is right. “I wouldn’t expect that just because you become ISO-certified, it will all of a sudden, create a huge demand [for your products],” he cautions. “If you are going to do it, make sure that it is truly part of a strategic plan that’s going to allow you to enter a certain market.”
Company: Creative Pultrusions Inc.
Headquarters: Alum Bank, Pa.
Focus: Designs and manufactures FRP structural components and systems
Creative Pultrusions Inc. (CPI) began aligning its processes and procedures with ISO 9001 standards in the late 1990s. While it didn’t complete the process then due to resource constraints, CPI did develop the nucleus of its quality systems, which continued to evolve until the company certified to the 2008 standard in 2015.
LEAN/ISO Manager and Management Representative Michael Gassler, who has been through five certification processes throughout his career, says the company was ready to position itself as the industry leader in its chosen markets and to demonstrate its level of commitment. “Once we made the decision to go to ISO certification, the process was much easier than the others that I’ve done because the management team is so focused and there were so many good systems already in place that just had to be tied together,” he says.
CPI worked with Core Business Solutions (CBS) intensively for several months during its year-long certification process. CBS conducted a gap analysis and provided online training for the senior management team.
One area that was in great shape was CPI’s engineering system. The company already had a specification file for each of its 1,000-plus products that includes part construction, inspection documents, quality documentation and tooling, and part, heater and guiding system drawings. Other systems needed more work to bring them up to the 2008 standard. For example, CPI has 400 controlled documents, including its quality manual, quality procedures and work instructions. These documents were scattered throughout the company’s internal network, there were multiple versions of similar documents, and employees were saving documents to their computers. “There was no central control,” says Gassler.