With a significant portion of its business coming from government contracts-particularly after the economic downturn slowed work in the building construction industry-Corrugated Metals decided to pursue quality, efficiency and safety improvements to make its products and services more attractive to potential customers.
IMEC spent two years delving into Corrugated Metals’ operations and training employees to convert the knowledge in their heads into documented processes and protocols. With a comprehensive, custom Quality Management System in place, IMEC encouraged the company to pursue ISO 9001:2008 registration. Following successful ISO registration, IMEC helped Corrugated Metals achieve certification to the U.S. military’s Qualified Suppliers List of Distributors (QSLD) in record time, completing the typical 18-month process in just 60 days. IMEC also helped the company develop a best practices safety plan that authorizes any employee to stop any action in the plant at any time for safety reasons.
- Received a $30 million Dept. of Defense contract
- Achieved certification to ISO 9001:2008
- Named to the U.S. military’s Qualified Suppliers List of Distributors (QSLD)
- Improved safety levels significantly
U.S Military Counts On Belvidere Manufacturer’s Quality To Protect America’s Troops
With much of its business tied directly to the building construction industry, the economic downturn could have spelled disaster for Corrugated Metals, a manufacturer of roll-formed and corrugated products based in Belvidere. Instead, this 123-year-old company took advantage of opportunities to improve quality, efficiency and safety-and landed a $30 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) in the process.
According to President Ken Carlton, Corrugated Metals and its partner company, Infrastructure Defense Technologies, have been producing materials for the U.S. military for years. In fact, government contracts helped offset the decline in business in recent years from construction firms and OEMs. But the DOD work is the companies’ first significant defense contract, and Carlton believes his company’s partnership with IMEC helped set the foundation for its success.
The two organizations first joined forces to develop a Quality Management System. Corrugated Metals’ goal wasn’t to become ISO 9001:2008 registered, but merely to implement a quality program in compliance with ISO requirements. IMEC team members spent about two years working closely with Corrugated Metals’ staff, first delving deep into the company’s operations, then training employees to convert the knowledge in their heads into documented processes and protocols.
But the project didn’t end there. Two years of work had put Corrugated Metals in a great position to achieve ISO 9001:2008 registration-and with encouragement from IMEC, company leaders decided to pursue registration.
“There’s no doubt ISO registration gives us a strategic advantage. That’s why we put it on every piece of correspondence we send out,” says Carlton, who along with his brother Tom represents the third generation of family management at Corrugated Metals. “When you are ISO 9001:2008 registered, people accept carte blanche that you know what you’re doing.”
Carlton believes his company would have landed the DOD contract-providing metal revetments, or earth-filled steel walls, to protect U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan-prior to receiving ISO registration. But he’s also convinced that going through the quality registration process has enabled his team to perform to the high levels demanded by the U.S. military. And with lives literally on the line, that’s important to every employee at Corrugated Metals.
“We’re so proud to protect America’s soldiers,” Carlton says. “And with IMEC’s support, everyone on our team is thinking about quality all the time.”
Following the successful quality project, Corrugated Metals turned to IMEC for help with two additional initiatives. Last year, IMEC helped the company achieve certification to the Qualified Suppliers List of Distributors (QSLD), a stringent set of standards required for companies wanting to sell bulk metal products to the U.S. military. What typically is an 18-month process took IMEC and Corrugated Metals only 60 days to complete.
The two organizations also worked together to develop a best practices safety plan that Carlton says has improved Corrugated Metals’ safety levels significantly. “The proof is in the pudding,” he says. “Now every employee is watching for safety in every facet of the day’s work.”
When it comes to consultants, Carlton gives IMEC his highest recommendation. “IMEC is a cut above in the quality of service,” he says. “Consultants get a reputation for not delivering results. IMEC delivers on everything they say they will. And their level of expertise and experience is just tremendous. These aren’t kids right out of graduate school.”
“Consultants get a reputation for not delivering results. IMEC delivers on everything they say they will. And their level of expertise and experience is just tremendous.”
– Ken Carlton, President