“IMEC has been instrumental in helping QCE to achieve a higher level of operating success not only in this Quality Management System project, but also advising on other projects that connect our company to the right resources. Our team thanks Jeff Allspaugh & IMEC for their valued assistance!”
Success in Operations
The team at Quad City Engineering, Co. (QCE) had been relying on tribal knowledge to run daily operations. Eventually, this resulted in additional time spent searching for documents and accomplishing daily tasks, missed business opportunities, and low productivity and customer satisfaction. Jeff Hagmeier, President/CEO, and his team knew it was time to “address standardized documents, file saving, quality systems, employee training and skill ratings, engineering, and general business systems.” They wanted to establish a Quality Management System (QMS) that could prepare the organization for ISO 9001:2015 certification. So, they reached out to their trusted partners at IMEC.
IMEC experts began the process with a high-level gap analysis that revealed business areas that needed improvement to prior to a successful registration audit. To fill those gaps, they created a Quality Manual with supporting documents for policies, processes, and procedures that meets the requirements of ISO standards, including a process map for high level processes, a SWOT analysis update, a risk assessment, and an Internal Auditor Program and Auditor training to name a few.
In collaboration with QCE, IMEC developed and implemented a Management Review procedure that defined management review responsibilities. Periodically, Top Management would review and evaluate the QMS to ensure its continued effectiveness. The Internal Auditor Program and Auditor training prepared the QCE staff to be able to provide input to Management Reviews and functions as an instrument for continuous improvement with the QMS.
The process continued with an IMEC-recommended Registrar, and continued support to resolve any non-conformances. QCE is now ISO certified and has established internal processes which have led to noticeable improvements in the organization of all documents in key areas in HR, Quality, Production, and Engineering. For example, QCE determined a new process for Production Parts Approval Process (PPAP) submissions which many customers require to conduct business with a supplier. This worked in QCE’s favor as they “have been able to gain new customers, be much more efficient, and reduced the time it takes to complete PPAP’s,” according to Hagmeier. He states, “employee and training records are easier to maintain and track. Not to mention, organizing our server to save documents in all department areas has saved us time and money.”
Prior to implementing ISO 9001 processes, employees spent a lot of time searching for - or creating - documents to complete a customer’s request. At first, they were hesitant to accept changes, but quickly realized the benefits in how they approach work. “We have definitely seen an improvement in productivity and customer satisfaction,” states Hagmeier. “99% of documented customer feedback has been very positive and has led to increased business from current customers, and we were able to attract several new customers.”
As a result of new business growth, they have been fortunate to hire new employees and as such, have improved their onboarding process which has led to “better employee retention with high morale as we are more prepared to take on new challenges,” said Hagmeier. “Without a doubt this project has led to improved morale, customer satisfaction and just good organization of our company.”
- Anticipated New Sales: $500,000
- Anticipated Cost Savings: $131,000
- Anticipated New Investments: $130,000
- Jobs created: 7
- Jobs retained: 18