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Companies seek highest standard.

Twenty-Four State Firms Achieve ISO 9000 Certification

IT'S NOT ENOUGH TO ESpouse total quality management; more and more companies today are requiring their vendors to prove they do more than drop buzzwords.

International Standards Organization 9000 series certification is one means to this end.

Adopted six years ago by the ISO at Geneva, the worldwide quality standards have been accepted by more than 25 countries. ISO 9000 certification is the rule among European Economic Community companies, and U.S. companies have found it increasingly necessary, or at least beneficial, to comply.

As of August, 24 Arkansas companies had current certificates and another five were pursuing certification.

The process is time-consuming and can be expensive.

"How difficult certification depends on where you're starting from," says Nick Macchiarolo, manager of plant engineering at Great Lakes Chemical Corp. in El Dorado. "Great Lakes has always spent a great deal of time and effort on quality issues. Therefore, our task was difficult, but not overwhelming."

It took Great Lakes Chemical slightly less than one year to certify its three specialty chemical facilities in southern Arkansas. Point-man for the project, Eugene Woodby, manager of quality and process technology, says roughly 80 percent of his time was spent on the project for that time period.

However, Great Lakes Chemical went about certification differently than most. The company did not hire an outside consultant, did not have a preassessment done and depended heavily on its technicians -- the people who should know the processes best -- to draft procedure manuals.

"This can't be procedures written in ISO lingo stored in a book on a shelf," Macchiarolo says. "It has to be the way you really work."

Great Lakes Chemical pursued certification because it has an extensive international business.

"It gave us the freedom to continue sales in our European market without any restriction," Macchiarolo says.

Woodby adds, "It lets us check our standards against the rest of the world. And it makes our customers comfortable with our quality control standards."

The Standards

ISO standards are essentially paper-driven: that is, extensive documentation with adherence measured through periodic audits. While certification does not imply a valuable or good product, it does imply that a manufacturer is producing what it means to produce and will do it the same way, producing the same result, every time.

ISO 9000 is the phrase that actually represents ISO 9001-9004.

The ISO 9001 designation, made up of 20 elements, is for companies that do design work, as well as manufacturing. ISO 9002, consisting of 18 elements, is solely for manufacturers. These are the predominant certifications. The majority of Arkansas companies, including Great Lakes Chemical, have the ISO 9002.

Manufacturing professionals will tell you that ISO certification is not a cure-all, but it can be a valuable "reality check." And, while it is not a replacement for total quality management programs, it can be an integral part of that package.

Arkansas Companies With ISO 9000 Certification

Aluminum Company of America, Bauxite Arkansas Container Corp., Little Rock AT&T, Little Rock Operations Center Carrier Corp., Maumelle Clarke Industries Inc., Springdale Columbian Chemical Co., El Dorado Cooper Industries Inc., Belden Division, Clinton Crosby-National Co., Jacksonville CYRO Industries, Osceola Arkansas Eastman Co., Division of Eastman Kodak Co., Batesville Emerson Electric Co., White-Rodgers Div., Batesville and Harrison Ethyl Corp., Magnolia Florida Drum Delta Co., Pine Bluff Georgia-Pacific Corp. Paper Operations, Crossett Great Lakes Chemical Corp., El Dorado and Marysville Lennox Industries Inc., Stuttgart MacMillan Bloedel Containers, Little Rock MacSteel-Arkansas Division of Quanex Corp., Fort Smith Nibco Inc., Blytheville Orbit Valve Co., Little Rock Potlatch Corp., McGehee SB Power Tool Corp., Heber Springs and Walnut Ridge Vaughan & Bushnell Manufacturing Co., Walnut Ridge Vickers Inc., Searcy

Note: Listing as of August. Source: Arkansas Industrial Development Commission
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Title Annotation:Special Report: Industry Report; 24 firms get International Standards Organ ization 9000 certification
Author:Ford, Kelly
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Oct 4, 1993
Words:623
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