Success Story - Jamar Precision Grinding

Using MAGNET to help implement an ISO9001:2000 quality project allowed family-owned Jamar Precision Grinding to reach for the international marketplace.

Overview

Northeast Ohio-based Jamar Precision Grinding (JPG) was founded in 1979 as a family-owned company. JPG grew as its reputation for quality led to a small but loyal local and regional client base. The majority of its contracts were custom or semi-custom projects for the automotive, agricultural and aerospace industries.

By 2001, JPG had long outgrown its 8,000-sq.-ft., low-ceilinged facility in North Royalton, Ohio. Plant Manager Jeff Miezen described a facility with no climate control, a putrid atmosphere, oily, slippery floors, and bad lighting.

“We could tell when a storm front was coming in because the machines would start running poorly and we couldn’t hold size,” recalls Operations Manager Mike Smith. “We’d be running around closing doors trying to stabilize the temperature. In the winter, if somebody opened the garage door to receive a shipment of parts, it was the same problem.”

Besides those issues, the company couldn’t add any more electrical service at the old location, essentially placing it in a straight jacket when it came to growth.

While JPG had good controls on its shop floor (its quality work being the source of its local success), none of those processes were documented. In addition, there were no processes in place at all for supporting functions like human resources, shipping and receiving and quality control.

“When we ordered something, did we ever actually get it? Did we get the right quantity? Were we charged and invoiced correctly? We had no idea!” recalls Smith. “It was simply chaos in the office.”

A global manufacturer of turbocharger systems offered JPG an opportunity to manufacture an essential component—turbocharger vanes. However, to meet its own certification standards, the client required JPG become ISO certified.

Initially, the owner and managers saw this requirement as just another hoop to jump through. They hired a consultant to handle the paperwork—essentially cutting and pasting company information into a document template.

But on making a trip to the new customer’s facility, where ISO 9001 had been expertly implemented, they experienced a sudden conversion.

“We realized that there was a lot more to an ISO certification than a piece of paper!” recalls Miezen. “We discovered that ISO is an entire business management system and we began to see the potential value of certification to our company.”

“People always ask us ‘What does it cost to be ISO certified?’” observes Smith. “The real question is, what does it cost you not to be certified? What is the actual dollar cost for lack of organization, lost revenue and dissatisfied customers?”

Approach

JPG fired the ISO 9000 Consultant and contacted MAGNET because of the organization’s long-established reputation for quality consulting and results.

MAGNET business consultants reviewed the company’s quality management business processes and conducted a two-day on-site review of internal operations. The consultant then created process flowcharts of the formal and informal practices and procedures associated with management, sales, receiving, warehousing, shipping, order processing, manufacturing, tooling, purchasing, complaints, returns, quality system and inspection, and the high-level quality system processes.

The MAGNET project lead consultant, Dennis Rosa, used Visio flow charting software to establish existing business “current state” process flows. In collaboration with Smith and Miezen, Rosa helped JPG develop a master document list and recommendations for improvements to the “current state” process flows, as well as documentation for improved “future state” process flows. MAGNET developed Level 2 Quality Systems Procedures, a Level 1 Quality Manual and an Internal Document Master List. The consultant helped JPG managers develop Level 3 Work Instructions and update or develop Level 4 forms for the Quality Management System. Rosa also assisted the managers in integrating their quality management system with their new enterprise business system software (JobBOSS).

Evolution

During the consultation process, JPG’s owners and managers recognized that their existing facility would be very difficult (if not impossible) to upgrade to ISO compliance. After investigating several options, the company elected to build a new, 24,000-sq.-ft. facility with state-of-the-art environmental controls, waste and heat recycling capability and three times the electrical capacity of the previous facility. Now the company could add both new equipment and personnel.

The managers made many decisions about the design and construction of the new facility based on the “future state” possibilities they had developed with MAGNET through the ISO compliance development process. In essence, the ISO compliance process helped JPG’s ambitious managers initiate a complete culture change, allowing the company to grow beyond its local and regional history, to become a player in the global precision manufacturing marketplace.

After moving to the new facility, the company obtained its ISO 9001:2000 certificate and has successfully implemented auditing processes that allow it to continue to identify and correct weaknesses in its processes.

Economic Impact

-20 jobs created

-7 jobs saved

-$260,000 in sales

-$1,105,000 in capital savings

Client Quote

“Our MAGNET consultant helped us realize that you don’t let ISO run your company. You run ISO. We continue to use our scheduled ISO internal audits to find oversights, errors and mistakes. Now we can correct small weaknesses before they grow into huge problems. MAGNET helped us put the processes and systems in place that make it easy for us to train our employees to be internal auditors and feel like they have a stake in our certification.”

—Michael Smith, Operations Manager, Jamar Precision Grinding