Dealing with dangerous materials such as hazardous compounds and chemical or biological weapons requires high-quality containment systems. Jeffrey Gold, president and founder of Atlanta-based Precision Technik, was all too aware of this as he developed a patented mobile containment device that could safely handle a wide range of deteriorated, unstable and unknown containers. Today, Precision Technik’s equipment has been operated worldwide for nearly a decade.
“In 2003, we built a prototype for a mobile containment device because I thought we could do better than what was available then,” Gold recalled. “This is life and death. Semiconductor companies deal with gases that are incredibly toxic, so they have zero tolerance for a problem.”
Gold began considering the manufacturing process and the necessary quality control, and decided to call on Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), a comprehensive university-based industry assistance program, for help in implementing ISO 9001. Gold was already familiar with the work of EI2, because Precision Technik’s parent company, Integrated Environmental Services, was a graduate of Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC).
ISO 9001 is an international quality management system that certifies the application of formalized business processes. The standard takes a systematic approach to managing the organization’s processes and ensuring a consistent product that meets customer expectations.
Craig Cochran, a quality specialist with EI2, assisted Precision Technik in 2006 with its implementation of ISO 9001. He conducted a gap audit to identify areas of improvement, developed an implementation plan and trained the staff in quality issues and internal auditing. He returned in early 2010 to assist with the company’s re-certification.
“As soon as we got into ISO, we realized what a big deal it was, but we were committed to it because we knew we had to standardize the product,” said Gold. “For something of this nature that’s used in a critical situation, you’ve got to make sure the product is uniform and consistent.”
Evan Mass, product manager for Precision Technik, took over the ISO implementation and maintenance and said Cochran’s knowledge and experience was invaluable.
“I’m not an engineer, but the person in this position previously was. I didn’t even know what ISO was, so there was a huge learning curve,” she noted. “Craig came in about a month after I started and spent the day with me and brought me up to speed. Everything is smoother as a result and we’re able to anticipate what’s coming next.”
In addition to the initial certification and then the re-certification, Precision Technik has seen a number of benefits, including more effective execution in the field, a culture change with company personnel and an improvement in on-time delivery from 80 percent to 90 percent.
Today, Precision Technik is the only manufacturer in the world that makes these commercial units and has developed a family of related products covered by more than 30 patents. Between 30 and 50 percent of their products are sold overseas in countries such as China, Israel, Singapore, Australia, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Belgium, England and India.
“The true benefit of Georgia Tech’s program has been much larger in terms of our personnel – how they think and how they look at their work,” Gold said. “Craig lends a very practical but very comprehensive perspective. He can tell us what to focus on and that’s been extremely useful.”
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Writer: Nancy Fullbright