At Columbus McKinnon, our success in the global marketplace is dependent not only on the knowledge and expertise to design and manufacture hoists, cranes, and rigging equipment; but also the business processes to facilitate consistent quality across our broad portfolio of products.
Our commitment to introducing new and innovative products, along with our desire to appeal to and reach overseas markets, prompted our Wadesboro, North Carolina Hoist Operations to seek ISO 9000 Certification — the international quality standard.
This is a tremendous investment in our facility and people, as well as a rededication to our local community. “We have been wanting to do this for years; the incoming products were just a catalyst,” says Joe Ombrello, General Manager of our Wadesboro Operations. “Having the ISO Certification enables us to go to new markets including Asia and Europe.”
Manufactured in Wadesboro, these hoists and overhead cranes are marketed to industries such as manufacturing and assembly, entertainment, utilities, power generation and mining:
- Coffing Hoist manual and powered hoists and trolleys;
- Yale/Shaw-Box wire rope hoists;
- Little Mule manual strap hoists.
Click here to see ALL of our American-made product built in Wadesboro and our other U.S. facilities.
The ISO 9000 certification process started in late 2010 with the guidance of the Industrial Extension Service at North Carolina State University (IES). The process began with the basics. “We started training our leadership in what ISO meant,” says Justin Dawkins, who began at Columbus McKinnon as an engineering student and is now Interim Quality Assurance Manager. “Then we began progressing through the standard, developed a quality manual, and developed training programs and processes within each area. ”
In April 2012, Columbus McKinnon received a banner from IES in recognition of its ISO achievement in a ceremony on the production floor of its 186,000 square foot plant. “It’s really an achievement of people in the plant, so we want to do something for them,” says Ombrello. The plant employs almost 220 employees.
Only three months into the roll-out of ISO 9000, Columbus McKinnon anticipates a 25 percent reduction in the cost of non-conforming material in the long term. The savings could be significant, allowing for reinvestment into the company.
Alongside the ISO 9000 certification process, our plant also engages in continuous improvement. Our JLC electric chain hoist product series just underwent a lean manufacturing improvement process. These units were previously built in batches and painted as complete assemblies prior to shipping. As a result of lean, we have now implemented a true one- piece flow pull system. Our parts get painted prior to assembly so the unit is ready to ship once assembled. What does this mean to our customers? Reduced manufacturing times from 5-10 days down to 2-3 days. Should our customer need a 1 day turnaround, we can meet this request.
As focused as our plant is on quality, our Associates still make time for giving back to the community. Over the past several years our Wadesboro facility has been involved in Relay for Life, at one point leading the county as one of the top 3 fundraisers. Our HR Manager and 18-year Columbus McKinnon veteran, Bob Stowe, speaks regularly at local high schools, addressing work skills and career preparation to current students. He also serves on a regional work force development board involved in aligning training opportunities with career opportunities. We believe in supporting manufacturing technologies and equipping the workforce of our future.
Excerpts of this post were taken from an original blog post “Columbus McKinnon Lifts Quality Standard,” written by the Industrial Extension Service at North Carolina University.