Arconic Titanium and Engineered Products (Arconic), located in Washington, Mo, is a part of Arconic, Inc., a global leader in the development and manufacturing of state-of-the-art metal products and solutions for the aerospace, industrial turbine and commercial transportation markets. This division specializes in lightweight metals engineering and manufacturing including formed aerospace and defense parts, bulkheads, frames, spars, skins, angles, fairings, longerons, brackets and other various parts. Formerly operating as Alcoa Titanium before it became part of Arconic in 2016, the company employs 300 workers at the Washington, Mo, facility and is a Fortune 500 company.
Turnover is a problem for Arconic due to the challenging working conditions. In fact, the company has been operating in a constant state of overtime for nearly a decade resulting in severe employee burnout. When Arconic manages to onboard new employees to replace those exiting, the company instructs experienced staff to train new operators, which has yet to yield the repeatability of results or shorter training times desired.
The company was also experiencing pressure from customers to increase quality and productivity– a demand that could not be sustained with the lack of systems in place. Arconic knew to fight attrition and standardize the training, they needed a program and process that could quickly get new hires up to a proficient speed.
Tom of Missouri Enterprise approached this project like an army general would -- establishing responsibilities and delegating them out to the team. For once, it felt good to have a map in hand knowing where we wanted to go and how to get there. With his guidance and thoroughness, we were able to make it through the audit and obtain our certification.
For many companies, obtaining the AS9100D certification is customer driven. Arconic was no exception. The company made the decision to pursue the certification, a standard primarily applicable for the aviation, space, and defense industry and incorporates the new clause structure and content of ISO 9001:2015. This standard can also be used in other industry sectors when a quality management system with additional requirements over an ISO 9001 system is needed.
Over the years, Arconic has worked on multiple projects with Missouri Enterprise, a NIST MEP affiliate. Missouri Enterprise’s Tom Gordon was assigned to help the company address gaps found in readiness for their upcoming AS9100D audit. Tom also worked to capture and document best practices and tribal knowledge from the most proficient operators to further develop the standard of work that would support continuity in the company’s training programs.
The AS9100D helped the company establish baselines for quality in responding to customers in terms of continuous improvement, leading to increased profitability and reduced costs. It also secured existing contracts for years to come with major customers whom without, would have devastated Arconic and closed the doors forever.