After learning about the benefits of becoming ISO 9001 certified in 1993, Area Diesel knew it would be an advantageous path. However, no one on staff could seem to find the time to devote to pursuing certification. It wasn’t until one of their valued customers was acquired by a larger entity, who was ISO 9001 certified and required the same of subsidiaries and their suppliers, that the issue re-emerged. Without documented processes, Area Diesel failed an audit, and this customer had to resort to only continue doing business on a provisional and limited basis – unless Area Diesel became ISO 9001 certified.
Three years later Quality Systems Manager Linda Leefers joined Area Diesel. She began the process of implementing steps required by the standard at that time, which was ISO 9001:2008, but Area Diesel knew they could not do it on their own, so they called on IMEC, part of the MEP National Network™.
IMEC’s knowledgeable and useful assistance was instrumental in Area Diesel Service’s ISO 9001:2015 certification registration.
With guidance and assistance from helping hands at IMEC, ISO 9001:2015 standard certification. IMEC began the process by establishing where Area Diesel was, then identifying and setting personal and departmental goals for the company.
The next step required matching with a registrar to register as ISO certified. One thing that Leefers knew they wanted in a registrar, was “somebody that’s going to be a good fit.” As a small company with less than 50 employees who wear multiple hats, she wanted a registrar that understood and worked with small businesses. IMEC was able to provide a list of registrars they could vouch for – ones they had worked with or were referrals from companies that had positive experiences working with them.
Registering as an ISO 9001:2015 certified company has resulted in many positives for Area Diesel. One major impact is the cultural change and mindset shift of the employees. Instead of approaching tasks as a checklist of things to get done, they understand that they are performing to meet a customer’s needs. Customer satisfaction is in the forefront of every employees’ mind, and as word continues to spread to the larger market that Area Diesel is ISO certified, Leefers expects it to broaden their market share. She states, “When we start going to tradeshows again, we will have our ISO 9001:2015 certification displayed, and people that would normally pass us by will stop and say ‘maybe we can take a look, and maybe we can do business with you because you satisfy our requirement to have our suppliers ISO certified and you are. So, let’s talk."