It's difficult being a small business and understanding what's out there to help us. What AZ MEP offers is a huge asset for a small company. I don't have time to research consultants or search for resources, but AZ MEP has a team that delivers soup-to-nuts services for manufacturers. The help we received is a win-win because the employees improve their skills and become more valuable to the company, which leads to pay increases for them. And the company can gain certifications that help open doors for more business, resulting in more job hires and higher wages.
AZ MEP helped Latham prepare an incumbent worker grant application, identify the training needed, and source the trainers based on the previous assessment. “The grant allowed us to improve skills, maintain employee certifications, and certify to ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management system,” said Latham. The incumbent worker training grant also helped the company pay for the audit and training for ISO 9001:2015, freeing up company funds to purchase new equipment and invest in a new ERP system.
For Latham, differentiating the company on quality opens up more business opportunities, especially in the growing medical device market. The regulatory requirements for medical devices are increasingly stringent throughout every step of a product’s life cycle. To secure the business, Latham needed to earn ISO 13485:2016 certification, which demonstrates the company's ability to provide medical devices and related services that consistently meet customer and applicable regulatory requirements. With AZ MEP’s help, Latham Industries completed a gap analysis for ISO 13485 to help them prepare for a successful audit. The company recently passed the audit and is waiting for the final report to make the certification official. “With ISO 13485 certification, the medical device field opens up a new business opportunity for us,” said Latham.