Hammond Air Conditioning, a developer of factory-style mobile air conditioning systems, announced that it now is registered to the ISO 9001:2008 quality standard following a five-month qualification and audit program. The registration covers Hammond’s system design process, from the initial customer request through field testing and final specification, as well as manufacturing operations.
“We found that meeting the ISO standard was not really a big jump for us,” says Deb Lemon, vice president, explaining that Hammond’s experience in quality management simplified the process. “Our quality processes have been in place for some time. The ISO program simply required us to document the steps we were already taking.”
Lemon credits her audit firm, PRT Services of Woodstock, Ontario, with the successful completion of the program. “They did everything to make it as easy and seamless as possible.”
Hammond inventories the componentry for more than 700 installation packages for farm and construction equipment, workboats and pleasure craft, and highway and delivery trucks. Each system is tailored to the specific application, including all the components required for a complete installation. Accurate recordkeeping of model updates and new designs are critical to Hammond’s ability to respond quickly to customer requests.
Lemon believes that achieving ISO registration will assist Hammond in pursuing new business opportunities with prospective military customers and large OEMs in the heavy equipment and trucking industry. Although Hammond has supplied its systems for military applications in the past, it has done so as a supplier to a prime contractor. With the ISO designation now in place, it provides a seal of approval for large purchasers to consider proposals directly from Hammond.
According to Denise Henry, sales coordinator at Hammond, the work to qualify for ISO registration was a worthwhile effort in its own right. “The program got everyone involved and generated a lot of excitement,” Henry says. “It raised everyone’s understanding of why we all need to be accountable for any problems that arise and for finding solutions. We all learned something about how something as simple as a part shortage can impact our costs and our competitiveness.”
Henry says the new documentation requirements provide useful information for making improvements to management and quality practices, and that the ISO program already has helped Hammond employees identify ways to improve the company’s inventory control system.
While the qualification program required a significant investment of time and expenses, Lemon says it was money well spent. “We got our value out of it just because it got everybody together. It made our products better, and it made our work environment better at the same time.”