By William Swaim, Communications Specialist, Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma
Wyandotte Precision Products has been working toward ISO 9001:2015 Certification the last six years, and thanks to hard work and a complete team effort over the last year, achieved ISO certification.
ISO 9001 certification is intended to improve management performance at companies. The main part of achieving certification is forming a Quality Management System (QMS). Certification gets a company’s QMS recognized globally.
“It was a good accomplishment -- everyone is proud of the work we have done,” said Ron Brown, Business Developer/Operations Manager at Wyandotte Precision Products (WPP) and Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma (WTOK).
Brown said the certification opens the door for WPP to work with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), which is the buying agency for all of the military, and other companies that require ISO certification. Without being ISO certified, WPP wasn’t able to compete for those contracts.
He said they also have the potential now to subcontract to companies making parts for major companies like Boeing or Lockheed, which WPP can’t sell to directly, but can subcontract to companies that do. All of it is increased potential for sales.
“It should allow us a lot of opportunities that weren’t there before,” said WPP Administrative Assistant Carla Howrey. “In the past, some of our potential customers asked if we were ISO and we had to say no. Now we should have a clean shot at getting a lot of work that we were qualified to do, but we just weren’t certified to do.”
While most of the work to get certification took place over the last year, the ground work for achieving the status has been going on since WTOK purchased the machine shop (formerly Howard’s Machine Shop) in 2011. WTOK is the federally-chartered corporation of the Wyandotte Nation and drives economic development for the Tribe. Economic development supports various programs for tribal citizens, including healthcare, housing, and education programs.
“When we set this shop up from day one we had ISO in mind, so we planned the organization that way,” said WPP Machine Shop Supervisor Larry Robinson. “From tooling and machines all the way down to the way we were doing our paperwork. That’s basically what it is, it’s a way to track everything.”
The requirements to achieve ISO 9001 Certification is all about process documentation. So on Jan. 6, 2017, WPP set out on its goal about setting the process, and having an effective and repeatable process it could document.
Brown said WPP hired ISO consultants IMSM to provide gap analysis – to show where they were and where they needed to be. The consultants helped walked them through the process to prepare for the audit required to receive certification.
Another key player in developing WPP’s Quality Management System was the team’s Internal Auditor Melody Liles, who is also a Wyandotte Nation tribal citizen. The QMS covers every step that WPP takes, from intake of the order to delivery to the customer.
“I was our liaison if you will,” said Liles, who previously interned with WPP before working the last year at the machine shop. “I got all the documents together, made sure everything was organized the way they were supposed to be. I was sort of the ISO specialist and internal auditor.”
With the help of the consultants, the effort of Brown, who is also a Wyandotte Nation tribal citizen, and the entire WPP team, they were ready for the audit from QAS International.
Pictured from Left: Larry Robinson, Norm Lown, Mark Parnell, Darryl Collins, Melody Liles, David Tatum, Carla Howrey, David Woodmansee, Ron Brown and Erik Vargas. (Photo by William Swaim)
QAS International’s Auditor spent time at the WPP’s machine shop in Webb City, Mo., going through the entire Quality Management System and later interviewing all the machinists to ensure they knew their stuff.
“We have a process for everything, from the intake of an order, identifying the material needed, procuring the material, programming the machines, machining the part, quality control, delivery to the customer and invoicing,” he said. “All of these processes were audited and confirmed to achieve certification.”
The auditor’s summary report included this comment: “I wish to thank Wyandotte Precision Products for their hospitality and cooperation during the audit. They have a good start in the ISO 9001:2015 process. They have seasoned machinists who are very knowledgeable in their area of expertise.”
Brown credited all the machinists, Robinson, Liles, Howrey and WTOK Accounting Clerk Chelsea Sherwood for all the work in bringing the certification to Wyandotte Precision Products.
Robinson agreed, “Any time you can bring everybody together as a team, it makes for an all-around better work place. We work hard, we work fast and we work together.”
Upon hearing they had achieved certification, relief was the common theme for the WPP staff.
“So much relief,” Liles said. “I’m just excited for us. I know it’s something we’ve been working on since we were first established, so it’s nice to finally have it and we can breathe.”
Robinson echoed that thought.
“Relieved -- it’s been a long time. I’m just glad we finally got there,” he said. “I think it is going to open up a lot of doors. I’m really anxious to see where we are going to be at a year from now, two years from now. I think our growth is just starting.”