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Wednesday, Jun 7, 2023

Family-Owned Blake Gets Important Certification

With its major customers clamoring for higher quality processes in turning out electrical wiring and cable, Blake Wire and Cable Corp. took steps to meet the requirement. The family-owned Van Nuys distributor received certification that its quality-control methods meet strict international standards that allow it to continue serving the aerospace and aviation industries a major requirement for aerospace subcontractors. “We are growing and planning for that growth. It was definitely a requirement and it would be a tremendous selling point for us,” said firm President Robert Weiner, who operates the business along with his brother Victor. The ISO certification applies to manufacturers, suppliers and service providers in many industries and professions although the ISO9000 standard is particularly prized by defense and aerospace contractors to track where parts and equipment come from. Not having an ISO certification could be a deal breaker in not getting military contracts, said Brad Ward, president of the Small Manufacturers Association of California. “If you don’t have it, you can’t even play in the game, no matter what your price,” Ward said. The benefit for Blake is to get wiring, cable and tubing to more customers and expand its reach to those it already supplies to, including Boeing and Northrop Grumman. It opens doors to divisions of existing customers that the company is not selling to, said Executive Vice President Victor Weiner. What sets Blake apart in receiving the certification is that it is such a small company 11 employees working from a single story building near the Van Nuys Airport. The standards were established by the International Organization for Standardization, a non-governmental organization. The so-called ISO9000 rating assures that a company follows procedures covering key processes: keeping proper records and monitoring manufacturing processes; checking outgoing product for defects; and regularly reviewing the quality system for effectiveness. This improves the record keeping and the traceability of the products and materials, Robert Weiner said. “It’s a process that relates more to documentation than it does about running the company,” Ward added. Other certification In addition to the ISO rating, Blake is also certified that it meets AS9100, standards specific for the aerospace industry established by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Hiring a consultant to take a company through the process and register it once certified can cost in the thousands of dollars. That price tag can make it onerous on a company as small as Blake to be ISO9000 compliant. But the small size can be beneficial as it can be easier to manage the documentation needed, Ward said. “For a larger company it’s tougher because they have more people and more layers to manage,” Ward said. The Weiner brothers took over the family firm in 1972 following the death of their father. The company moved to Van Nuys in 1995 from Torrance. The company had also manufactured underwater cable used by the U.S. Navy and oil companies but there came a point when the brothers decided to focus on the aerospace industry and the underwater cable division was sold. The Weiners think that what makes their company unique other than their certification is that they are very specialized in what they do. Blake can more easily and cost effectively do smaller jobs that larger distributors cannot do and it has less red tape to deal with. “We can make a decision quickly as to what we are going to do,” said Martin Weiner, Victor’s son and the third generation to work at Blake. The company also prides itself in how it works with its customers. When a customer calls they are not getting an anonymous customer service representative but someone familiar with their needs so the company can more easily find the product that is right for them

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