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Tuesday, Sep 26, 2023

Weekly Briefing

For the past 18 months, Gardena-based ball bearing maker IKS American Corp. has been reorganizing its business practices in a bid to be certified by the International Organization for Standardization. The Geneva-based ISO, whose members are national standards organizations from more than 100 countries, certifies companies that voluntarily use a prescribed regime of standards in their business practices. IKS Vice President John Blair said certification will help distinguish the company’s manufacturing processes. Certification also puts IKS in a family of more than 100,000 ISO-approved companies around the world, and that can mean more business with those companies. Blair said he underestimated the time investment necessary to earn the certification, which he hopes to clinch in March. However he believes that earning the ISO mark will be worth the effort. Blair talked with reporter Wade Daniels. As a small business with about 18 employees, we thought it would be relatively easy to adapt our company to meet ISO criteria. But there have been some surprises, mainly having to do with all the paperwork that is involved. By paperwork, I’m referring to all the forms (needed) to document everything that takes place in the company. We received a manual of ISO guidelines, and from this we wrote detailed descriptions of each person’s job, how they are to execute their job, and how to document each day’s work to show that it was done correctly. We developed guidelines on everything from purchasing procedures to monitoring the accuracy of our testing equipment. Our ball bearings are mainly used in motors, such as in car parts like alternators and generators As for our status in the certification process, we have had a preliminary audit and received some recommendations on things we still need to fix. Next month, we’ll receive a final audit and see if we get certified. The reorganization we’ve done to earn ISO has changed little in our actual production process, but like I said it’s changed how we document things. Even with all the new paperwork, the new way of doing things is more efficient in some ways. For example, with the new documentation process for shipping, the incidence of (sub-standard) goods being shipped out has decreased. The new efficiencies are a plus, but the bigger benefit of having ISO certification will be the ability to show potential customers that we have it. I mean, someone might like our bearings but wouldn’t necessarily be sold on them. If he asks me, “How do I know you make the bearings this good all the time?” I can point to our certification. It would show that our company does everything the same way every day, and can document it.

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