By Ellen Crown, U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency Public AffairsJanuary 24, 2018
The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency's Medical Maintenance Management Directorate earned International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2015 certification Dec. 19.
USAMMA's Medical Maintenance Management Directorate -- known to most as M3D -- has maintained continuous 9001 certification since 2003. The ISO 9001:2015 certification, which updates the 2008 standards, validates the organization's continued conformance with international quality management best-practices for the management, maintenance and repair of medical equipment.
USAMMA's M3D oversees four USAMMA depot level medical maintenance operations as well as the National Maintenance Program, which provides strategic planning, policy development and execution of lifecycle maintenance for medical material in support of the U.S. Army health care worldwide.
"Being able to maintain the ISO certification throughout the directorate has proven to be very beneficial because it has created a stronger emphasis on customer focus and satisfaction and the ability to provide quality products and services," explained Elsa Allen, USAMMA management representative for M3D.
USAMMA National Maintenance Program senior maintenance technician Carmine Izzo added, "ISO certification is the recognition of how the National Maintenance Program works as a team and reinforces our image of credibility. It emphasizes the amount of work the NMP dedicates to optimize processes, improve consistency, reduce waste and ensure customer satisfaction. It also demonstrates our competency, self-determination and impact on customers as well as the organization."
In the Army, quality medical maintenance can be the difference between life and death. The medical equipment that the M3D team service and repair needs to be in top working order on the battlefield -- where a Soldier's life may depend on it.
"Our customer's lives are on the line every day when we walk in the front door to send a piece of medical equipment out the back door. ISO helps us to standardize the way we service medical equipment - ensuring it is available, reliable and ready to save lives," said Christine Ruiz, a depot management representative and senior maintenance technician assigned to USAMMA's Medical Maintenance Operations Division at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.
USAMMA's medical maintenance operations include depots located at Hill Air Force Base in Utah; Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania; Tracy, California; and Sierra, California. M3D Director Jack Rosarius explained that before they were first certified in 2003, each depot had its own work processes and business rules. As they went through their initial ISO certification process, they were able to take the best practices from each location and standardize across all locations.
"Employee contributions to the ISO 9001 requirements are encouraged and the biggest contributions occur when local problems are shared with employees and they are engaged to find efficient solutions that address the root cause. This type of encouraged feedback gets employees involved," said Bill Kamora, assigned to USAMMA's Medical Maintenance Operations Division at Tobyhanna.
One example of this type of valuable employee participation, according to Kamora, was a suggestion made during a safety audit to have upper-shelved pallets wrapped to reduce the possibility of items falling. Employees also helped depot leadership tackle an issue they were having with collecting customer feedback. A depot staff member suggested completing the assessments in person -- rather than by email -- during sustainment visits to the National Guard. The change increased customer feedback by 60 percent.
"Implementing these suggestions creates an environment where employee contributions matter and keeps us all striving toward excellence," said Kamora.
More than 1 million companies and organizations are formally certified or registered to demonstrate their compliance with the requirements of ISO 9001. All certified organization, including USAMMA, undergo routine internal and external third-party audits to maintain their certification.
"What I like about the ISO certification process is that it keeps us current in our best practices and honest about ways to improve," said Rosarius. "We like being held to the highest standard because that is what the Soldier deserves."