By Ms. Kimberly A Conrad (Rock Island Arsenal)January 25, 2018
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. - Just shy of one year after preparations began, Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center achieved certification in the newest International Organization for Standards quality standard, ISO 9001:2015.
RIA-JMTC, a U.S. Army metal manufacturing Arsenal providing readiness solutions for the Army and joint services, has now attained its third ISO certification since originally certified in ISO 9001:2000 in March 2005. RIA-JMTC achieved certification to the ISO 9001:2008 standard March 27, 2009 and to the latest standard as of Dec. 15, 2017.
According to the ISO website, ISO 9000 quality management standards provide guidance and tools for organizations to ensure their products and services consistently meet customers' requirements and that quality is constantly improved.
"All world-class manufacturers are required, via their customers, to have a documented quality management system. ISO 9001 is a worldwide standard that customers are accustomed to and expect certification or compliance to when reviewing supplier quality management," said Bryan Gripp, division chief of RIA-JMTC quality engineering and planning division. "A robust QMS certified to ISO 9001 is focused toward risk mitigation and customer satisfaction, ensuring customers receive exactly what they ask for, when needed and at the cost agreed upon."
While Gripp and the other employees in the quality engineering and planning division maintain the ISO certification as the internal auditing process owner, ensuring RIA-JMTC meets certification requirements, it is not a one division effort. From supervisors to machine operators to assemblers, from the foundry to the tool room to small arms, many people throughout the factory have a part in the success of RIA-JMTC's quality program.
"Transitioning to a new ISO standard was definitely a team approach," said Megan Schumacher, general engineer at RIA-JMTC.
There were several steps, starting with an analysis to determine what needed to be done to become ISO compliant. The quality manual needed to be rewritten to reflect the structure of the new standard. The team conducted an internal audit of the entire factory to ensure the Arsenal would measure up to the new standard, and then created action plans to correct any areas of concern.
"As an organization, we wanted to be aware of areas of concern, or areas that had opportunities for improvement, and work to develop plans to control or mitigate those risks," said Schumacher. "A registrar would be more concerned about an organization not aware of its own weaknesses or risks than it would be to see an organization with several areas needing improvement that had plans in place to mitigate them."
Hilton Smith, American System Registrar lead auditor, said RIA-JMTC is only the second site of those he's audited not to receive corrective actions from the quality management review of sites that are making the transition to the new standard.
The Department of Defense relies on the Army's arsenals to provide quality equipment to the war fighter. RIA-JMTC's diversified capabilities and dedication to quality allows the manufacture of parts from raw material to finished product within a single facility. This offers cost effective products and services of the highest quality to the DOD and the joint services.