MRC Assists American Polarizers in Obtaining ISO 9001:2015 Certification
“ISO gives us credibility; it shows our commitment to quality excellence and enables us to sell to end users more efficiently.”
– Victoria Bentley, Vice President of Special Projects
API is a high-end manufacturer of polarized optical filters and a Ben Franklin Technology Partners Innovation Award Winner. Their product knowledge, optical lamination facilities and custom fabrication capabilities allow them to offer a wide range of filter solutions to many industries around the world. A leading global manufacturer of innovative optical technology since 1960, American Polarizers supplies polarizing materials and solutions for a wide range of applications including aerospace, imaging, computer vision, video and still cameras, inspection, biomedical, nondestructive testing, quality control, and testing and measurement.
American Polarizers, Inc. (API) a specialty optics manufacturer based in Reading, Pennsylvania, sought ISO 9001:2015 certification in response to requests from some current customers and in hopes of winning new ones. The company’s Vice President of Special Projects, Victoria Bentley, points out that prime contractors and other customers (particularly those serving the aerospace industry) often prefer to deal directly with ISO-certified suppliers—a practice that relegated API to a lower point on the supply chain.
API turned to the Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC), who helped provide training and funding support.
First, MRC aided in identifying and engaging a consultant to prepare API for the road ahead. “MRC was very easy to work with,” Bentley says. “Even though we admittedly didn’t know much about the process of obtaining ISO certification, MRC said they could help us, and they did.” She adds that MRC was also very good at anticipating additional needs, such as AS9100 certification for aerospace.
In terms of grant support, MRC explained the grant process and the funds available for training and certification. Moreover, this process aligned with API’s strategic plan, which called for ISO certification as an initial strategic step, followed by a website refresh, and then enacting a marketing plan.
API identified an aggressive timeline for the ISO project, even though the company’s management understood it would pull key critical individuals away from their operational duties. All involved agreed that importance of this effort was well worth the short-term challenge.
“In a matter of two business days, we had grant funding for the project, we identified a consultant to help, and he was here the following week working very well with our President, Jeff Snyder,” Bentley says. “Thirteen months later we passed our audit, which was in line with what we hoped to accomplish. We were thrilled to complete the process as diligently as we did.”
- API achieved ISO 9001:2015 certification in May 2017 (13 months after project kickoff);
- The business has seen “a significant increase” in the number of prospective clients following the ISO certification process; and
- Certification has drawn attention to our value-added services (in addition to better-known products) that enable us to fulfill our customers’ global needs.
For more information about American Polarizers go to: http://www.apioptics.com