Leveraging the Benefits of ISO 9001 Certification and a Strong Partnership

Building lasting professional relationships, as an organization, can contribute greatly to its success. Especially when the relationship has the potential to help improve how the organization operates. When French-owned, North Carolina manufacturer MEMSCAP found themselves in a situation where they needed to renew their ISO 9001 certification, they called on a familiar organization for support.
MEMSCAP, a Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) manufacturer, provides the aerospace/defense, optical communications, medical and biomedical and IT/consumer industries with custom solutions based on MEMS. They couldn’t let their ISO 9001 certification lapse. Doing so could have given their direct competitors an advantage and they couldn’t afford a situation where their competitors were ISO certified and they were not.
When MEMSCAP’s quality management specialist suddenly left the company, they had to think outside the box. Christine Schmid, site manager at the North Carolina MEMSCAP manufacturing facility, knew action had to be taken quickly. Schmid said, “We had to change our way of thinking and that quality should be a company commitment and not a one-person job.” That’s when Schmid reached out to NCMEP partner, Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) for assistance.
Schmid says she reached out to IES because of the long-running history between the two organizations dating back over 10 years. “Several years ago, IES was recommended to us by our banker. Our local IES regional manager helped us look for a new location to move to. Ultimately, we didn’t move but the regional manager at IES was beyond helpful and we’ve stayed connected,” says Schmid.
“The stakes were high and we understood a simple lapse could have impacted our business’s profitability, among other things,” added Schmid.
Within a nine-month period, IES improvement specialists trained all members within the organization on the concepts and practices of quality control and how to implement quality management systems in time to renew their ISO 9001 certificate. “They trained us to understand what we needed to do every day, every month, every year in order for us to constantly improve standard operating procedures and managerial systems,” said Schmid. “The recertification became a way to ensure we’re always improving. Our employees also have a greater sense of pride, knowing they work in an ISO certified company.”
As a direct result of IES’ on-site quality training, MEMSCAP has seen approximately $1.15M in total economic impact—$500,000 dollars in retained sales, a $100,000 increase in sales and $250,000 in cost savings.
MEMSCAP continues to work with IES. An IES improvement specialist has been on site three to four times to conduct the internal audits. “Each time the improvement specialist comes, we learn something new. We use their feedback to implement root cause analysis which helps pinpoint exact problems in operations or defects in products. We go back to the source and fix any problems so they won’t happen again,” said Schmid. MEMSCAP hasn’t hired someone to fill the vacant quality management specialist position and doesn’t intend to anytime soon. Schmid said, “The reason? Quality is now everyone’s responsibility.”

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Local manufacturers to produce health care gear

NCMEP partners NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES), the Economic Development Partnership of NC (EDPNC) and the Manufacturing Solutions Center have all stepped up and joined forces with a group of manufacturing companies and nonprofit organizations to assist with the manufacturing of personal protective equipment in response to #COVID19. Read the full article here.

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COVID-19 Supplier Form

The North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) is building a database of companies with certain capabilities during this critical time. There are over 20 critical supplies needed to respond to COVID-19.
If your company currently does or can quickly begin production, please complete this form. NCMEP will share this information with federal and state stakeholders such as the US Department of Commerce and NCDPS Emergency Management agency to help meet these needs. Furthermore, your secured information provides us with crucial analytical data to dynamically generate topics, related companies, and resources.

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COVID-19 Guidance and Resources for Small and Medium Size Manufacturers

The North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) is a network of six North Carolina organizations that provide extension services designed to enhance the productivity, innovative capacity and technological performance of NC manufacturing companies.
Together, we work for a common goal of providing solutions and services that help our clients save time and energy, improve productivity, increase sales, improve profits and create and retain jobs. NCMEP is the official representative of the MEP National Network ™, a unique public-private partnership that delivers comprehensive, proven solutions to U.S. manufacturers, and NIST MEP in North Carolina.
The Foundation for Manufacturing Excellence works side by side with the MEP National Network as the continuing manufacturing education entity. They are providing the latest and most up to date information to the centers regarding the coronavirus pandemic, how it’s impacting small and medium (SMMs) sized manufacturers today and providing resources to the Centers, SMMs and the public. Click here for the link to these valuable resources.

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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resources

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resources
NCMEP is assisting manufacturers with learning about the types of materials and equipment in the most need and how to pivot their business to meet the need. Through our statewide partnerships, we also are connecting manufacturers to support services for hiring, layoff aversion and financial support. Please see which of the following categories below fit your current needs. 
I am a manufacturer who may be able to pivot my business to support the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) / medical devices during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond
NCMEP field staff are available to have discussions with any manufacturer considering a pivot to produce medical equipment and PPE. 
Step 1: Submit a brief response to our ManufacturedNC online form. 
Step 2: A regional field staff representative from your area who will reach out to learn more about your specific questions and business needs. 
I am a manufacturer who has already pivoted my business to support the demand for PPE, but cannot find materials to produce PPE
Several manufacturers of surgical grade raw materials have contacted us to let us know that they have existing inventory or capacity to produce material in large quantity.  Please fill out the ManufacturedNC form for this request as well and one of our field staff will be in contact with you. 
I am a manufacturer who has produced PPE and would like to make them available to NC state agencies
In order to best assess vendor offers for critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies, a vendor vetting team has been established to support the Emergency Operations Center procurement activities. 
Any manufacturers interest in providing these types of products to the state of NC should contact VendorHelp.COVID19@dhhs.nc.gov 
NC Emergency Management has identified a list of healthcare products in critical need. Healthcare Products urgently needed include: Surgical masks (ear-loop, 3-ply), N95 respirator (must be NIOSH approved), Surgical gowns, Face shields/Eye protection, Yellow isolation gowns (universal or XL), Blue poly gowns (universal or XL), Shoe Covers, Hand Sanitizer, Antibacterial Soap, Disinfecting Spray (Liquid), Disinfecting Wipes, Bleach, Ventilators w/accessories, Air-purifying respirators (PAPR/CAPRs), PAPR Hood, PAPR Filters, PAPR Batteries, Goggles, Tyvek Suits, Coveralls, P99 and N100 Respirators, Bouffant Cap, Boot Covers for Tyvek Suits, Protect Foam (Foaming Antibacterial Barrier).
I am a manufacturer who needs to hire additional staff to ramp up production during this time
The local area NCWorks career centers will compile job postings for companies who are doing massive temporary hiring. They will work directly with you to post job openings and find potential staff to fill critical roles.
EDPNC has also posted immediate employment opportunities and manufacturers wishing to post jobs on this site can contact John Loyack at john.loyack@edpnc.com
I am a manufacturer who has, or may in the near future, experience job losses due to COVID-19
The Business Edge Layoff Aversion Program is prepared to work with your company on implementing a variety of layoff aversion strategies, free of charge. 
I am a manufacturer interested in financial resources to help me get through the COVID-19 crisis due to loss in business
NC Rapid Recovery Loan – Golden LEAF funding will support the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program by enabling loans to be made to eligible businesses. The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program is managed by the NC Rural Center, a statewide nonprofit that has been supporting small business owners for more than 30 years, and a broad coalition of nonprofit lending partners to directly assist small business owners.
 US Small Business Administration – In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the US Small Business Administration is encouraging small business owners to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and the Payroll Protection Program.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advance: Small business owners in NC are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This loan advance will not have to be repaid. To apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, click here.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
Facebook Small Business Grants: Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time.
United Way COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund
Information on tax filing extensions for NC DOR and US Treasury
 
Other Resources
America Makes – COVID-19 Health Care Needs and AM Capabilities Repository
Carolinas Small Business Development Fund
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Department of Homeland Security
Economic Development Partnership of NC (EDPNC)
Foundation for Manufacturing Excellence
Manufactured in North Carolina Supplier Database
National Association of Manufacturers
National Cyber Security Alliance
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
North Carolina Office of State Human Resources
NC Department of Commerce
N.C. Department of Information Technology’s Broadband Infrastructure Office
NC Rapid Recovery Loans (Supported by Golden Leaf Foundation)
NC Chamber Resource Guide
NC State University
OSHA – The Proper Way to Take a Mask On and Off
Paycheck Protection Program
US Chamber of Commerce
US Small Business Administration
World Health Organization
Vertical IQ

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