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Vol V Vo ol 2 2,, IIssue ss s su ue e1

Quality as a Growth Strategy

Also 12 Manufacturing Quality: The role of cyber security & regulatory compliance.

14 What I’ve Learned:

Bob Luther, Lex Products

18 No Limits: Pauway has opened the door to new markets and unlimited growth opportunities.

26 A Higher Calling: AeroCision is turning the aerospace market upside down.

Improved efjciency. Faster ROI. Higher projts. Companies that move ahead and stay ahead choose CONNSTEP to guide their continuous improvement and growth strategies. Through close collaboration with our industry experts, CONNSTEP accelerates top line growth, operational efÆciencies and long-term sustainability. Ready to experience a new level of success with your company? Bring us your business goals and we’ll work together to make them happen. CONNSTEP. Your total business improvement resource. CONNSTEP, Inc. 1.800.266.6672

a d v a n ta ge Vol. 2, Issue 1

12 Manufacturing Quality



Quality in today’s manufacturing environment requires management of more than specifications and tolerances. To remain competitive companies must use technology as a monitoring service and performance tool with the goal of improving both and eliminating waste.

14 What I’ve Learned... Bob Luther, CEO of Lex Products Corporation, talks about learning about leadership through OJT and why its vital to listen to the voice of the customer.



18 No Limits With the AS9100C certification secured, Pauway has opened the door to new markets and unlimited growth opportunities.

4 We Expect it to be Great! There are companies that have become recognized as leaders in their market by always commanding superiority through the quality craftsmanship of their products. They


have earned this high degree of excellence for their commitment to being the best.

22 Quality as a Growth Strategy Today’s quality programs take a holistic approach, and help companies not only meet the requirements of their current clients but provide opportunities to enter new markets.

6 The Buzz Newsworthy trends, topics, statistics and an opportunity to ask the experts.


26 A Higher Calling


AeroCision is plotting a new course and with the latest quality registration and the development of a world class culture - they’re turning the aerospace market upside down.

Quality Community The Bigelow family has set a high standard for us to follow; the family’s history of commitment to philanthropy is not only inspirational, it creates an expectation for each of the employees.





We Expect it to be Great! There are companies that have become recognized as leaders in their market by always commanding superiority through the quality craftsmanship of their products. They have earned this high degree of excellence for their commitment to being the best. This does not always translate as meaning lowest in price, and quite often, it is the exact opposite. Take a segment of the automotive industry for example, where premium cars such as BMW and Mercedes do well in a market where consumers expect to pay a lot to drive the “ultimate driving machine” or one that claims to be the “best or nothing.” To play in this arena, quality must be an eminent part of the mix, as it is certainly expected by the consumer. Unlike BMW or Mercedes, many companies, both young in industry tenure, as well as mature in their industries, are searching for their place in the market. In the vast and changing global economy, there are many forces driving immediate transformation - it is hard to keep up with international competition and diverse, emerging technologies. Despite this, there is great opportunity for growth and profitability through new product development for both new and existing customers. Highly efficient manufacturers are well-positioned to take advantage of the situation but realize that continuous improvement is not enough. With ever changing customer demands, and with such a crowded market, new products must be distinctive; total product quality is now not only expected, it is crucial, for competitive advantage.

Advantage Magazine is a publication of CONNSTEP, Inc. For the small to medium size business that wants to remain competitive and grow in local and global markets, CONNSTEP provides technical and business solutions proven to have both immediate and sustainable long-term impact. Unlike other professional consultants that focus only on a single component of your business, CONNSTEP’s multidisciplinary team uses a deliberate holistic approach, providing innovative results-driven top line growth solutions that impact the entire organization. Since 1994, nine out of ten CONNSTEP clients have reported increased profitability. In 2011 alone, data provided by an independent survey credited CONNSTEP with impacts of more than $160 million dollars, including new and retained sales, and the creation and retention of nearly 1,600 jobs. Our experience and network of local, state and federal resources, make us not only unique but unequaled in our field and in our state.

Publisher Bonnie Del Conte, President & CEO CONNSTEP

Editor Rebecca Mead, Manager, Marketing & Communications CONNSTEP

Contributing Writers Robert Kravontka, CONNSTEP Bill Greider, P4 Executive Lean Strategy Consulting John Boyd, P.E., Fandotech Michael Perrelli, CONNSTEP Susie Zimmermann, Channel Z Marketing

Our two featured companies in this edition, AeroCision and Pauway, understand the importance and the power of quality performance. Obtaining and maintaining quality registrations opens doors to new markets - and they know that to drive top line revenues, it is smart business to build their companies on a foundation of quality. Today, it is imperative to operate with quality as an integral part of your company’s growth and innovation strategy. As Bob Luther of Lex Products states on page 17, “to succeed, you must innovate, either in your product or process to gain a competitive advantage. We are always asking ourselves, ‘can we do this better?’ and ‘what do our customers think?’”

Jim Gildea, R. C. Bigelow

Contacts To subscribe: To change an address: For reprints, PDF’s: For permission to copy: To pitch a story: CONNSTEP, Inc., all rights reserved. Reproduction encouraged after obtaining permission from CONNSTEP. CONNSTEP Advantage Magazine is printed four times a year by CONNSTEP, Inc., 1090 Elm Street, Suite 202, Rocky Hill, CT 06067. 800.266.6672

May your reading be satisfying,

POSTMASTER Send address changes to: CONNSTEP, Inc.

Bonnie Bonnie Del Conte is the president & CEO of CONNSTEP. She can be reached at



Vol. 2, No. 1

1090 Elm Street, Suite 202 Rocky Hill, CT 06067

>>> Contributors





Robert Kravontka has over 35 years of experience in Connecticut manufacturing operations and technical sales. His book, “Lean Selling,” illustrates to the sales professional the need to streamline the sales approach and general practices, which in turn leads to a more effective sales pitch and client relations strategy.


Robert serves on the board of directors for the Connecticut Green Building Council, and is chair of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) central Connecticut chapter. He is also a past regional chair of SME New England. A graduate of the University of New Haven, Robert holds a bachelors degree in Manufacturing Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration.

Michael Perrelli is the Marketing Specialist with CONNSTEP where he is responsible for developing the content, markets and promotions of CONNSTEP training, networking and outreach programs. Additionally, Michael works with the Manger of Marketing & Communications on organizational market development, website maintenance and trade show efforts.


Before joining CONNSTEP at the end of 2010, Michael worked for the Alcone Marketing Group, a promotional agency based in Darien and for SourceMedical in Wallingford, where he controlled multiple direct marketing and trade show efforts for the leader in ambulatory surgery center management software.

Bill Greider has spent over 20 years at Dur-A-Flex, Inc. (East Hartford, CT) as Technical Director, Operations Manager and Co-Owner. Over a seven year period, he led the company on it’s Lean journey, cut process times by eliminating non-value added activity and began Dur-A-Flex down the road to become a learning organization. During their Lean transformation, Dur-A-Flex was voted one of the “Best Places to Work” in CT four times and won national recognition as winner of the 2010 MEP Excellence in Innovation Award at the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) National Conference in Orlando, FL.



John W. Boyd, Jr. P.E. is General Manager of Fandotech, providing IT infrastructure support solutions from the Cloud to the desktop.


Mr. Boyd graduated from URI with a BSME degree in Control Systems. He has over 30 years in process control, SCADA and corporate IT strategic management.

In 2012, Bill decided that he would like to help other company’s management teams and Lean champions as an independent consultant, hoping to help secure their future success by teaching them the tools needed to turn a “continuous improvement or lean sigma department” into a culture of continuous learning.

Susie Zimmermann has more than 20 years of experience developing and managing marketing and communications for corporations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. In her current work with clients from both the commercial and non-profit sectors, she provides strategic consulting on branding, product launches, messaging, positioning, employee communications and comprehensive marketing programs.


Prior to launching her own consulting business, Susie managed marketing and communications programs for the Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps. as well as for organizations specializing in commercial real estate, urban revitalization and health insurance.


>>> calendar

Mastering Lean Leadership To commit to Lean, leaders must believe in Lean. To believe, they must first understand Lean. Lean is not about what you do, it is about how you think. Lean is a way of life, a management system, a long-term strategy. Lean is about growth, not the accustomed cost-cutting.

The gist: Mastering Lean Leadership helps leaders understand Lean, believe in Lean and commit to Lean so they can create, lead and sustain a Lean business model. The battle is no longer the employee’s resistance to change, as much as it is the executive leadership’s resistance to understanding what it takes to create a Lean business model, to create a Lean culture. Approach: In a small group setting, Mastering Lean Leadership is a series of six half-day professionally facilitated, interactive roundtables for the top leader and his/her reports to engage in meaningful dialogue about their specific business transformation to a Lean management culture. The next Mastering Lean Leadership program begins May 21st and runs to August 6th. Visit for complete program information.

Energy Management Workshop The gist: With over 80% of your energy costs generated in your manufacturing process, learning to see energy waste and developing energy efficiency and conservation plans are the first profitable step in your sustainability initiatives. This one-day CONNSTEP Energy Management Workshop will provide you and your team with energy management skills, will establish a baseline for your company and will help you identify the major users of energy in your facility.

NEW CONNSTEP 10:5 Webinars

Held on-site and employing a unique nine-step approach, the workshop will teach you how to accurately analyze your utility bills, provide you with a thorough understanding of energy terms and definitions, and help you develop an energy management plan.

The gist: 10 minutes, 5 new ideas. The approach: We know you’re busy so we’ve developed a quick way for you to gain new information on topics such as Lean Manufacturing, TWI: Training Within Industry, Six Sigma, leadership and innovation. The CONNSTEP 10:5 series are recorded webinars that you can watch at your convenience and in any location (iPhone and iPad compatible). Each episode is no more than 10 minutes in length and the accompanying downloadable checklist provides you with five new ideas on the topic. for more information.



Vol. 2, No. 1

Who attends? Designed for six to ten participants, this workshop is suited for a diverse team including purchasing, finance, operations, quality, sales and facilities management.

>> > Ask the Experts

Be in Good Company... Congratulations to these companies who have recently obtained a quality registration!

You have questions, Robert Kravontka finds the answers. An expert in quality, Robert answers your questions using his experience and the knowledge of industry’s top thought leaders.

Q: Should I outsource my internal quality auditing? When I am asked that by companies, I try to put myself in the shoes of the person responsible for the quality management system and ask these four key questions: Could my people be doing something more productive with their time? Often, as soon as plans are made to commence auditing duties, something comes up and all hands are required to tend to an urgent matter like getting a rush order out the door. My management doesn’t want to release a machine operator from a value adding machine operation to participate in an audit of another department. As you know, you can’t audit your own department... and quality audits are important - they deserve time and attention - so if you find yourself always trying to “squeeze in” the audits, getting assistance may be the efficient and valueadded way to go. Are we spending more time than we have to on internal audits? I have great people here and they are trained properly to conduct the audits in a timely manner, but because we have to audit departments that are not our own, it takes time to get everyone up to speed and comfortable with the process. And it seems like just as soon as we have our auditor fully trained, wouldn’t you know they move positions and take on more responsibilities? Now I need to train another... Does that scenario sound familiar? If so, external resources who can audit your processes without taking your staff’s time is an option that many companies choose.

Are we doing anything with the internal auditing results, other than satisfying a requirement? Our registrar is happy with our audits even though we’ve slipped on a date here and there. I would like to set up metrics so that we can measure and improve our processes because sometimes we have a non conformance and I’d like to figure out how to mistake proof the process. It would be great to Lean our quality management system, removing the waste, taking less effort to accomplish... Internal auditing resources who have experience with Lean can assist you in applying Lean methodologies to your quality system, removing the waste and freeing your staff to attend to customer requests. How busy are we? When business is slow, we have the internal resources necessary to manage our quality management system, including the internal auditing functions. But now that business is starting to pick up again, my people are flat out with production and training new staff, we just don’t have time to focus on the auditing. Bringing in outside resources to conduct the internal auditing and other essential quality duties allows your staff to focus on your customer requirements. These “outside eyes” also know what the registration auditor is looking for, so you’ll avoid the surprise non conformances on the registration audit.

Robert Kravontka is the CONNSTEP Quality Business Consultant, helping clients attain registration in areas including ISO, Aerospace, Automotive, Medical, Environmental and NADCAP. Reach Robert at



BUZZ >> > Business Barometer

According to research, conducted in August 2011, Thomas Industrial Network found that manufacturers who hesitate to engage in social media, believing that their competition is not embracing the platforms, are risking losing business opportunities. More than 3,000 responses were received on the online survey, Using Social Media to Market and Sell Industrial Products and Services. Respondents included presidents/CEOs/ owners (28.1%), VP sales and/or marketing (13%), director sales and/or marketing (11.4%) and manager of sales and/or marketing (26.4%). Seven out of 10 small and midsize suppliers (under $50mm) are engaging with prospects through the social media channels and feel they have a competitive advantage over those who have yet to start.


Manufacturers are using social media to co Survey respondents clearly see the value o services. Realizing that buyers use social m manufacturers leverage this and reap the r

When asked how social media has impacte

Buyers rely on social media to research companies and gain others’ perspectives on suppliers. In fact, 56% of buyers now recommend that all suppliers participate in social media if they want to do business with them. And in response, suppliers are using social media to provide information on their products and services (41%), find prospective customers (27%) and listen to what people have to say about their company and products (20%).


make it e

“The industrial sector is awakening to the fact that social media isn’t just a passing consumer fancy, but an essential part of any branding and marketing program.” said Susan Orr, Senior Director, Strategic Marketing for Thomas Industrial Network. “Savvy suppliers also understand that the most effective social media programs need constant care and feeding. To influence prospective buyers, suppliers need to continually update their social media content, and to be actively engaging in and initiating conversations.”

help the c

allow cust

help the compan company/produc

To learn more about social media in the industrial sector, visit

According to the data, your peers are using social media for business... Overall 68% of companies surveyed have a corporate presence on social media.





Just over one quarter of respondents use Twitter

More than half indicated they have a LinkedIn profile for their company





34.4% of companies surveyed have a YouTube channel


Your competitors are using social media to third of industrial suppliers polled said tha social media channels.


An estimated 42% stated that they have a company Facebook page

Vol. 2, No. 1

27.3% YouTube

is the third most popular social media tool

y Says...

onnect with prospective and existing customers... of social media for marketing industrial products and media to research before selecting suppliers, enterprising rewards in their marketing and sales efforts.

ed them, respondents said that social media...

help potential customers gain information about the company’s offerings

power : how to have it when you need it We all love the ability to walk around toting our smartphone, a veritable encyclopedia at our fingertips weighing less than your wallet. We feel empowered when we can quickly provide the answer to a question such as “what movie was that line from,” or the ability to tell someone how to get to a particular destination. Surely you’ve heard the expression “knowledge is power.” The key word is power. If you don’t have any left in your battery, you might be tempted to fling that encyclopedia from your fingertips!

help the company interact with customers

enerate sales leads

easier for potential customers to get questions answered

company learn more about existing and/or new customers

tomers and potential customers to interact

ny learn what customers and/or potential customers think about the cts/services

o market their products & services... Almost a at they market their products and services using

28.7% LinkedIn

is slightly favored by industrial suppliers

Here are some tips to conserve battery power on your smartphone or tablet: 1. When not in use turn off GPS, Bluetooth and WiFi. Keep the on/off toggle switches on your homescreen so you know they are off when not in use. 2. Turn off WiFi connections you no longer use. When you use WiFi, your device will constantly search the stored connections. “Forget” any that you no longer use so it doesn’t keep searching for them. 3. Take your brightness setting off auto and take it down a few notches. Auto is typically much brighter than necessary. Settings> Display>Screen Brightness will let you change that. 4. Set the screen to timeout faster than the default setting. The longer the screen is on the more power it uses. Set it to turn off after 30 seconds or 1 minute. 5. Turn off vibrate. 6. Install Juice Defender. This app regulates data when not in use. 7. Disable live wallpaper. If you are a long way from seeing your next wall outlet, here are a few ways to eke just a little more power out of your Android device: 1. Check to see what is using up the most power. (Settings>Battery Use) 2. Turn off data. (Settings>Data Manager) 3. Turn off Widgets. Widgets are live feeds constantly pushing out data which uses battery. 4. Set your background to black. Dark backgrounds don’t require as much battery to render. 5. Shut off 4G / LTE. (Settings>Network Settings>Mobile Networks) In the future, if you know you’ll be traveling or away from a plug for a long period: 1. Buy a battery bank. My Power Bank stores power until you need it and will double your battery time for $50. 2. Buy an extra battery and keep it charged. Most smartphone batteries cost about $25. 3. Buy an extended battery for approximately $40.

28.5% Facebook

comes in a close second for marketing products and/or services

Cellular Chloe is the “Gadgetista” of Wireless Zone. She is an advocate for the end user and spends her time pushing the envelope on all devices so she can honestly report her findings. She likes to help you get to that “a ha moment” so you and your gadgets can live happily ever after! You can find her at



BUZZ Sending Overseas: Connecticut Exports in 2011 Recently, the Office of International and Domestic Affairs at the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development completed a review of Connecticut’s 2011 exports for The Connecticut Economic Digest. With exports representing approximately 7% of the gross state product (state GDP), exporting is an important indicator of Connecticut’s economic health as exports sustain and create jobs, having a multiplier effect on the economy. At a high level, Connecticut’s export commodities (excluding services) increased 0.88%, from $16.05 billion in 2010 to $16.19 billion in 2011. Exporting to 206 market

destinations in 2011, Connecticut ranks 28th with a 1.09% share of the U.S. commodity export total (Connecticut ranks 10th on a per capita basis). With 95% of the world’s consumers living outside the United Sates, it makes sense for Connecticut companies to pursue foreign market opportunities and reach those consumers, generate new business, create jobs and spur economic growth and recovery. Data comes from DECD’s subscription to WISER. For the complete article, please visit

Connecticut Export by Partner Country 2011 (U.S. Dollars)


Mexico $1.098 billion

$1.377 billion

China $982 million

Connecticut Exports by Commodity (Annual 2010 / Annual 2011)



$1.718 billion

$684 million

Aluminum and Articles Thereof

Copper and Articles Thereof

Iron and Steel

Special Classification Provisions, Nesoi

Plastics and Articles Thereof


Optic, Photo, Media or Surgical Equipment

Electric Machinery, etc., Sound Equipment, TV

Industrial Machinery, Including Computers

Aircraft, Spacecraft & Parts Thereof

Total All Commodities

France $1.971 billion

Japan $578 million

Belgium U.A.E. $541 million

$548 million

Netherlands $551 million



Vol. 2, No. 1

The challenge for a lot of Lean journeys or quality management system implementations isn’t in eliminating the waste, becoming registered or generating positive outcomes; it is sustaining the gains and continually improving after the first few projects. On occasion, companies I have visited over the years are unable to keep the momentum from their original launch and are left wondering what’s next or ask where do we go from here? All too often, companies and people alike fail to see that quality management systems and Lean principles are beneficial to each other and can help sustain both initiatives for the long haul. In Lean ISO 9001, Mike Micklewright explains that Lean and ISO are two complimentary forces. One of the key examples provided is that Lean principles can offer the tools needed to eliminate wastes in your documentation system, which is one of the key components in the registration process. Similarly, items such as utilizing 5S in your files and folders, integrating TWI into your job competency requirements, and the use of A3s in your quality management system are all ways Lean and quality can dovetail with one another. It can be said that quality registration supports Lean efforts just as much as Lean efforts support quality registration. After all, standardized tasks are the foundation for continuous improvement and quality management systems. ISO says you must continuously improve; Lean gives you the tools to accomplish it. Studies acknowledge that ISO registered companies are continually outperforming their non ISO registered counterparts by growing faster in sales, employment, and payroll. Registered companies are also more likely to remain in business and are more likely to report zero injuries for workers compensation. The aforementioned benefits are many of the same qualities that drive companies to become Lean organizations; all outcomes any business can embrace. The principles covered by Micklewright, can help Lean out your ISO quality management system, and add sustainability to your Lean efforts. This is a quick and easy read that can help get your quality and continuous improvement groups on the same page. The examples provided should help usher you down the path of generating your own creative ideas for implementation. - Robert Kravontka, CONNSTEP

Biz Lit If I could only pick one book to recommend to anyone interested in Lean or the Toyota Production System, this is the book. Throughout the 88 detailed, well-thoughtout pages in Follow the Learner: The Role of a Leader in Creating a Lean Culture, Dr. Sami Bahri, DDS, captures the true essence of what being a great Lean leader requires. First is his humility. It requires a total lack of ego to involve everyone in his practice to improve conventional processes for the sole benefit of the customer - Dr. Bahri believes conventional processes were for the benefit of the dentist, not the customer. Second is the never-wavering, laser-like focus on the customer. This focus screams at you throughout the text. Third is his persistence. Dr. Bahri was fascinated by the potential of TPS some 17 years ago. It took 13 years of experimentation (PDCA) to begin to truly impact his customer’s experience, but he and his staff worked together and are still at it. He proves that the only way to do it wrong is to do nothing. There was no manual on how to do Lean dentistry! Fourth, Dr. Bahri validates that good Lean is market disruptive via operational excellence. I’ve spoken to one of his patients, and the experience is extraordinary. Imagine if you are a competitor in Jacksonville and you find out Dr. Bahri’s patients don’t wait? At all? He does give details on some of the business results (numbers) in the book. Fifth, he validates once and for all that Lean is not about cars. That notion can no longer be argued. It’s dead. Pick this book up. You will find yourself, like me, reading it more than once. - Bill Greider, P4 Executive Lean Strategy Consulting




The Gartner Group* sites in a recent report that industrial down-time typically costs US companies $300,000 per hour of downtime. A lost laptop with 15,000 personal and confidential information (PCI) records cost a company over $450,000 in notification, legal and restoration fees. And most insurance plans explicitly exclude cyber liability. Operators of automation environments must resolve these risk elements as they seek ways to monitor, manage and protect their critical systems. It underscores the fact that, with all the changes occurring in their environments, operators need technology and tools that enable them to achieve a more integrated and intelligent approach to security, compliance and change management.

Manufacturing Quality: The Role of Cyber Security & Regulatory Compliance By John Boyd, Jr., P.E. Quality in today’s manufacturing environment requires management of more than specifications and tolerances. To remain competitive, companies must use technology as a monitoring service and performance tool with the goal of improving both and eliminating waste. However, the introduction of technology as that tool to improve visibility into control networks creates new challenges; Cyber threats, lost data, loss of confidential information, cyber espionage and simple down-time due to the complexity. Additionally, the risk of having protected information in electronic format has created regulations in the form of HIPAA, PCI, NERC CIP and ISO, creating new management challenges. State legislation such as 201 CMR 17.00 affect the ability of companies, across the country, doing business with Massachusetts clients, to comply or face fines. The reality is industrial automation now requires a unified approach across security, compliance, and change management functions to achieve quality. One key factor is the growing control system complexity. Since most automation



Vol. 2, No. 1

environments were developed over decades without a master plan, they now contain heterogeneous systems that are difficult to manage. Another factor is resource constraints; with today’s business conditions, operators are being asked to do more with less. A third major market driver is the exponential growth of intelligent devices deployed in automation environments. These networked and IP-enabled devices are creating management requirements with which operators have limited experience. All of these elements can lose data and configurations. If we set aside the implications of how the data was lost for the moment, we realize that the ability to restore operations dependent on that information is critical to cost of goods sold and quality. So a plan for backup of all the automation process, along with configuration control, is needed to ensure the latest specifications are being restored. IT must be a key component of your QA/QC process. If you have lost information, that event may also trigger several regulatory and disclosure mandates. Once triggered, these mandates can be highly disruptive to your business, your clients and your ability to get funding or insurance in the future.

Technology must be part of your QA/QC strategy to compete in the complex area of manufacturing. Key areas of focus: 1. Cyber security for the shop floor: Operating systems, applications and hardware that have vulnerabilities that did not exist in earlier systems. As a result, automation systems now need the same levels of management and security that have been seen in enterprise networks for the past two decades.

Technology must be part of your QA/QC strategy to compete.


Governance and regulatory compliance: Many companies now must document their compliance with regulatory requirements, such as the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) standards, Personal and Confidential Information Security Act (PCI), Health Information Privacy and Portability Act (HIPAA), Sarbanes/Oxley Act (SOX), 201 CMR 17.00. To efficiently meet external and

sound off

internal requirements, while minimizing administrative burdens, compliance systems must become more automated. 3.

Control system operations: Control networks are typically large and complex, as are the technologies used to automate them. Point solutions in these environments make them more complex. To increase efficiency, operators need to integrate their disparate systems. But these integration projects are often costly and time consuming. They also require the attention of key staff people who could otherwise be focused on other initiatives more strategic to the organization.

Questions: 1. Do you have a written information security procedure (WISP)? 2. Do you have a monitored version control plan as part of configuration management? 3. Do have a business continuance (BC) plan that is independent of your internal resources? 4. Do you have a security policy for mobile/ personal devices? 5. Can you afford to be without your information systems for more than a few hours? If you have answered “no” to any of the above, quality may be at risk. Solution: Integrate three key functions of IT security, compliance and change management within a single platform.


What drove you to become registered to a Quality Standard and what were some of the unexpected benefits from going this route?


ISO 9001:2008 certification for the design and manufacture of cable assemblies and sheet metal is critical for Lex Products, as it helps to ensure excellent service and the manufacturing of superior products. Providing a strong platform for business growth, the certification demonstrates a proven framework for managing many processes, which helps to guarantee the production of products that meet or exceed customer expectations in a timely manner. - Mike Scala, President, Lex Products Corporation


We decided to register under ISO guidelines for strategic reasons; we were getting some push back from larger potential customers, and we were under scrutiny from some major existing accounts who were coming out to audit on a regular basis. Furthermore, our growth strategy depended on registration in additional areas of the standard for licensing/ acceptance. The single largest unexpected benefit was (and still is) the high level of commitment from our workforce. In our situation (we were closely compliant to the standard beforehand) a large component of registration relates to documenting process. Small teams were meeting to define how we work. Once those teams understood the complete process, they were not satisfied with documenting what was done; they wanted to fix what we do to improve! We have better processes today because those who are responsible for the work were required to document (and approve) how they work. We have better record keeping. The internal audit process has turned out to be a process improvement generating machine. Finally, we are now part of a business system community whose participants favor relationships with other like-minded companies. - Steven Giamundo, President, Fiberoptics Technology Inc.

References The Future of Business Continuity: How to Stay Ahead of the Curve, Gartner Group Convergence in Automation Systems Protection, Pike Research, Senior Analyst Bob Lockhart


Most of our automotive customers were mandating it in order to obtain “new” business and to obtain “preferred supplier” status. We wanted to optimize our systems and reduce our scrap rates in which we had great success. We also wanted to reduce our impacts on the environment to as little as possible. Some of the unexpected benefits included the CONNSTEP personnel that were on-site helped us seamlessly integrate our old standard system with the new systems resulting in a single documented quality and environmental management system that encompassed ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and TS 16949. We also saw to it that the time Metallon personnel spent integrating and incorporating systems was kept to a very minimum. - Roger Porter, Quality Assurance Manager, Metallon, Inc.


What I've Lear

>>> Bob Luther, Founder & CEO, Lex Products Corporation Shelton, Connecticut, 52 years old 14


Vol. 2, No. 1

rned W

hile I worked at an electrical

competitive advantage. We are always

I’m demanding and have high standards,

asking ourselves, “can we do

and realize I’m not the best boss. So I

this better?” and “what do our

only have one person reporting to me and

customers think?”

managing the operation. He’s great with people and excels at getting teams to work

If you’re building the same thing

on complex problems.

as the next guy, you’re vulnerable. You’re easily substituted. I much prefer

I may have good ideas and drive, but I

being in the opposite position: customers

needed him to put controls and

understand the strong benefit for our

processes in place for us. I get to

product and want to work with us.

focus on ideas and the customer.

When you communicate regularly with your customers, you rarely have to “sell”

The best advice I ever got: get out of your

them on your products or services. If

office (which at the time was in my house)

you’re creating what they need or

and visit your customers. That’s even

want, demand takes care of itself.

more on-target today than it was back

company before starting Lex, I learned

then. Talking with your customer

about manufacturing by running a

and getting their input is all that

manufacturing firm.

matters. Everything else will take care of itself.

We were successful and grew, and quickly got out of control. Written processes alone weren’t enough to keep us efficient and smart. ERP was absolutely essential.

I really appreciate the journey of continuous improvement.

properly unless you identify and examine every step.

door. I learned two things. First, if a dog charges, hold up your sample case in front of you, and for some reason, he will

It forced us to look at our entire process, and you can’t build anything

In college, I sold dictionaries door-to-

Nothing’s ever done, nothing’s ever perfect.

stop. Second, keep knocking on doors. Someone will let you in eventually and you will sell something. So I learned to just keep knocking. Also—to this day, I buy

The second essential program for

anything from anyone who comes to my

all manufacturers is Lean. We’ve


implemented dozens of projects over the years, and firmly believe we cannot be

Our company grew as we were able to

My future? I just want to keep meeting

successful if we’re not Lean.

prove that companies that used to build

my customer needs and talking with the

our product themselves would be stronger

customer to continue to innovate. It’s fun.

I enjoy seeing a product come together

if they focused on their core business and

from nothing. And I really appreciate

avoided being distracted by making some

Keep dreaming up ideas. Don’t let one

the journey of continuous

of the products they need to operate.

bad idea stop you. The next great idea

improvement. Nothing’s ever

Today, few companies in the industries we

is just down the line.

done, nothing’s ever perfect.

serve make these products any more. They

There’s always more you can integrate in

outsource to us.

My dad was an electrical engineer, so what I’ve done in my career doesn’t surprise me.

or deeper you can delve. This ultimately provides the maximum control over your

I’m impatient. I’m too

What does surprise me is how much

product, and your destiny.

entrepreneurial to follow the

I enjoy it.

rules. That’s what led me to start my To succeed, you must innovate, either

own business and probably to succeed.

in your product or process to gain a

But I also know I’m not easy to work with.


Hope you’ve got serious horsepower There’s a good amount of work to do! Now’s the time to develop your implementation plans, quality policy and manual, and determine your quality objectives. Perfect time to also appoint a management representative to be your company’s guide for the journey.

NO? Better hit the motorway services t refuel and implement corrective action


Time to form key process teams.


Perform gap analysis.

NO? Pull over and rest awhile until everyone is up to speed

YES? Great start ~ motor on...

Training is key to success — Have you trained your key process leaders and management team in quality?

Develop standard compliant processes & document them.


Don’t forget to train your process users.


NO? Time for a U-turn! Make sure everyone’s on board before you hit the road to quality certification

YES? Good decision! Move ahead to the training off-ramp.

Is your management team committed to obtaining a quality registration?

Cg AuB facturin

Now entering Continuous Improvement & Corrective Action Valley

start The Journey To


Our special thanks to John Grice of J 16


Vol. 2, No. 1


to ns

YES? Rock on! Motor on to select a quality registrar for your external audit.

anagement Review Is your system compliant? GO RIGHT


Pay Toll

anagement Review PIT STOP! Fine tune your QMS with an internal quality audit & set your schedule for on-going quarterly audits.

EZ Pass Registrar

Ur Best Registrar

My-T Fine Registrar

anagement Review Now’s the time to train your employees & implement your quality management system

Time for your registration audit!

anagement Review


No non-conformances! Congratulations and welcome to the elite group of manufacturers who are registered to a quality standard.

Quality Registration

John Grice & Associates for translating quality into English. Š2012 CONNSTEP


CHECK YOUR SPEED! Slow down and document a complete, compliant quality management system.

finish MISSED THE MARK? Get out, stretch your legs and fix those non-conformances, gas up, perform an internal audit to ensure your QMS is compliant - and then take on that registrar to pass that next external audit opportunity!


No Limits by Michael Perrelli

>> for more examples of companies leveraging Quality Management Systems for growth and business sustainability, visit



Vol. 2, No. 1

With the AS9100C certification secured, Pauway has opened the door to new markets and unlimited growth opportunities.


n a daily basis, businesses are affected by internal and external factors - industry, economy, natural

disasters, workforce, suppliers, and customers. While some of these factors are part of the business cycle - more predictable and able to be prepared for - some events are so unexpected and so impactful that they alter the course of the company. For Pauway Corporation of Wallingford, their defining moment came in 2002 when three of their largest customers left Connecticut for Mexico and Asia. Complicating matters, this business shift occurred when the family-led business was transitioning from President Wayne Rydzy to his son Mark, “We were predominantly providing high-end finishing for the commercial and medical sector for the better part of 20-plus years,” says Wayne. “It was a wakeup call, but ended up an opportunity for Mark to move the company along.” While some companies may not survive the loss of three major customers, the younger Rydzy saw it as a marketable opportunity for the family business, “Entering a new market and succeeding in it are two totally different things. You can’t just say we serve this market and that market now and expect the business to pour in,” explains Mark, now Vice President, “I wanted to get us into the aerospace and defense markets because they are tightly regulated industries as far as using domestic suppliers. With Connecticut being the hub of the aerospace industry, it made perfect sense for us to move in that direction.”


As a finisher who was experienced at

process was implemented.

offering class 1A finishes , complex

It provided a level of

coating systems and multi-color finishing

accountability to the

to a variety of substrates varying from the

staff which has led to an

tops of screws to 2-ton I-beams, Pauway

increased pride in their

had the capability and available capacity


to enter these new markets. However, the first step on this growth path wasn’t

Original equipment

purchasing additional equipment or hiring

manufacturers within

new talent, it was securing the requisite

the aerospace industry,

credentials. The ammunition needed

including Pauway’s

to compete in the aerospace market

customers like Sikorsky,

for Pauway was obtaining AS 9100

consider quality certified


suppliers a valuable link in their supply chain,

Opening the Door with Quality

“Years ago, before these registrations,

Similar to the automotive standard of TS

your customers would send a team down

16949, and the medical device standard

to check on you. During the visit, they

of ISO 13485, the aerospace standard of

would complete a facility audit to make

AS 9100 is built off the well-known ISO

sure you aren’t some ‘fly by night’ team.

9001:2000 quality management system

Now when you approach a new customer,

standard and incorporates sector specific

they see you are registered to the AS 9100

supplier requirements.

standard so they know you are being audited by a 3rd party on a regular basis.

“Our initial quality management system

It alleviates some of their concerns. They

only contained the ISO 9001 registration

know that you are a legit operation,”

and that wasn’t enough,” Mark says.

explains Mark.

“The AS 9100 registration is similar to a college degree in today’s terms. You won’t

Registered to the latest standard and

even get to that proverbial first interview

firmly entrenched in the market with

without it. There are some businesses that

long-term contracts secured, the strategic

decision to pursue and maintain their AS 9100 registration has the family business coming off their best year on record in 2011, eclipsing $2 million dollars in sales for the first time. However, the record numbers don’t allow the company to rest on their laurels. They plan to stay aggressive and increase sales 4 to 6% this year. “The registration gives us an added level of confidence when going after new customers. It’s a feather in our cap, a level of credibility that puts everyone on a level playing field,” Mark says. “It opened up a big world for us. In the aerospace and defense markets, it’s all about your accreditations; customers want to see your registrations before reviewing a quote

won’t even look at you unless you have AS 9100 as a minimum requirement.” In 2010, Pauway was one of the first organizations to be registered to the ‘C’ revision of the AS 9100 standard. Companies registered to the AS 9100 standard, must be registered to the new ‘C’ revision by the end of June

“The registration gives us an added level of confidence when going after new customers. It’s a feather in our cap, a level of credibility that puts everyone on a level playing field.”

2012 or risk losing their registration and subsequently, the business attached to it. As a requirement of the risk management aspect of the AS 9100 ‘C’ revision, companies were required to develop a training matrix to illustrate gaps in their skill deployment. “Not only did it help us

“It opened up a big world for us. In the aerospace and defense markets, it’s all about your accreditations; customers want to see your registrations before reviewing a quote package.”

allocate internal resources properly, but it showed us where some cross training was needed,” says Mark. “As we began to cross train our staff, a formal sign-off



Vol. 2, No. 1

Mark Rydzy

package. Next on the docket may be our

The physical building owned by the

resources to continue the evolution and

NADCAP registration which will open the

Rydzys may have evolved with additional

growth of their business. In addition to

door for more defense contracts.”

equipment or new cell designs since 1979,

their quality management system, new

but the way potential customers search

market penetration and an upgraded

The processes and culture are in place

for and analyze the finishing service at

web presence, Pauway has joined the

for Pauway to attain their NADCAP

this central-Connecticut location has

Small Manufacturer STEP Program which

registration, or any other sector specific

gone through a complete overhaul since

helps promote job growth and worker

required registration for that matter. This

Pauway’s inception. Print media, sales

opportunity for Connecticut’s small

latest initiative, moving from AS 9100B

calls, and expensive direct marketing

businesses and unemployed workers.

to the AS 9100C registration not only

initiatives have, in some ways, become

resulted in $100,000 in increased sales,

obsolete. “When my father was in

Through this program provided by the

$250,000 in retained sales, the expected

charge, we were heavy into ThomasNet

Department of Labor, Pauway will be

addition of 6 new employees and an

regional books. A big chunk of our small

subsidized over the course of six months

additional $50,000 investment in new

marketing budget was dedicated to print

for hiring and training a previously

plant equipment, but it paved the way for

media and those types of publications,

unemployed worker. The grant requires

the company to be proactive instead of

that I’m now trying to eliminate,” Mark

the company to have less than 50 full-

reactive when making their next strategic

says. “A lot of companies of our size and

time employees, be based in the state


makeup don’t have a valuable internet

of Connecticut, have the ability to train

presence so we have tried to explore that

the new employee on-site, and been

Adjusting for the Future

registered to conduct business in the

Installing a quality management system

state for no less than 12 months.

and maintaining registration isn’t a do it and your done type of process.

“We run our business like a family

It takes effort, precise documentation

business. It’s named after us. Pauway is

and a commitment to the workflow

a combination of my name (‘way’ from

and processes to ensure the end result

Wayne) and my wife, and Pauway CFO,

of customer-specified quality goods,

Paulette’s name. Since the company’s

continuously delivered on time. “When

start, we have tried to treat everyone

the CONNSTEP team came in to help

here as family and Mark intends to keep

us prepare for the registration, they

it that way,” Wayne explains. “We have

understood the whole picture. They

a very low turnover rate as most of our

understood what the end result of this

employees have been here for five plus

system was supposed to be. It was

years with many being part of our team

going to help our efficiency, minimize risk,

to the best of our ability. We continue to

for more than 10. The first employee I

and help with employee safety, now and

work on our web presence with outside

ever hired, Bill Uva, is still here. I hired

in the future,” says Wayne.

help on the redesign of our website and

Bill, who is now our Foreman and Quality

improved search engine optimization.

Manager, over 30 years ago and he still

“At the end of the day, we are a niche

We feel these adjustments will give us

remains an integral part of business.”

company that tries to keep evolving. We

the best bang for our buck and enhance

continue to expand for the future of the

our internet marketing focus. The quality

Not just used to describe their registration

company,” explains Mark when describing

registration, in particular, has opened

to the AS 9100 standard and the

the 40,000 sq. ft building his family owns

up business for us across the country by

finished goods they produce, the term

that houses Pauway Corporation. “We

drawing people to our website. The old

‘Quality’ also describes the owners and

recently expanded to accommodate larger

saying of ‘go where your customers are’

the company-wide family the Rydzy’s

parts on the top floor of the facility. We

is still kind of true today. We need to be

have cultivated at Pauway over the

developed a new area that houses a new

active marketers where our customers are

past 30-plus years. With the steps this

overhead bridge crane that can handle up

searching for companies like ours.”

small Wallingford-based manufacturer has taken to maintain and grow their

to two tons. The area also has a large-part paint booth that can accommodate parts

Stepping Up

business, a new hire should be prepared

up to 16 feet long. If we can get an item

With 23 employees and counting,

to be a member of the Rydzy family for

in the building safely, we’ll finish it.”

Pauway continues to leverage available

the long haul.


by Susie Zimmermann

Quality as a


Strateg 22


Vol. 2, No. 1

Today’s quality programs take a holistic approach, and help companies not only meet the requirements of their current clients but provide opportunities to enter new markets.


“For us, it’s simple,” says Robert Evans, president of Vitek Research Corporation. “We wouldn’t be in business without it.” What is it? Evans credits quality certification for maintaining clients and adding some key new accounts for his company. “For his Naugatuck-based coatings business, which primarily works in the medical industry, certification had become a requirement. Seven years ago they became accredited, and continue today to maintain certification. “It definitely requires a commitment of resources, but we wouldn’t be in business without it.” Not only has it kept Evans in business—in just the last few years, Vitek’s business has jumped by 65%. More than meeting requirements though, Evan’s attributes the quality process for increasing his management processes. “Quality has helped us address problems efficiently when they arise, and identify issues that we can address before they become problematic.” The Evolution of Quality Quality certification has come a long way. When it was first introduced decades ago, the focus was on quality control in product inspection and paper documentation of manufacturing processes. “ISO got a bad rap,” says Norm Schaefer, manager of business services for CONNSTEP. “It didn’t affect value or any continuous improvement.”


The Myths about Quality Given the benefits, what is holding the others back? Some of the most common misconceptions about quality systems are: Quality is a heavy procedural burden. Rampone simply says, “not true - there are only six required procedures for ISO 9001 compliance.”

Quality only asks that you do what you say and say what you do. Today’s quality registration includes documentation, but is more focused on helping companies to do things well - effectively, efficiently, on-time and by managing costs.

You have to hire someone to keep it going. While some companies do have designated employees, like Parent, who manage their quality program, it’s not essential. “If you teach all employees the requirements for quality in their process and have everyone involved, extra staff are not needed, “ says Rampone.

It’s costly. A quality program certainly requires an investment of resources, yet it need not be out-of-reach, “If everyone embraces their part and if senior management is on board, you can keep costs in check, and the return will far exceed the investment,” explains Rampone.



Vol. 2, No. 1

But it has evolved dramatically since

quality system, they never would’ve

then. Elaine Rampone of RAMP

been able to even talk with those new

Enterprises agrees. “ISO moved from

customers,” recalls Schaefer.

basic QC to quality assurance, to examine how to handle customer

Paul Parent, continual improvement

requirements and instill quality

coordinator and ISO management

within both your manufacturing and

representative at Sterling Sintered

business management practices.

Technologies in Winsted is also an

Today, quality assurance compliance is

advocate of the benefits of quality

assumed. Now we make sure that your

certification. His company uses ISO

practices are solid and that you have

9001 as a platform to lead continuous

the measurement tools to truly track

improvement. “As customer needs change

performance and effectiveness.”

and their demands increase, ISO helps

Tim Butler of Benchmark Registrar

insists on customer feedback, and enables

Representatives explains that the

us to move in the same direction as our

system now looks at such factors

customers. With ISO, we’ve managed to

as continuous improvement, on-

avoid most customer surprises and keep

time delivery, efficient systems and

up with their needs.”

us to keep up. It identifies weaknesses,

mandates business practices to increase productivity and output.

Out of Connecticut’s approximate 5,000

“Each time the standard is revised it

small and mid-sized manufacturing

addresses the best business practices,

enterprises, approximately half have

and has increasingly looked at business

achieved accreditation in at least one

management systems beyond the plant

quality standard. CONNSTEP worked


with 63 companies in FY11 on 78 quality projects. Measuring the ROI for those

Examining the Value

companies who focused exclusively on

Today’s quality program takes a holistic

quality—noting that the impacts can be

approach, and is helping companies

even higher when additional improvement

not only meet the requirements of their

projects are implemented—the impacts

current clients but also move into new

are impressive: $5.15 million in increased

industries. Schaefer recalls working

sales, 42 jobs created and 256 jobs

recently with a small family-owned

retained, and $21.5 million in retained

business that sold electrical connectors


to the telecommunications business. As wireless systems became the norm,

The Process

the company needed to reconsider its

Companies beginning a quality

business model. CONNSTEP helped

program should expect 6-12 months in

the firm achieve ISO certification, and

implementation work, which includes

with that the business was able to

some or all of the following: gap

move into the auto industry, selling

assessments, management reviews,

electrical connectors for box trucks and

internal audits, reports and technical

diesels. The company has grown from

writing, employee training, and

130 to 230 employees in response

management coaching. This stage also

to increased demand. “Without the

includes allowing time to gather the data

Future of Quality The changing needs of OEMs and their

“As customer needs change and their demands increase, ISO helps us to keep up. It identifies weaknesses, insists on customer feedback, and enables us to move in the same direction as our customers. With ISO, we’ve managed to avoid most customer surprises and keep up with their needs.” Paul Parent

supply chains will drive the continued evolution of the standards. Rampone predicts that future iterations will address the more detail in the supply chain, the procurement of raw materials and electronics to ensure against counterfeit materials, and more quality in engineering. Risk management, more tightly defined product characteristics and cost-efficiency will also continue to gain in importance. For certified companies, the process has been well worth the investment. Especially

needed to document that systems are

AS 9100C for the aerospace industry, TS

for small companies without the internal

being followed and corrective action is

16949 is the automotive standard, ISO

governance that large companies receive

taken as needed, and to measure the

14001 covers environmental management

from management or headquarters,

outputs and impacts of those measures.

standards, OHSAS 18001 covers

quality systems provide the framework

occupational health and safety standards,

for continuous improvement and ever-

Next, the company must bring in

TL 9000 is for the telecommunications

increasing growth in efficiency and

a certified registrar to review the

industry, ISO 1345 is specific to the

effectiveness, benefitting the customer,

implementation and interview employees

medical industry and ISO 27001 and

a company’s internal operations and the

to ensure that the minimum standards

22001 address information technology

bottom line. And while some may have

have been met. Certification has two

and food safety, respectively, to name a

doubted the efficacy of quality initially,

initial stages: 1) document review


Sterling Sintered’s Parent says, “Even the

of manual and procedures, and 2)

naysayers have now become converts.”

assessment audits, which include a start-

The philosophies of each are similar, while

to-finish review of the production process,

the details and focus areas will differ. For

from the front office to the shipping

example, AS 9100 C includes attention

dock, to ensure all steps follow the

to legal, regulatory, traceability and risk

documented requirements. These steps

management, while medical standards

typically take six to eight weeks. After

focus on tighter manufacturing process

that initial certification, the company must

controls, FDA regulations, composition

maintain certification for 6 months or 12

and consistency, traceability, and

months (depending on the standard) to

sterilization. “Some companies become

become accredited and then have annual

registered to multiple standards,” says

maintenance audits.

Rampone. And while this requires a quality management system that

A Logical Array of Standards

allows the company to flex efficiently,

ISO 9001 for overall quality accreditation

“companies can become players in more

may perhaps be the most well known

than one industry,” opening up new

of the quality certifications, but many


industry-specific or topical certifications are also growing in use and importance.


a C r e h

g i H A by Michael Perrelli

>> for more examples of companies leveraging Quality Management Systems for growth and business sustainability, visit



Vol. 2, No. 1

g n i l l a

AeroCision is plotting a new course and with the latest quality registration and the development of a world class culture - they’re turning the aerospace market upside down.


he pride associated with receiving an award or

honor is a feeling that isn’t easily forgotten. At AeroCision, an aerospace engine parts manufacturer in Chester, the glow is still easily recognizable from the certificate of export achievement the Department of Commerce bestowed upon them in early 2012. Coming off a year in which they doubled profits, aided by a large increase in export sales, AeroCision has cemented their relationship with their customers through a “cultural overhaul” that began just over four years ago. The task of changing an entire culture can’t be achieved by picking up a business book, flipping through the pages, and implementing an idea. It takes hard work and discipline to actively cultivate the culture to the point where it becomes a tangible asset. In the case of AeroCision, the successful transformation has led them to a position where their future is secured with long-term contracts in hand both domestically and abroad.


With a mission statement that is much

The creation of the mission statement was

floor are the ones who count the most. If I

easier said than done, all of AeroCision’s

based on what every customer, regardless

go on vacation, it would be a while before

current and future success hinges on the

of the product or service offered, expects

people noticed I was gone. If one of our

continuing effort the staff puts towards

from every purchase they may make. “We

people in the factory is out for half a day,

supporting the company’s mission and

went to Rolls-Royce and Honeywell and

we suffer. Who really has the higher value

vision. “Our mission statement is very

asked them to tell us about their vision

to the customer? We know who does at

simple. It is 100% on time delivery,

for a perfect supplier. They both said they

AeroCision. Supporting the factory with

100% quality, and the lowest possible

wanted 100% quality, 100% on-time

resources and technology is the most

unit acquisition costs for our customers,”

delivery, and a supplier that is constantly

critical function and responsibility we

explains the company’s CEO, Andrew

looking to improve costs. That’s exactly

all have. This works hand in hand with

Gibson, “I know this sounds like simple

what we, as a team, decided to do,”

the AeroCision philosophy of the entire

stuff, but every person here lives by those

Andrew explains. This action of finding

management team being part of the pulse

rules and every investment we make has

out directly from the customer their wants

of the shop floor at all times.”

this mission in mind, that’s why we are

and needs has resulted in a trend of three-

continually successful. We are all average

plus years of near perfect quality and

Similar to AeroCision’s mission statement,

people who work together to do amazing

delivery scores.

the theory of the “upside down”

things. We make aerospace parts and we

management structure is much easier

take that very seriously.”

said than done. It is easy for a management team to say they are there to serve the people

Turning Things Upside

of the shop floor and then hide


in their offices, leaving staff to

Four years ago, everyone at

fend for themselves, but that

AeroCision was asked to vote on

just wouldn’t be the AeroCision

whether or not they wanted to

way. “When an employee wants

work for what Andrew termed

to do something, whether it is

an ‘A+’ company. “Before people

switching positions or adjusting

answered, I told them this task

the processes they execute

would require everyone to work

every day, we’ll move heaven

two jobs. We would all have our

and earth for them to try and

regular day-to-day jobs making

accommodate their plans,”

parts and we would have the

explains Andrew, “My business

additional job of doing the

partner and I wanted to develop

requisite things needed to become an

One of the unique traits that allows

a place where people can be heard,

‘A+’ company, including shrinking the

AeroCision to continuously work towards

where they can experiment, and where

company down to only the core people

achieving their mission and empower

it is ok if people fail. As long as they go

who believed in creating a positive,

their workforce is their “upside down”

through the proper quality channels,

customer-centric culture.”

management structure. It’s not a term

and everything is documented properly

you will find in any business book, but it

with the appropriate sign-offs, then they

It was only a year after this vote that

is a concept that works for AeroCision.

have the freedom and are encouraged

AeroCision’s transformation had taken

“’Upside down’ means all of the

to try different things in an effort to

hold and was getting the company

managers and support staff are here to

continuously improve our processes and

noticed in a positive manner. “Being

serve the people of the shop floor, not


the best is hard work. You know those

the other way around,” Andrew says,

people who try out for the Olympic team?

“We manufacture parts for a living.

The office layout within the 25,000 square

They are up at 3 a.m., run for 3 hours,

The key word is manufacture. We don’t

foot facility centers on building open lines

eat and then do it all over again. It takes

administrate, nor do we engineer for

of communication and generating points

dedication.” To AeroCision, being an ‘A+’

a living. We manufacture parts and

of interaction among the 64 employees.

company means living and delivering on

everyone here has an integral role in the

None of the employees, including the

the company’s mission statement day in

production of those parts. With that said,

CEO, have their own office where they

and day out.

we know that the people on the shop

can easily detach from the rest of the



Vol. 2, No. 1

could help ensure that we had all of correct modifications and updates in place for the upgrade,” Christina explains,

“Not having the latest registration was not an option for us. We, as a company, always push for

“Most companies faced with a task of this size would have opted to recertify to rev B and reschedule the upgrade, but

what we know is the best option even if it is the

not AeroCision. We pulled in everything

harder option.”

included the additional resources from Christina Lazarin

we needed to make it happen and that CONNSTEP.” The company’s efforts to maintain their position within the industry and foster strong relationships with customers and

staff. Offices have been enlarged to house

maintaining or growing their position

suppliers are recognized, “Being up to

multiple employees in a team approached

within that industry. For AeroCision,

date with our registration well in advance

work environment. “We all work together

a heightened focus was placed on

of the requirement deadline shows our

on parts so it’s not just engineering,

their quality management system and

customers that we’re dedicated to putting

production, or quality on their own. We

upgrading their AS 9100 registration by

the initiative in ahead of time to do what

work together as a whole and talk to each

the end of 2011.

we know is right.” says Christina. With a project completion netting zero non-

other about problems in a very crossfunctional fashion,” explains AeroCision’s

All companies currently registered to the

conformances and with a certificate and

Quality Improvement Director, Christina

AS 9100 standard are required to comply

banner proudly displaying the success of

Lazarin, “An employee on the floor has

with the latest ‘C’ revision by June 30,

their new upgrade, the company is set to

no problem going right to the engineering

2012. Companies who fail to upgrade

add an additional five employees to the

manager with a concern or an idea. We

will lose their registration and any business

64 they have retained as a result of their

are proud that this is a unique place in

attached to it. “Not having the latest

growth due in large part to AeroCision’s

that we don’t have such a strict chain of

registration was not an option for us,”

unique company culture. The company

command that people feel like they can’t

says Christina. “We, as a company, always

also expects to increase sales by almost

make a difference.”

push for what we know is the best option

20% over the next year due to initiatives

even if it is the harder option.”

like early completion of the AS 9100 revision upgrade, their recently obtained

Business Secured

As a new addition to the company last

NADCAP Wire EDM certification, and

For an organization that exclusively

summer, Christina arrived at AeroCision,

their current investments in technological

produces products for one industry, every

from a Quality Division of UTC, and was


effort is strategically directed towards

tasked with upgrading the AS 9100B registration to

Open door policies, shared workspaces,

the new ‘C’

team collaborations, a hands on

revision. “We

management team approach, and an

were scheduled

upside down management structure may

for our ‘C’

not be ideal for all organizations, but it

revision audit

works for AeroCision and sets it apart

at the end of

from other companies in the industry.

the summer so

Since the transformation began over four

we only had a

years ago, upside down has led to a right

couple of weeks

side up sales trajectory that is expected to

to prepare.

yield positive gains in 2012 and beyond.

CONNSTEP was recommended to us as a resource that


Building a Quality Community Jim Gildea R.C. Bigelow

Here at Bigelow Tea we believe it is our responsibility to build a quality community and we’re committed to the region in which we live and work. The Bigelow family has set a high standard for us to follow; the family’s history of commitment to philanthropy is not only inspirational, it creates an expectation for each of the employees. Our community service goes beyond monetary donations. While financial support is crucial to all non-profit organizations, we at Bigelow strive to go further, forming true partnerships with our community leaders.

Jim Gildea has been with Bigelow Tea since 1996. He began as the Facility Supervisor responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the Fairfield Plant and Corporate facility. In 2001, he was promoted to Maintenance Manager in which he managed the facility

There are numerous initiatives undertaken each year at Bigelow - whether it’s the Bigelow Road Race, held on the last Sunday of September each year that supports so many great organizations, or our annual involvement with the Town of Fairfield where our employees work to maintain and make improvements to the Sandcastle Playground, located near our facility. In addition, we send tea to our troops overseas, collect diapers for new parents, participate in local school read-aloud days, and donate tea and food to local shelters and food pantries.

and production maintenance departments. He held this position until 2006 when he was promoted to the position of Plant Manager of the Fairfield Plant where he currently manages the Fairfield Manufacturing facility including the Direct Marketing operations. Jim is involved locally in his town where he has previously served as Chairman of the Board of Education for 14 years. He currently serves on his town’s Water Pollution Control Authority. Jim represents Class 22 on the Leadership for

We’re also working to forge partnerships with our community leaders. We extend invitations to local organizations offering opportunities to visit our facility and spend time with our staff at our employee meetings, so that they may meet all three shifts. We feel it’s a perfect setting for their leadership to showcase the organization and the services they provide the community, and discuss the volunteer opportunities available. It raises awareness on both sides - our employees learn about the services available and the non-profit gets an opportunity to recruit new helping hands. We see this as a unique win-win situation for both the participating non-profit organizations and Bigelow Tea. While this is a fairly new initiative, based on the interactions and feedback, it has been well-received. We’ve hosted the United Way and their Wi-mentor Program, the Bridgeport Rescue Mission and the Wakeman Boys & Girls Club. They are all successful organizations whose goal it is to serve others, improving lives. We believe in building a quality community and it’s our hope that by becoming involved with the communities in which we live and work, and through learning about the great organizations which support these same communities, we carry on the Bigelow family’s strong tradition of public service. Please share the ways in which your company builds your local community - we’re always looking for new ways! I can be reached at



Vol. 2, No. 1

Greater Bridgeport Board of Directors. As a participant of the Leadership for Bridgeport Class 22, his project team received the Bridgeport Rescue Mission’s Compassion in Action Award at their fall 2011 Restore Hope Reception for work done on updating and renovating a sunroom / meditation room at their Women’s Center. Jim was also recently nominated as a Bank of America Local Community Hero by the Bridgeport Rescue Mission.

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CONNSTEP advantage Vol 2 Issue 1  

The CONNSTEP advantage ispublished by CONNSTEP, Inc. For the small to medium size business that wants to remain competitive and grow in loc...