It’s one thing for an organization to say it is committed to quality. It’s another thing to prove it with ISO certification. So, when customers, suppliers, and competitors see the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) seal, they know that company has independently verified its commitment to excellence.
Husky Corporation was recently re-certified under ISO 9001: 2015, the international standard for Quality Management Systems. That has been the case since 1995 for a company that produces American-made fuel nozzles, Safe-T-Breaks®, swivels and accessories that customers all over the globe expect to work flawlessly each time they fuel their vehicles.
And for the first time, Husky’s certification includes the company’s vehicle fluid line repair division S.U.R.&R., which offers specialty tools along with solutions for brake, fuel, air conditioning, coolant, transmission, and power steering lines.
In 2016 Husky acquired S.U.R.&R., retaining sales, purchasing, and customer service operations in Akron, Ohio with manufacturing and assembly operations taking place at facilities in Pacific, Missouri. When the three-year ISO 9001: 2015 recertification came due again in 2021, Husky management wanted to include S.U.R.&R as part of its scope of operations.
S.U.R.&R. started by meticulously documenting its processes. Many of the processes existed for years, including electronic data interchange (EDI) which provides for the secure exchange of customer order information, but had not been written down and vetted against established standards.
“It took me months to create work instructions for the S.U.R.&R Customer Service Representative position, documenting every single aspect of how we deal with our customers,” said Josh Lombardi, S.U.R.&R. Customer Service Representative. “It was absolutely worthwhile. We created a living document, so that when new and better ideas come up, we can add those improvements to our processes.”
Then Husky’s internal auditor reviewed the S.U.R.&R. processes. Internal audits are required as part of ISO certification, which look for evidence that goals are being established and met as well as work instructions are being followed according to benchmark standards.
“I remotely conducted an internal audit of the Akron facility, looking for improvement opportunities and/or any gaps in conformance to the ISO: 9001 2015 standard while making sure they were effectively performing against Husky’s policies and objectives as well. The standard provides tools and guidelines to consistently meet customer requirements and continue to improve, although it is up to us as a team to reach our goals,” said Greg Keys, Husky Corporation internal auditor. “We did a second audit for customer service and purchasing processes. We identified a few improvement opportunities; just some updates needed to be done to the system.”
That paved the way for a required external audit of all Husky processes, including those involving S.U.R.&R. This is the final step prior to ISO certification, and follows a successful internal audit and at least two months of documentation that the processes are meeting standards. The external audit was conducted by DQS Inc., an accredited third-party audit firm, with certification granted April 2021.
“The certification will definitely be beneficial for S.U.R.&R. long term. It gives an assurance to our customers that everything goes through a proper and documented procedure from the time of order to their door, said Matt Miller, S.U.R.&R. purchasing representative.
ISO : 9000 2015 certification tells customers and suppliers alike that a company is committed to continuous improvement. That commitment is demonstrated over time. Even though ISO recertification occurs every three years, external surveillance audits of all processes are required each year. Husky takes that requirement a step further and calls for external audits every six months.
“It definitely says this team is driven by quality. They really want to see a quality product go out that door and not come back,” said Steve Baynham, Husky Corporation Quality Assurance Manager. “The certification helps S.U.R.&R. in the extremely competitive automotive aftermarket. It also differentiates us from companies that don’t have a registered quality management system.”
Companies that stand the test of time frequently point to quality as a characteristic of their success. Husky Corporation, which since 1947 has set the standard for developing general fueling and related products in the transportation sector, places quality as one of its key pillars. The quality policies, document control systems and methods to monitor key metrics help Husky develop processes for continuous improvement that will continue to drive the company in the years to come.