New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership
ASMC Member Providing Hands-On Help through the New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Buckingham Manufacturing manufactures climbing and safety equipment for utility linemen, arborists and construction workers. Founded in 1896 by Wilmont Stevens, the equipment is now marketed in the United States and Europe. Buckingham is located in Binghamton, New York, and employs 123 people.
AM&T and Buckingham began a close partnership through which a series of steps were taken to move the company toward readiness for certification. First, Buckingham’s management attended a detailed briefing intended to provide a uniform understanding of the requirements of the Standard and how they impacted Buckingham’s operations. Following the briefing, Buckingham’s ISO representative and AM&T jointly identified the processes which were in place and evaluated each one in terms of its ability to meet the requirements of the ISO Standard. A quality policy manual was prepared which addressed each clause of the ISO Standard and reflected Buckingham’s policy toward it. With AM&T’s support, operating procedures were developed which documented each process in terms of its internal operations and, where necessary, its interaction with other processes. Procedures were reviewed with process owners and management and, once finalized, were implemented. Once implemented, AM&T performed internal audits to ensure that the system functioned properly and complied with the ISO Standard.
After the implemented system demonstrated proper compliance to the Standard, Buckingham began the search for a Registrar who would certify it. The company elected to use a European registrar who, in addition to certifying their system to the ISO Standard, could certify selected products to the CE Mark requirements. Achievement of CE Mark status provides the ability to market products throughout the European Community. Buckingham’s implemented quality system was officially certified to the requirements of the 1994 version of the ISO Standard. It has been re-certified to the more stringent requirements of the ISO 9001:2000 Standard and selected products were awarded CE Mark designations.
As a result, Buckingham is realizing a substantial improvement in its operating profits from new customers in both the United States and Europe. The city of Binghamton, Broome County, and the State of New York have each realized gains from Buckingham’s increased success.
- Achieved a more competitive and profitable position in domestic and European markets.
- Achieved ISO 9001:2000 certification.
- Acquired access to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) certification.
- Increased sales by 25 percent.
- Increased jobs by 21 percent.
- Retained 100 percent of existing workforce.
- Invested $170,000 for new process development and equipment in 2005-06.
- Improved manufacturing process yields: first pass yields at 99.5 percent.
- Total impacts attributable to ISO Certification: $32.7 million.
“Through AM&T’s efforts, Buckingham was able to develop and implement an effective ISO 9001 quality management system which produced significant improvements in our product yields and provided access to increased numbers of customers both domestically and overseas. They were also helpful in providing access to financial resources necessary to acquire a significant piece of process equipment which will allow us to transform our manufacturing process and realize improved quality and price performance.”
James L. Nichols, VP, Materials & HR; ISO Management Representative