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AST Bearings, a leading supplier of high precision bearings and related products, has received ISO 9001:2008 recertification after an extensive analysis of its quality systems by Perry Johnson Registrars Inc. While AST was previously certified compliant to ISO 9001:2000, recertification with this latest revision represents yet a further commitment to quality and reliability that customers can expect from the company and its many product offerings.
ISO 9001:2008 – The Latest Quality Management Standard
Released in November of 2008, ISO 9001:2008 is the fourth and very latest release of the standard set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Unless companies comply with the more rigorous 2008 revisions by November 2010, their existing ISO 9001:2000 certifications will no longer be valid. A business seeks to attain this latest certification as recognition of efforts made to adopt a quality culture, continuous process improvement, to ensure consistent results and maintain peak customer satisfaction.
ISO 9001:2008 provides a number of requirements that must be fulfilled to achieve customer satisfaction through products and services which meet customer expectations. This includes a requirement for planned and continual improvement of the Quality Management System. Specifically for AST, key components of their quality policy require:
The certification represents affirmation by a third-party registrar that when purchasing AST products and services, the customer is assured of world-class quality and reliability. The ISO audit of AST was carried out by Southfield, Michigan-based Perry Johnson Registrars, Inc., one of the world's foremost authorities in quality certification.
Verified Improvement to Customer Satisfaction
Consistent with the latest ISO 9001:2008 standard, AST actually verifies its customer satisfaction. For the past three years, it sent out standardized surveys to its customers to determine its current performance in the following five key areas: Sales/Customer Service, Engineering, Quality, Shipping Delivery, and Overall while soliciting feedback on outstanding performance and areas to improve upon.
Tom Berendsen, AST's quality assurance manager, affirmed, "Deploying and maintaining a Quality Management System that requires verification and continual improvement has made a big difference for our customers. For example, I now have proof that our customer satisfaction levels have increased." Berendsen continued, "Using 2007 as a baseline (which was a pretty good year for us), our customers said that in 2008 we improved our customer satisfaction by 7.5 percent. In 2009, our customers said we improved yet another 7.0 percent." Berendsen summarized, "Because of our Quality Management System, if ever an issue arises, we identify and resolve it quickly. As a result, many of our customers have gone on record that we are simply their best supplier, bar none."
Design Services Also Pass Intense Scrutiny
Of particular note regarding AST's recent ISO 9001:2008 certification, it also included their Design and Development processes. Most bearing suppliers don't even have in-house bearing design and engineering services. Whether trouble-shooting an existing problem or help with creating new product specs, customers of AST should have greater peace of mind knowing that their processes have been scrutinized and passed inspection by the renowned auditing firm of Perry Johnson Registrars Inc.
Top-Down Commitment to Quality and Improvement
Dale Kaminski, CEO at AST Bearings, commented on the company's recent ISO 9001:2008 certification. "AST has always had a commitment to quality," says Kaminski. "This is a core value for AST that permeates every level of our company from senior management on down. Each and every one of us at AST Bearings is committed to delivering quality products with outstanding reliability along with the very best service and support. Our new ISO 9001:2008 certification is yet another example of our company providing 'value beyond the part'. For our customers, it represents further assurance that when they purchase a product from AST, they are investing in a superior product backed by an organization that stands behind everything it sells."
Raising the Bar ... Continuously
The new ISO 9001:2008 standard by definition does not allow a company to "rest on its laurels." AST is required to have continuous improvement, even above the levels achieved in 2009. According to company executives, AST has several initiatives that will help usher in a new level of customer satisfaction rarely found bearing supply industry. Companies from all industries can expect even more from this New Jersey based company who step-by-step is helping to re-define the bearing industry.
About ISO 9001:2008
ISO 9001:2008 specifies requirements for a quality management system where an organization needs to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide product that meets customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements and aims to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system, including processes for continual improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity to customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. To learn more about the International Organization for Standardization, visit http://www.iso.org/iso/mediakit/media-kit_isoinonepage.htm
About AST Bearings
Founded in 1963, AST Bearings LLC is an ISO 9001:2008 certified corporation and a value-added supplier of a wide selection of miniature bearings and precision ball bearing products. The company also maintains an extensive inventory of superior quality bushings, rod ends, roller and linear bearings, custom cost-efficient sub-assembly products, and much more. Furthermore, AST provides inventory management services, expert engineering and design services, in addition to failure analyses and relubrication services in clean rooms with Class-100 workbenches at its headquarters in Montville, N.J.