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Columbia Elevator’s QMS is built on 7 Pillars (Part 2: Pillars 5-7)

Lou Blaiotta on Monday, May 15, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

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Columbia Elevator Products Sales Team

Here the Columbia Elevator Products Sales Team after a full day of building relationships at a recent NAEC Convention trade show. Building relationships across our department teams is as important to us as building relationships with our customers and suppliers.

The first 4 pillars or principles of our QMS structure were important: Customer Focus, Leadership, Engagement of People, and Process Approach. You might think that is all a company would need to succeed. If it were that simple, more people would be successful entrepreneurs. The last three pillars are what keep things moving forward and help an organization manage obstacles, design innovative solutions, and make positive change. Without these last three – a company will fail.

Pillar Five: Improvement

Successful organizations are engaged in regular and continuous improvement. By reacting to changes in the internal and external environment, a company can continue to deliver value to their customers.

Columbia Elevator Application:

Over the years, we have examined how we conduct our processes. Those changes have brought about various improvements. Recently we re-designed the manufacturing floor space at our Bridgeport facility. Ultimately, the changes made have improved efficiency of production and have made it possible for us to meet and exceed customers’ needs for quick turn-around on product delivery.

Pillar Six: Evidence-Based Decision Making

Making a decision naturally involves a degree of uncertainty. Ensuring that decisions are based on data analysis reduces that uncertainty. Evaluation of data ensures that the decisions an organization makes are more likely to produce a desired result.

Columbia Elevator Application:

Every department collects data to determine whether it is meeting its goals or making the best decisions for our company. For example, on an annual basis our HR Department looks at all the data points related to the cost and services of various Heath Care providers. Always looking at data helps to determine what is beneficial to a company’s bottom line or in the case of health care what insurance may be less costly to our employees and still provide them with quality coverage.

Pillar Seven: Relationship Management

A business does not exist in a vacuum. Companies identify important relationships with interested parties, such as suppliers. Next, a business sets out a plan in how to manage those relationships and bring about sustained success.

Columbia Elevator Application:

Columbia Elevator staff attend trade shows and conventions. A big part of the time at those conventions is spent fostering relationships with suppliers, customers, and our competitors. The buildings of those relationships – especially with our customers – helps Columbia Elevator to gain more business.

Working by the 7 principles, Quality is not just a word at Columbia. It goes into everything we do. Quality management makes an important contribution to our company’s long-term revenue, profitability, and our ability to maintain and grow jobs. How well does your company uphold the 7 ISO principles?


Columbia Elevator’s QMS is built on 7 Pillars (Part 1: Pillars 1-4)

Lou Blaiotta on Monday, May 1, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

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CEPCo Quality DiagramI’ve introduced the Quality Management System (QMS) and I’ve talked about how building that system on ISO 9001:2015 standards can ensure your customers receive consistent, high-quality products. A company’s QMS that follows the seven ISO principles can certify that it consistently creates value for its customers.

I like to think of these principles as pillars that are holding up the roof of a building. Without the pillars, the roof will fall in and a building cannot stand. If a business lacks these pillars – principles – it too will not be able to stand on its own. Let’s look at the first 4 ISO pillars and see how they apply to what we do at Columbia Elevator.

Pillar One: Customer Focus

The primary focus of QMS is for a company to meet and even exceed a customer’s expectations. Customer satisfaction brings about repeat business and contributes to the long-term success of a company.

Columbia Elevator Application:

CEPCo Marketing and Sales Departments work hard to attract customers to our company. But to retain the confidence of all our customers, we must deliver on the sales we make. Orders must be completed per job specifications. In addition, our Estimation and Engineering departments may recognize ways that we can anticipate or adapt to future needs of our customers. A customer focus helps us to build partnerships with others companies such as our Alliance Program with Delaware Elevator.

Pillar Two: Leadership

A unified mission or direction comes from leadership. Leadership ensures that everyone in a company understands a company’s achievement goals.

Columbia Elevator Application:

Certainly, we have an Executive Leadership Team, and we have directors and supervisors in each department of the company. But, leadership is not just about who is in charge. It is also about how each member of the company can handle any given phase of our production or our organization’s structure by serving as a ‘temporary leader’ since we are all working toward the same company goals. We often talk about being a team because we all support each other in the work to be done.

Pillar Three: Engagement of People

Having competent, empowered, and engaged employees at all levels of an organization creates value for the customer.

Columbia Elevator Application:

We have worked hard at Columbia to be certain that all employees are aware of the direction we are headed as an organization. Our weekly goal meetings are agenda-based and focused. Our monthly production meetings include social opportunities to celebrate employee milestones. Moreover, they are opportunities for management to keep staff informed about company direction. The more people who can be involved in and knowledgeable of the company direction – the more likely we are to achieve our goals.    

Pillar Four: Process Approach

The fourth principle/pillar is about a company having a Process Approach. This builds upon the previous three principles. Employees and departments and their individual processes do not exist in a vacuum. Ensuring that everyone is familiar with how all the different activities and processes link together and function as a system helps a business achieve more consistent and predictable results.

Columbia Elevator Application:

Our company’s internal newsletter is designed to provide everyone information about the different departments in the company. The newsletter has provided an overview of departments and different roles in the company. An overarching goal of the newsletter is to inform everyone how Columbia goes about doing business to keep our focus on the customer. It helps everyone know all the various processes that go into the manufacturing of our products.

There’s more to know and I look forward to sharing the last three pillars next time.



What are ISO Standards? How are they helpful in supporting a Quality Management System (QMS)?

Lou Blaiotta on Monday, April 17, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

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Mr & Mrs B giving Lavern the award

Marie and I have the proud distinction of awarding high quality employees with our annual Columbia Elevator Founders’ Awards. Here we are with Lavern Morrison whom we honored for his Initiative and dedication to Quality work

There is so much to know when it comes to building a successful company that produces quality products on a regular basis. Last time we discussed how a QMS helps us all keep on track in our company. Today – we will look at how we set the standards of our Quality to an internationally recognized level.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), based in Geneva, Switzerland, is an independent, non-governmental, international organization that includes a membership of over 160 national standards bodies. ISO brings together the knowledge of all these experts to develop voluntary, market-relevant international standards.

The standards set out by ISO provide world-class specifications for products, services, and systems.   ISO has published over 20,500 international standards and related documents across every industry including my industry - manufacturing. The primary purpose of these standards is to facilitate international trade by ensuring quality, safety, and efficiency.

International Standards are strategic tools or guidelines that help companies tackle some of the most demanding challenges of modern business. We at Columbia Elevator are looking to meet ISO 9001:2015. The document (which was adopted in September 2015 and goes into effect in 2018) details the criteria for a Quality Management System. Ultimately, by following their standards, a company’s QMS can be certified, and customers would be ensured that they would receive consistent, good quality products.

What are the benefits of ISO International Standards?

Verifying that a company’s QMS works effectively is a big part of ISO 9001:2015. Companies that have incorporated ISO standards into their QMS have seen the following benefits:

  • Cost savings: ISO standards optimize operations and improve the bottom line
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction: ISO standards improve quality, enhance customer satisfaction, and increase sales
  • Access to New Markets: ISO opens up global markets and prevents trade barriers for products
  • Increased Market Share: ISO Standards increased productivity and competitive advantage
  • Environmental Benefits: ISO standards help reduce negative impacts on the environment.