In today's hyper-competitive environment, the bar only goes up. The marketplace insists upon the very best possible quality. At Eastern Alloys, quality is a multi-dimensional activity that cuts across all business levels. While product quality dominates the manufacturing focus, elements of non-product quality are also critical to the company's overall approach to continual improvement, and equally critical to customer satisfaction.
It is inescapable; control is a direct function, or reciprocal, of measurement. If a process or product attribute is not or cannot be measured, it cannot be controlled. The foundation upon which 6σ improvement strategies are based upon MAIC, or measure, analyze, control, and improve. Each is important but together the result is a powerful improvement tool. Companies like Motorola and General Electric are 6σ pioneers. From raw materials to finished product, Eastern monitors all processes to improve manufacturing performance and alloy consistency. An accurate analysis accompanies each zinc alloy shipment guaranteeing that alloy products meet customer requirements. Interestingly, Eastern's internal manufacturing specifications are controlled to a level 25% more restrictive than industry requirements and our technical staff works to make them even tighter. Control charts verify consistency of alloying constituents. Contaminants are closely monitored insuring optimal product purity. Process elements such as bath temperature, combustion, pouring rate, casting speed and cooling rate are also controlled insuring total quality performance from one heat to the next.
Non-product quality programs include activities such as e-mail delivery follow-up and feedback. The internal sales order and contract review process is continually audited to insure accurate and complete fulfillment and in 2001, Eastern launched a formal Customer Satisfaction Audit program.
Each Eastern Alloys facilities, Maybrook, NY and Henderson, KY are ISO 9002 registered. With close order support from the Maybrook staff, Eastern Alloys of Kentucky earned its ISO registration in November 2000, a short 7 months after its Grand Opening. While there are many ISO registrars, none is more thorough than UL, Eastern's Registrar. Maintenance audits are an important part of the company's commitment to continuous improvement. In August 1996, Eastern Alloys was awarded with American Association of Laboratory Accreditation, or A2LA. Among analytical instruments at Eastern Alloys are Spectro AES units and an ICP (Inductively Coupled-argon Plasma) spectrometer. Of the two technologies, AES analysis is often preferred because of its combination of speed and accuracy.
John Malmgreen, Eastern's Vice President of Manufacturing, is an active member of ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials). He is the chairman of two B02 Committees and an active member of the E01 committee. Recently, John chaired the task group leading to approval of the uniform color code system for zinc casting alloys (ASTM B908) and more recently, helped to establish a similar code for zinc steel-coating alloys (ASTM B914). In addition, he serves as the U.S. representative for two ISO technical subcommittees.
At Eastern Alloys, quality assurance is a systems wide, cross-functional process. Every team member is involved to improve every aspect of the company's business model. The goal is 100% customer satisfaction. The company routinely checks customer (alloy) samples often preventing minor problems from becoming more serious. Contaminants, if undetected, can negatively affect end product performance. Elements such as lead, tin, and cadmium can be particularly harmful. With increasingly high warranty costs and the possibility of a product liability event, customers cannot be too careful to insure alloy chemistry. Eastern frequently collaborates with customers on long-term statistical (SPC) evaluation to measure, control, and improve certain specific casting variables to improve consistency, productivity, product quality, and cost. In-plant customer audits often result in immediate gains. For more information about Eastern Alloys' comprehensive improvement, engineering activities click here.
Eastern Alloys is proud to announce the accreditation of its laboratory by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA). The accreditation recognizes Eastern's successful completion of the A2LA evaluation process and its technical competence in the field of chemical analysis testing. Eastern's technicians computerize all lab data and produce analytical reports and statistical analysis quickly and easily for customer requirements.
A2LA is a nonprofit, scientific membership organization dedicated to formal recognition of testing laboratories which have achieved a demonstrated level of competence. A2LA, acting as a third party assessor, accredits labs using criteria found in ISO/IEC Guide 17025, "General Requirements for the Competence of Calibration and Testing Laboratories."