Customer satisfaction!

Have you ever made one or more of your customers mad and didn’t even know it. Consider the following:

What is one of the worst things you can do to a customer — Cause opportunity for an RMA – Returned Material Authorization — something is wrong and the customer is not happy!

An RMA is the black mark of black marks.

I started my career of customer service in the world of RMA and Warranty.

It can be one of the most frustrating things you can do to a customer.

1.     The product was bought to use not send back.

2.     On-time, instant gratification, great product — gone.

3.     There is a tremendous need for a system, procedures, and people to handle the returns. 

4.     Both Sides are MAD – Customer returning product and the supplier trying to handle non-routine work.

From experience of owning a company I have witnessed the process of people in the organization knowingly shipping product, that was bad, to make the monthly numbers. 

When I discovered this several people were immediately removed from my organization. 


As I stopped and reflected on what happened, I decided I was probably part or all of the cause. 

I stopped cold — all managers were summoned and we decided this needed correction. Aanother moment of getting the Lean Journey started and not really being aware of it. The underlying cause was bad operating systems. We did not have good repeatable processes to ship material.

So began the journey. We did get better and improve. We began the real “Lean Journey”

I was amazed at the rate we lowered RMA’s at our company! — and — our growth took off.


Make 2018 your best year yet!

Comments welcome!


AS9100d – Aerospace Quality Management System / Lean Manufacturing!

Have you ever thought about the “Lean Journey” and the process of having AS9100d – Aerospace Quality Management System?

I believe that obtaining the certification of AS9100d is a tremendous accomplishment for a small company.  As the required standards are reviewed and met you can find many parallels within and complimentary to “Lean Manufacturing”.

The basis of AS9100 accommodates and describes less waste, improved efficiency, less rejects, improved on-time delivery and standard processes and procedures.

In my previous company I believed in, recommended and achieved AS9100 certification.  Then about 10 years ago I really began to think through and build our company around lean manufacturing techniques. 

We recognized tremendous improvements — in all areas of our company!

I believe this is the way to go in the Aerospace Supplier Environment.  Too many times I’ve heard company presidents and owners say they couldn’t or wouldn’t get the AS9100 certification.  Too hard, Too much paperwork, my systems won’t accommodate the certification — Blah, Blah, Blah.

I am now affiliated with an Aerospace Machining and Fabrication company.  We have achieved AS9100d certification — We are expanding and growing with more “Lean Manufacturing Principles”.

Organized Chaos!

I wrote about our move almost a year and a half ago.

Over the course of 8 working days we moved the office and machinery from 18,000 SqFt to 22,500 SqFt, with more expansion room available. The company is in a larger more modern facility, one building versus two.

We ran customer jobs right up until power was cut and the machines were moved out. From a delivery standpoint only one order went late. We opened Monday with our most critical machines operating.

The fundamentals of 5s and Lean begin. The shop is now set up for better more efficient operation. Is it perfect? No! When jumping on the “Continuous Improvement” train, it is never ending. We will be moving and tweaking forever.

We are looking forward to shaping our destiny and becoming a better company to operate, a better place to work, and a better supplier for our customers.

Then we were in “Organized Chaos” mode. Now we are better — still in somewhat “Organized Chaos” mode. Getting better every day!

Make 2018 your best year yet!


AS9100d / Lean Manufacturing / Efficiency / Bottom Line!

AS9100d / Lean Manufacturing / Efficiency / Bottom Line!

I was introduced to one of the latest quality systems of the time in 1997. The Boeing quality system. We passed in December 1997 and never looked back.

I have always embraced the latest quality system available for the company.

Last month our company passed and moved from AS9100c to AS9100d quality system.

10 years ago I was introduced to “Lean Manufacturing” and after a bit of non-belief from employees, I made “Lean Manufacturing” a permanent part of my organization. Now in a new company I plan to again go completely into “Lean Manufacturing”. It can be done in a job shop. It definitely worked in my last company.

Couple the efficiency gains of “Lean Manufacturing” with the really good principles of the quality system AS9100d and really good things happen to the organization and the bottom line.

You can end up doing a whole lot more with a whole lot less. Our previous company went from $4 million in yearly sales with 90 employees to producing $15 million in yearly sales with 91 employees.

This stuff works — But — only if top management believes and works through the processes of quality and “Lean Manufacturing”.

Sounds almost too good to be true. I lived it. It works. Let me know your thoughts, and/or, contact me with questions.

Remember it is time to get ready for 2018. Get ready to make 2018 your best year yet!


Quality, Delivery, Cost/Price!

Several years ago at a large supplier conference for one of the major aerospace companies, I was asked to participate on a panel discussion about having the Aerospace quality standard AS9100 and taking a company through a “Lean Journey”. There were five supplier companies participating.

After purchasing and Aerospace manufacturing company in the late 90’s I learned quickly that quality was a given.  High quality standards were a must.  My problem at the time was that quality was pretty good, not yet the best, but delivery and cost/price were really bad.  We could not produce on-time and at market pricing we did not make much above break even at the bottom line.  We worked for several years to get delivery and cost control.

About ten years ago we were introduced to “Lean Manufacturing”.  Life in manufacturing began to shift and shift well.  We were maintaining quality standards and began knocking off low hanging fruit in waste around the plant.  As we studied “Lean Principles” it became obvious as you grow in quality, AS9100, and apply “Lean” they absolutely go hand in hand.   Our plant really excelled at having high quality product, on-time delivery and a better bottom line was shaping up.

However, back at the conference I had a question from the audience.  A person who had been close to our company and had visited us in the early days asked:  “Mr. Fry there was a time years ago that you said there were only two possible outcomes of Quality, Delivery and price.  A buyer could have only two, not all three.  What do you say now? “.  Well there was a hush in the room.  All eyes and ears turned toward me.  It certainly was not a trick question but actually I had not thought about the concept for many years.

I answered that with current high quality standards coupled with “Lean” it was possible to have great quality, on-time delivery and cost/price control — which means to all you in this room cost reduction.  That brought laughter and applause from the crowd.

So, as we grow our current company Polytronix Machining & Fabrication we are approved at current AS9100c and are beginning the process of the new AS9100 2017 series of changes for the next generation of quality — AND — We are going full bore in “Lean Manufacturing”.

I am very interested in collaborating and discussing this further.   Let me know your thoughts.

Make 2017 your best year yet!

Quality after AS9100c !!!!!

For many of us in Aerospace businesses we work with the quality system AS9100c. This year a new more advanced and comprehensive version comes out.

We had our first meeting this week for change needed and requirements for the upcoming revision. I believe the Quality System AS9100 makes us a better more efficient company. I like it!

In 1997 I was first exposed to the Boeing quality system D1-9000a. Our company became certified late 1997. When exposed to better and best quality practices our company has stayed focused and embraced the system and practices. Our current company Polytronix Machining & Fabrication is certified and working with AS9100c.

Since I learned about “lean principles”, some years back, and the savings possible within our organization, I have aligned everything to coincide with “Lean” and the highest quality standards available.

I am sure there will be challenges to the new quality system. We are going forward and will be ready for audit later this year. Good luck on your journey!

Make 2017 the best year yet!