One of the UK’s leading automotive suppliers has celebrated a year of new contract wins by securing the prestigious IATF 16949 quality award.
Applied Component Technology (ACT), which employs nearly 60 people at its factory in Clywedog Road South, has become one of the first SMEs in Wales to secure the accreditation – reportedly taking just 11 months from the start of the process to the successful audit.
The award is expected to help retain and attract new work from the car manufacturers and Tier 1s, which currently accounts for 85% of the firm’s £7m turnover.
ACT’s core expertise is in supplying the automotive sector, with products made in the company’s assembly cells including barrier nets, composite load floors, roller luggage covers, trailer systems and exterior parts.
The accreditation has also seen the company strengthen its quality performance with PPM scores down to single digit, just-in-time delivery at 100% and a new product safety focus that goes above and beyond customer requirements.
Quality manager, Davydd Popple explained: “We first started looking at the process in December 2016 and knew immediately that we had to get everyone on board, so quickly arranged for all areas of the business to understand what was involved and how they would contribute.
“This quickly moved into setting up small teams of people, who would look at the different functions and how we could break down the new IATF requirements into manageable chunks.”
He continued: “It was an approach that undoubtedly worked. Our already robust processes are even better and we now have either removed risk or come up with mitigating actions for everything we do, whether it is a product, process or service.
“With IATF 16949 being so closely aligned with the recent update to ISO9001, I took the opportunity to integrate our management system so we are now certified to both ISO9001:2015 and IATF16949:2016.
“The ISO certification allows ACT to diversify into non-automotive products, which will help us secure new business in other key markets.”
ACT’s experience in high-strength composites led to it being invited to design, develop and manufacture a lightweight aircraft galley trolley for Flightweight, marking its first entry into the aerospace interiors sector.
SmartCart is lightweight and offers airlines a sustainable solution for reducing their carbon footprint and savings millions of pounds of fuel every year.
Nick English, new business director, said: “2017 was a good year, with new contracts in the automotive sector secured to supply parts used by Ford in Spain and Peugeot in France, not to mention new vinyl wrapped head-rests used by Volvo Cars.”
He concluded: “There has also been some milestone successes in the non-automotive arena. This includes being named the partner of choice for Pelipod (a new solution that allows BT engineers to access spare parts from field-based lockers) and a horse box net for Ifor Williams, Britain’s leading trailer manufacturer.
“The new quality systems give us the platform to build on these ‘wins’ and go after additional opportunities across a number of markets.”
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