Flying high with AS9100

Following AS9100 certification, West Sussex-based PCB manufacturer, Artetch Circuits, looks set to enter new markets during the downturn. Managing director, , explains how and why Following a management buy-in during 2006, Martin Morrell has been instrumental in driving change in the companys strategy. Originally established in 1967 to produce pictures etched in copper, Artetch Circuits soon moved into printed circuit fabrication.

Martin explained: Artetch Circuits came into being in its current form in 1969 so we have been at the leading edge of the UK market for a significant period of time. I purchased the company because of its excellent reputation for customer focus and high quality production which was made possible because of an ongoing investment programme in machinery and staff. All I have added is a refreshed approach to utilising some of the technology in different fields and a real determination for Artetch to be synonymous with all that is best about UK production in the printed circuit board industry.

Clearly, AS9100 certification didnt happen by chance, with the attention to detail and required systems demanding months of concentrated effort.

Martin continued: The achievement of the AS9100 Certification is a feather in the cap of everyone at Artetch Circuits. We have a dedicated, focussed team led by excellent managers such as Joolz Burt our quality manager and there is no doubt that her being a BSi qualified Lead Auditor for ISO9001 and ISO14001 helped us greatly in appreciating the process changes we needed to implement to achieve the Certification.

The reality is that what the Certification gives is a huge opportunity for sales director Chris Buckland and his team to take to the market. We are very clear that in the coming 12 to 18-months the market will contract if not stagnate and any business will be tested on its quality, price and customer care. We are simply bringing innovation to the mix too which places us in a positive position not only in the aeronautics industry but in our current market segments.

In other new, Artetch Circuits production supervisor, Glenn Wallington, has received his Six Sigma Green Belt. Glenn and eight colleagues received certificates following a TEC Concepts training course. Glenn got the additional Green Belt award in recognition of outstanding work during the investigation and improvement of manufacturing processes.

Martin added: I am really pleased for Glenn to get this recognition. The work he has done as a part of the project is truly outstanding. We originally got involved when we were invited by one of our key customers to join the Supply Chain Group, an initiative part funded by the DTI/BERR to improve quality and on-time delivery in the electronics industry.

Having attended the initial two-day presentations, I realised that there was a lot that could benefit Artetch and help us improve our processes which would improve the service we give to our customers. After the presentation Joolz Burt and I presented to our staff, we invited them to come forward with some projects for consideration. The initial offerings were encouraging but Glenns proposal was already showing promise from the start. The Supply Chain Project has now reached its conclusion with the knowledge and results from the Six Sigma Projects within Artetch currently being implemented. With the knowledge we have gained it is now our intention that we will roll out the Six Sigma methodologies to other areas within the business and Glenn will be key in training other staff in the use and benefits. The Supply Chain Initiative is a clear example of how cooperation between customer and supplier can make significant improvements in the process of product supply and the work done within Artetch will have a lasting effect on our business.