No manufacturer is an island. In order to keep an organization running, they have to seek external assistance. Whether that is to build their supply chain, to pass inspections to ensure health and safety measures are being taken or in this case to renew an ISO certification. When it was time to renew their ISO 9001 certification, Durham, NC based manufacturer MEMSCAP knew what organization to call for support.
MEMSCAP, a Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) manufacturer, provides the aerospace/defense, optical communications, medical and biomedical and IT/consumer industries with custom solutions based on MEMS. MEMSCAP is a leading supplier of MEMS based passive optical networking subcomponents for telecommunications networks.
The enduring relationship with North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) partner, NC State Industry Expansion Solution (IES) isn’t new. When asked how IES and MEMSCAP were introduced, Christine Schmid, site manager at the North Carolina MEMSCAP manufacturing facility, recalled, “A little over 10 years ago we needed ISO certification help. Robert Crew, IES’ assistant director of eastern client and market development listened to our needs and we worked with IES associate executive director of field operations, Barbara Williams to get started on our successful ISO journey.” That out of the box support helped solidify the long standing relationship between IES and MEMSAP.
Schmid says the reason MEMSCAP continues to seek support from IES is because of both its expertise, knowledge and network, “IES is amazing. They’re so knowledgeable, personable and professional. If they didn’t know about something, they know someone who knows and they’re able to refer to us quickly.”
MEMSCAP has leaned on IES for continuous support after it helped them receive its ISO 9001 certification. In late 2020, IES improvement specialist Nora Milley and Barbara Williams assisted MEMSCAP for a three-day Internal Auditing Support of ISO 9001:2015. “For three days they trained four of us. They were so patient. They didn’t make it feel like work,“ Schmid said. “They got us where we needed to be. We had a three-day audit to get re-certified and we had one minor corrective action.” Schmid says they appreciated the patience that IES showed them, “It wasn’t like they threw a book at us and told us to read it. They took their time to teach us and made sure we understood no matter how long it took.”
Schmid says she’s constantly impressed by IES’ proactiveness, “Sometimes Nora will call me just to ask how I am doing—how the organization is doing. She asks what we may need and to send her any information that she can help with. They’re very proactive.”
When surveyed, it was shown that through the support of IES, MEMSCAP was able to retain 15 jobs, increase sales by $150,000, retain sales of $500,000, invest in $250,000 worth of plant equipment and resulting in $250,000 worth of cost savings. The total economic impact added up to $1.25 million.
“NCMEP is always an enormous help to us every year. We are grateful we are able to partner with them. Robert Crew and Nora Milley have made a positive impact on our business and are a joy to work with,” Schmid expressed. In the coming years MEMSCAP says they’re hoping to continue to call on IES to help identify growth opportunities, increase employee recruitment and retention and increase the sustainability of their products. “It’s like they really care about you and you aren’t just another client.”