ATN Success Stories
ATN-Rainsville Organizes Specialized Training for Gas Boards.
DeKalb–Cherokee Gas District, located in Fort Payne, AL, is the state natural gas service authority provider for DeKalb and Cherokee county. Boaz Gas Board is the state natural gas service authority provider for the city of Boaz.
Contact was made by center director through an inquiry regarding the training needs of their agencies. Management acknowledged that there was a need for welder certification for their employees. In the agencies, only employees who are certified in specific welding classifications are able to answer a correlating service order. Therefore, the agencies could only utilize certified employees for many service calls. In addition, a hindrance for the agencies was that this type of specialized training was not offered within the area. The nearest training facility was located approximately 70 miles in Georgia, which presented a hardship on employees who would need to attend the training after business hours.
In conjunction with the DeKalb County Technology Center, ATN-Rainsville acquired the needed facilities and instructor that permitted the training and certification exams to be held in close proximity of the agencies.
As a result of the training, nine employees were trained, tested, and received certifications in gas and electric arc welding. These certifications allowed trainees to receive wage increases and gave the agencies better flexibility in staffing by having more certified employees who could work on all service calls, versus a non-certified employee who could only answer a small fraction of service orders.
“One of the challenges our staff has had in the past is to schedule and coordinate with our employees to either be certified or re-certified as welders for work on our gas system. The problem was always to find a school that could accommodate this training after work hours and close enough that it did not cause a travel problem of distance and time. I am glad to say that through the Alabama Technology Network, Northeast Alabama Community College and the Dekalb County Technical School all these needs were met and we were able to get our employees certified. The instruction our employees received from the staff was very professional and great. All in all it was a good experience in a good program as these three groups came together to help us fulfilled our needs”.
AS 9100 Gives System Studies and Simulation, Inc. Competitive Advantage
System Studies and Simulation (S3) provides expert technical and engineering support for the Defense and Space communities. S3 was incorporated in the state of Alabama in 1993 by its founder and CEO, Jan Smith. S3 , headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama, has approximately 325 employees and branch offices in Ft. Hood, TX, Washington, DC, and Newport News, VA. In addition, S3 has personnel integrated with its customers at multiple Military Installations across the United States, as well as in Germany and Iraq.
As with most Boeing suppliers, S3 found itself being requested to be certified to the new AS 9100 standard (think ISO 9001 with additional aerospace requirements). Since S3 manufactures no physical products, they needed help making sense of the AS9100 requirements and what applied to their business. S3 also wanted to use their certification to give them a competitive advantage over other players in the crowded defense contracting arena.
S3 contacted the Alabama Technology Network based on the working relationship that ATN has with Boeing. The ATN-Rainsville office was able to provide expertise in developing a customized quality management system based upon over 30 years of combined ISO experience. ATN-Rainsville engineers provided on-site AS9100 overview and internal audit training, along with one-on-one coaching to S3 employees who were responsible for writing the procedures for their quality system. In addition, the staff at ATN-Rainsville assisted in S3’s internal audits and participated in their registration audit. ATN helped S3 see how their AS 9100 quality system can improve the quality of even a non-manufacturing company.
Because of ATN’s assistance, S3 was able to save hundreds of man-hours by writing the needed procedures that related only to their quality system. After only a few months of training, S3 went through their registration audit and successfully passed with only two minor non-conformances. In addition to maintaining their great business relationship with Boeing, S3 credits being able to achieve AS 9100 certification as part of the reason they recently won a large government contract. An estimated $7,000,000 in new sales and 25 new jobs were created because of ATN help with achieving the AS 9100 certification. Also 15 jobs were retained and $5,000,000 in existing projects were kept because of this project.
“ATN provided great support in negotiating the challenges associated with integrating AS9100/ISO9001:2000 Standards into our Business and in achieving certification within seven months.”
Corporate Quality Manager