LEBANON — Over the past 20 years, Machine Craft Northwest has grown from a two-machine operation in a garage to a sizable metal fabrication facility with eight employees.
The growth came as needed.
This year, what the company needed was a certification to verify it has achieved a quality management system that meets a variety of business specifics — the so-called ISO 9001 certification — to satisfy a request from a client.
No problem. Machine Craft accomplished the rating, which in most cases takes up to a year, in three months.
“I understand that is pretty unusual,” said Nick Bosworth, who runs Machine Craft Northwest operations. “Our customers needed it so we decided that we wanted to go forward and get certified.”
Bosworth said meeting the certification standards requires creating a system and documenting it to reflect the company’s operations and policies. There are minimum management requirements to fulfill in areas of record-keeping, training, equipment and facilities.
“For the most part, it is about saying just what you are going to do and doing what you say,” Bosworth said.
Machine Northwest recruited the consulting services of Dennis Bullock, who specializes in management system issues. The Portland-based consultant came on board in February, and with Bosworth created the system that best fit the needs of the business.
Once it was documented, shop manager Scott Beydler took it to the floor and employees for implementation. The business was officially accredited after an audit by Verisys on May 28.
Bosworth said that Verisys made sure that Machine Craft met the minimum requirements during the accreditation audit.
He also said it is an ongoing process to remain certified.
“We will be inspected every six months,” he said. “They will be looking to see an ongoing improvement. Verisys’ reputation is on the line, too, so they make sure the certification is warranted.”
The process required Machine Craft to walk a narrow line between making sure the standards were being met and retaining the flexibility required in the business.
“Our plan was to write policy that would be recognized as meeting the standards, but also stay as flexible as possible,” Bosworth said. “It was nerve-racking, to say the least.”
Bosworth credited Bullock’s work as critical to reaching compliance. He said Bullock stressed the idea of getting into a game plan and setting goals in a timely fashion.
“He was great to worth with,” Bosworth said. “He helped us accelerate our plan.”
Machine Craft was started in 1993 by Bosworth’s uncle, company owner Dennis Bosworth, who went into business on the side by developing a micro-machining market in his garage. He still is involved in company operations when needed.
Nick Bosworth came on board about 12 years ago.
“I started sweeping floors and pushing parts,” he said. “Now I run the place. It’s a family feeling here.”
The front office is also manned by a family member, Derek Bosworth, Nick’s cousin. He handles day-to-day office operations.
The business moved to its location into a 3,750-square-foot shop at 1780 W. Airway Road in 2008 after spending time in Sodaville. The company’s eight employees work four 10-hour shifts, providing micro-machining, laser engraving, CNC machining and short-run productions for a variety of customers. Bosworth said an immediate goal is to work with the medical industry.
The certification process also requires continuous improvement at Machine Craft.
“It’s important to stay on a path of improvement,” Bosworth said. “The idea is to improve the tools we use within the system to serve our customers better.”