Firms Have ISO Help
April Lothschutz, trainer and vice president of operational services, said NSBT has many options to help businesses cope with changing environmental and quality standards.
Joe Mead, operating systems auditor for Grand Haven Stamped Products, said he and Dan Westhoff, the firm's operating systems leader, went through Lothschutz's eight-hour internal auditor training.
"We're going to be audited again for the 2004 version in September," he said.
Mead said NSBT was able to train them on site, cutting the company's cost nearly in half by saving money on travel expenses.
Lothschutz led Mead and Westhoff through the standards and pointed out the changes that needed to be made.
"She knew where we were at so she was able to design (the training) around our needs," he said. "She did a good job laying all that out for us, so when she came in we were able to walk right through the changes."
Though complying with the standards is required by some of the company's clients, Mead said the standards also help to save money. Companies such as Ford Motor Co., General Motors and IBM Corp. require manufacturing sites to be compliant with the standards.
"There is a direct correlation with saving and the different things we're doing," he said.
Mead said NSBT makes training interesting and engaging.
"It's not just the dry, read-off-the-overhead (presentation); it keeps people involved," he said. "They always have a lot of knowledge about what they're doing."
There are several ways that companies can take advantage of NSBT's services. With both hands-on and hands-off approaches, companies can decide the best way to meet their needs.
"We really offer a wide range of assistance," Lothschutz said. "I think what we do is we customize our approach to meet their needs."
Mitzi Taylor, president of NSBT, said the program is a way for companies to improve the way they work.
"We just try to listen to what the customer needs, and we go in and try to improve their business," she said.
Though some businesses do not have extra funding for training in a slow economy,
"We've really had to look at doing business a little differently," she said.
Keeping up with changing industry standards can be time-consuming for companies, Lothschutz said.
"It's a constant process," she said. "It's really difficult to keep up today with these changes.
"We try to come in and make it as easy and painless as possible," she said.
Lothschutz said standards usually are revised and changed every eight years.
"This is not going to be as big of a conversion as some of those others," she said.
Lothschutz said businesses should give themselves three to six months to complete the upgrade before bringing in their registrar, who regulates the standards. Companies have until May 15, 2006, to upgrade their system to meet the ISO 14001 standards.
"This update is mainly to clarify and emphasize regulations that were previously expressed," she said.