Getting an upgrade: ATA’s customized ISO transition

Applied Technology Associates (ATA) is a precision measurement, sensing, and controls company that furnishes services and products to government and commercial customers. As a privately held small business, ATA has demonstrated a remarkable ability to transition technology to operational use and commercial products by leveraging internal and government-funded research and development. ATA’s products and services span ground, air, and space applications.

Like many companies, ATA met its initial quality needs through a packaged ISO 9001 registration. However, as the company grew and evolved, its quality system didn’t evolve with it sufficiently to continue meeting the demands of the operations. Dan Gillings, ATA’s president, wanted to ensure that ATA had a quality system that reflected the needs of the current operations while maintaining necessary elements required for ISO registration. He wanted to see a quality system that helped achieve rather than impede business objectives.

To address his observations, Mr. Gillings assigned Joseph Perez, ATA’s production group leader, to attend New Mexico MEP’s ISO 9001 2008-to-2015 transition implementation. This training and implementation project is a joint effort between New Mexico Economic Development Department’s Job Training Incentive Programs Step Up program and New Mexico MEP. The object of this training is to assist registered companies to upgrade to the new revision.

After attending the ISO 9001 2008-to-2015 transition implementation, Mr. Perez was convinced that ATA needed to enhance its Quality Management System. The unique business structure that serves ATA well in running its multiple business units made it difficult to apply the ISO 9001:2015 standard across all units. So Mr. Perez requested further assistance from New Mexico MEP, and the result was a modification of business operations to ensure full integration of ISO 9001:2015 into the existing management operations.

New Mexico MEP and the employees of ATA dissected the requirements of the ISO 9001:2015 and applied them to the organization systems. Each business unit addressed applicable Quality Objectives to drive performance improvement. The individual business units were then mapped with resources, controls, metrics, and risk/opportunity assessment.

Since these changes were made, ATA has completed a successful registration audit and has realized improvements that were not identified in the previous system.

“The assistance provided by New Mexico MEP made the transition to the 2015 standard easier than it could have been. The changes to our operation will allow us to take our business to the next level.” – ATA production group leader Joseph Perez