by: Jeffrey Moellering, Marketing & Sales Director, Pro QC International
Meadowcraft, Inc. (www.meadowcraft.com) is the largest manufacturer of outdoor wrought iron furniture in the USA. Building on a tradition that spans more than 80 years, Meadowcraft's wrought iron furniture is known for its durability and functionality. Each piece of furniture is protected from the elements by an e-coat primer and a polyester powder paint topcoat. Meadowcraft is also proud that their “Sustainability Programs” over the years have reduced the impact on natural resources by consuming 75-80% of recycled materials. Meadowcraft employs approximately 1,500 people at its wrought iron manufacturing plant in Wadley, Alabama and cushions and umbrella manufacturing plant located in Selma, Alabama. Meadowcraft’s mission is to put “Pride in the Box” by building world class products, cost efficiently and backing it up with world class customer service.
Meadowcraft has worked with Pro QC for over four years at factory locations in China, the Philippines and Mexico.
We spoke with John Diorio, VP of Supply Chain management about why Meadowcraft engages Pro QC’s quality services. "With our growing import activities we realized that we needed a QC presence in the Orient. As an alternative to hiring our own QC employees, we determined that we could partner with Pro QC International who had the talent and the experience to meet our goal. We needed a partner that fully understood quality control and could hit the ground running. Additionally, we were looking for a company that would represent Meadowcraft with a high degree of integrity and we found that with Pro QC."
In explaining how Meadowcraft utilizes Pro QC’s services, John stated; "First, to perform a QC System Audit and second, to perform pre-shipment inspections to provide assurance that the products that are shipping to Meadowcraft are within the pre-established AQL criteria. Before Meadowcraft authorizes production from a new source, Pro QC is dispatched to the source to assess the supplier’s ability to control the quality. With the information gathered from the audit, AQL levels are then established. We are now focusing on process control issues and providing gauges, templates and in some cases visual aids. Additionally, we utilize Pro QC's team when needed to help facilitate expedited production activity and to ensure that our quality standards are not compromised when expedited production activity is required."
Concerning the benefits Meadowcraft has seen using Pro QC’s services, John said that "With Pro QC we now have a global partner that truly understands what it takes to achieve high quality standards. They have helped us develop our quality standards and set objectives. In addition, we look to Pro QC to help us in communicating methods and processes that help assure our quality needs are met consistently. Another benefit with Pro QC is the documentation they provide. All audits and inspections are documented and maintained in a client database. This data is frequently used for continued supplier development purposes."
When asked how Pro QC has aided Meadowcraft in developing its supplier base and supply chain management functions, John added that "Pro QC's managers and engineers help Meadowcraft bridge what might otherwise be a communication barrier or gap. We have found in the past that poor or partial communication between Meadowcraft and the supplier have been a primary reason for poor quality and missed timelines. Since our seasonal business activity is typically executed on tight timelines, any initiative to improve communications benefits all involved. Visual aids, templates and other methods for maintaining process controls are needed and often initiated by Pro QC. Although we don't expect Pro QC to supervise production activities, we occasionally call on them to oversee a supplier's expedited production activity and to ensure that our quality expectations are not compromised. When called on to perform this service Pro QC has worked side by side with the supplier, directing QC activities and assuring that processes are in place to meet the quality requirements expected."
To achieve similar levels of productivity throughout your entire value stream, please contact a Pro QC account manager today via our web site, at www.proqc.com.