Great Dane's Savannah plant now registered under new ISO 9001:2000 standard

Great Dane Trailers announced that the company's Savannah plant has received certification for its Quality Management System under the new ISO 9001:2000 standard.

This is a transition from the plant's ISO 9002:1994 certification, which it received March 2001.

"This is confirmation of the quality practices and standard procedures we engage in the Savannah plant, which translate into a quality product for our customers," said Phill Pines, chief operating officer, Great Dane Trailers. "It took a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve this goal, and all of the employees who made it a reality are to be commended."

Great Dane began applying for ISO certification under the standards available at the time in the late 1990s. More than half a million organizations in more than 60 countries are implementing ISO 9000 standards, which provide a framework for quality management throughout the processes of producing and delivering products and services for the customer. While one of many in that regard, when two of Great Dane Trailers' trailer manufacturing facilities were presented with ISO 9002:1994 certification in November 1999, Great Dane became the first United States trailer manufacturer to have a U.S. trailer manufacturing location receive this honor.

Great Dane chose to apply for certification of its manufacturing locations for more uniform manufacturing processes and to ensure all essential quality elements were addressed. While the company's previous quality management systems were effective, their approaches were varied.

"As the internationally recognized standard, the International Organization for Standardization's ISO system was the natural choice," said Bruce Long, Savannah plant manager, Great Dane Trailers.

"Modern trailer manufacturing is a very competitive environment, and the ISO standards provide a structured approach to help promote the continuous improvement process," Long said. "Our customers demand, and deserve, a quality product."

On Dec. 15, 2000, ISO published the revised and improved ISO 9001:2000 to replace the three 1994 versions and thus became the only certification standard in the ISO 9000 series. Organizations certified to the 1994 versions were given a three-year period to make the transition to ISO 9001:2000.

In addition to Savannah, three other Great Dane manufacturing facilities have received registration under ISO 9001:2000. Great Dane's Terre Haute and Brazil, Ind., locations received ISO 9002:1994 in November 1999; Terre Haute made the transition to ISO 9001:2000 in May 2003 and Brazil made the transition to ISO 9001:2000 in June 2003. The Wayne, Neb., plant received ISO 9001:2000 certification in January 2002.

Great Dane decided to apply for ISO 9001:2000 certification for its Brazil, Terre Haute and Savannah facilities due to benefits under the ISO 9002:1994 standard and to bring these plants up to date.

"We felt the ISO 9002:1994 system was providing significant benefits for our facilities, so we decided to apply to make the transition to the latest standard," Long explained.

"We have a superior quality product at Great Dane; however, we cannot rest on our laurels," Long added. "Our quality level must improve each and every day to compete. Registration under the ISO standard is certainly an honor. But we must keep in mind that registration, which does not guarantee the product, is only the start of the quality journey."

A lot of hard work and time went into making the transition to ISO 9001:2000 registration a reality.

"Registration under the new standard required a team effort and dedication from a number of areas, and Wayne Hutsell, our quality manager, spent some very long hours redesigning our system," Long said. "I am certainly proud of our registration, but I am more proud of our system and our employees. In fact, the ISO system has helped encourage a teamwork approach to quality."

Great Dane hopes to eventually certify all of its manufacturing locations to the ISO 9001:2000 standard.

"We have been busy applying parallel quality systems to the ISO standard in our five remaining plants and look forward to moving toward registration at these plants in the future," said Ron Gordy, director of quality assurance, Great Dane Trailers.

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