Niagara Specialty Metals
Receives AS9100 Certification
Q uality system certification is important for
Photo by Jim Courtney
improving quality and attracting new cus-
tomers. AS9100 is a widely adopted and
Ask the Business Doctor standardized quality management system for
the aerospace industry.
Free Engineering Support
Learn how one Akron, NY company achieved
from SATOP AS9100 Certification through the combined
efforts of Insyte Consulting and a committed
Catching a plate of tool steel on the rolling
Insyte Consulting 2009 About Niagara Specialty Metals, Inc. mill at Niagara Specialty Metals.
Annual Report Niagara Specialty Metals (NSM) is a rolling
to address the need for AS9100 certifica-
mill that processes highly-alloyed steels into
tion. The reasons for this initiative were: (1)
sheet and plate. They also provide conversion
to make business operations repeatable and
processing for titanium, temperature and cor-
consistent with a solid infrastructure to sup-
rosion-resistant metals, electronic alloys and
port future growth, and (2) to allow the com-
other difficult to manufacture metals.
pany to expand its business base. This
In business since 1982, NSM is an ESOP included both new customers who required
company, 100% employee-owned, with AS9100 certification as a prerequisite for
approximately 30 employees. A great work- doing business and existing customers who
force and management team have combined were establishing new requirements for their
to create a culture where many employees of supplier base.
the company have been there for over 20
Although NSM already felt they had good
quality procedures in place, they realized
Situation – A recognized need for that a better process would further improve
AS9100 Certification their current system. The goal was to
NSM approached Insyte in December, 2008
Niagara Specialty Metals continued on page 7
Going “Green?” —
Insyte can help
Are Priorities at Your Organization
Confused? by Sharon Hilts
Being Safety Conscious in a Difficult Economy
“ Toyota's priorities have been first safety,
second quality and third volume. These
of the US Congress in February regarding
the safety problems which led to a world-
priorities became confused," said Akio Toyoda,
Toyota's President, when he testified in front Being Safety Conscious continued on page 6
WNY’s Leading Consulting Firm
Licking the Double Dip
by Benjamin Rand
B usiness is improving. The stock
market is up. The Purchasing
Managers Index for Manufacturing
not better prepared for them when they do come. This past
recession left many businesses scrambling to improve their
efficiency, jettison under-performing assets and diversify the
was 59.6 in March, its highest level markets they serve. In reality, many of these actions could
since mid-2004. Unemployment fell have and should have been taken before the recession hit.
to 8.6% in WNY last month, still too Running your business well should always be your mantra, in
high, but improving. Orders are up, backlogs are growing, so good times as well as bad.
company owners and presidents should be happy, right? Not
As a business owner or president, you cannot allow fear or
quite. Their worries and fears are now focused on the dread-
anxiety to paralyze your decision making and leave your busi-
ed "double dip."
ness in limbo. This clearly occurred during this past reces-
No, this double dip is not the two scoop variety that normally sion. Perhaps the one thing all economists DO agree on is
comes to mind this time of year. This double dip, better that psychology plays an important role in economics. At the
known to economists as a W-shaped recession, refers to the start of last year, business owners and presidents were so
possibility that a short period of growth after a recession will unsure of where the economy was headed that many of them
be followed quickly (in less than a year) by another reces- stopped everything they were doing other than day-to-day
sion. The pundits would have us believe that the threat of a business, including many otherwise healthy WNY companies.
double dip hangs over our heads like the sword of Damocles That inaction clearly made the situation worse for the econo-
and you can hear that concern behind the cautious optimism my as a whole and for many of those businesses in particu-
of many WNY business owners and presidents. lar. If we spend all our time wringing our hands about a dou-
ble dip, there is a real possibility that we will create a self-ful-
In reality, double dip recessions are relatively rare events. Of
33 American recessions since the mid-1800s, only three
were double dips in 1913, 1920 and 1981 according to So, instead of living in fear of a double dip, or any recession,
Deutsche Bank economists. The last double dip was actually learn from our recent experience. First, get your business in
self-induced when Paul Volker raised rates to staunch infla- shape now, whether you are making money, breaking even or
tion after the 1980 recession. So there is only a 3%-6% losing money. Second, do not allow fear and uncertainty to
chance of a double dip based on historical precedent shut down your decision making. Follow these rules and you
according to my calculations. Of course, I'm no economist, will be ready, if and when a double dip does strike. In the
as my macro professor used to constantly remind me. Yet meantime, ignore the pundits and run your business. Life is
even highly trained and experienced economists rarely too short and, to quote John Maynard Keynes, "in the long
agree. As George Bernard Shaw famously observed, "if all run we are all dead."
economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a
conclusion." That is certainly the case these days as eco-
nomic sentiment seems to gyrate from one extreme to
another with every new government statistic.
So the bigger question is: why should you care? After all,
recessions are a fact of economic life. They show up quite
regularly every six or seven years. The wonder is that we are
Insyte Consulting is a not-for-profit economic development organization that receives significant financial support from the New York State
Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR), New York’s high-technology economic development agency, and the National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). Insyte Consulting serves as NYSTAR®’s designated
Regional Technology Development Center for the Western New York Region and one of nearly 350 MEP locations across the country and
works directly with regional companies to increase their competitiveness and profitability.
Page 2 Insyte Affiliates News May/June 2010
Business Doctor, SATOP
Ask the Business Doctor
tle, or inequitable), supervisory issues, to cope with the symptoms of abuse
communication problems, etc.? and may see an incident as an alterna-
Employees, believing that they are not tive to using 'sick-days.' Also, they may
being heard, may try alternate courses be more 'accident-prone' if the drugs are
of action to raise a flag in order to get in their system while they are at work.
issues addressed. Workplace stress: What's the work envi-
Employee assistance program: Do you ronment like? Are unrealistic due dates,
Q uestion: My company is basically
compliant with all the safety regula-
tions yet we still have a very high inci-
have an effective employee assistance
program? Employees may need time off
little co-operation between work groups,
overtime, or maybe even layoffs creat-
to deal with personal issues such as ing high levels of stress at work?
dent rate. What else should we be Employees who need a break from this
divorce or financial problems and the
doing? Linda M., Buffalo, NY tension may find safety incidents with
emotional challenges that accompany
their associated time off from work to
A nswer: The problem you are facing is these concerns. In this case, employees
not uncommon. Your incidents are could see time off due to a safety inci- be an appealing alternative to dealing
likely to be symptomatic of root causes dent as providing them with time and with this daily stress.
that may not be related to safety condi- finances to deal with these concerns. An Other non-safety related business chal-
tions. Assess your organization for unad- effective EAP can help employees to lenges can be demonstrating them-
dressed challenges in the following cope while keeping them working. selves as safety incidents. Assess your
areas: organization holistically to identify the
Substance abuse: Are you randomly
Management/labor relations: Is the rela- drug testing your workforce? Are you
tionship between management and testing after a safety incident? Have a question for the Business
employees strained due to disciplinary Substance abuse can affect incident Doctor? Submit questions to
actions (perceived as too much, too lit- rates because employees need time off firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free Engineering Support from
D oes your small business face a tech-
nical challenge? The Space Alliance
Technology Outreach Program (SATOP)
ny's internal resources, or by commer-
cially available services.
Partners for a resolution.
For more information, please contact
Areas of expertise for SATOP include SATOP at 315.701.0685 or Karen
wants to help. SATOP is designed to
(but are not limited to) optics, robotics, Delius at 716.636.3626.
make the know-how of the U.S. Space
mechanical, manufacturing, industrial,
Program available to small businesses
materials, structural, facilities, chemical,
(up to 500 employees) to encourage
economic growth and raise public aware-
electrical, electronics, and environmental
engineering. Please note that SATOP
Save the Date
ness of the space industry.
cannot address software or Information ASQ Conference
SATOP can provide up to 40 hours of Technology requests.
FREE technical assistance for qualified
Applying to SATOP is simple – just fill out
“Lean Six Sigma”
requests, utilizing the vast engineering
the short Request for Technical
expertise of NASA and participating
Assistance form on SATOP's web site
October 19-21, 2010
Alliance Partners. The program is intend-
(www.spacetechsolutions.com). SATOP For more information:
ed to help solve technical challenges
will work to connect your request with an www.asqbuffalo.org
that cannot be resolved by the compa-
engineer at one of their Space Alliance
Insyte Affiliates News May/June 2010 Page 3
2009 Annual Report
Insyte Consulting & TDC Foundation, Inc.
Message from the Chairman and President
009 was a challenging year economically at every level – locally, nationally and internationally. In concert
with the rest of the world, local companies struggled both to understand what was happening and to antic-
ipate what was coming. In many cases, companies whose business was strong, put investments and improve-
ment plans on hold, not because of their business situation, but because of uncertainty and fear about what
was happening. In other cases, companies had very real struggles with major financial, operational and strate-
gic problems caused by the economy. Companies that relied on one market or one customer for the majority
of their business suffered the most, particularly in the automotive and durable goods industries. The business-
es that fared well throughout 2009 were those with unique, differentiated products and those in consumer
products, private label food and other recession-resistant sectors.
We experienced many of our own ups and downs in 2009. Many companies chose to look at consulting proj-
Warren C. Johnson
ects as discretionary expenses, rather than critical investments, despite their desperate need for change
amidst their deteriorating circumstances. The message for us is that we must do a better job of demonstrat-
ing the economic benefit and ROI that any special project should deliver. So, after a record year in 2008, our
bookings ground to a halt in Q1. Our revenue was also off as many of our clients delayed or postponed exist-
ing projects. But beginning in March we saw the first "green shoots" and by May the situation had turned
around, beginning a steady improvement that lasted throughout the rest of 2009. Our backlog reached a
record high in Q3 and our revenue was "only" down 11% for the year, ending with a small surplus.
Despite this economic rollercoaster, we continued to deliver significant, quantifiable benefits to our clients.
During 2009, we worked with 71 different customers on 137 distinct projects. According to independent sur-
veys of our clients conduct by Turner Marketing in 2009 for the National Institute of Standards and
Technology, our efforts resulted in over $83 million of impact for Western New York, including over $36 mil-
Benjamin L. Rand lion in new or retained sales, almost $10 million in cost savings and over 450 new or retained jobs.
2010 Board of Directors
Kenneth C. Gaines Frederick Mertz
Susan M. Bratton Partner, Gaines, Kriner, Elliott LLP Vice President & General Manager, S. Howes, Inc.
Sr. Vice President, Electrochem Solutions
Greatbatch, Inc. Dr. Jane F. Griffin John A. Olenick
Principal Research Scientist President, ENrG, Inc.
Ronald E. Bowers Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research
Plant Manager, Nestle Purina Pet Care Christina P. Orsi
Mark E. Celmer Benjamin J. Harp Empire State Development Corporation /
President, Insource Healthcare Solutions, LLC
COO, Polymer Conversions Inc. WNY Region
Sherry L. DelleBovi Warren C. Johnson Edward A. Starosielec
Partner, Lumsden & McCormick, LLP
President, Moog, Inc., Aircraft Group Transportation Specialist & Past President
John B. Drenning Christopher J. Lanski Veridian Transportation Sector
Partner, Hodgson, Russ LLP
President Dr. Thomas P. Stewart
Robert A. Fox Excelco Developments Inc. President & Chief Clinical Officer,
President, Conax Technologies LLC Gaymar Industries Inc.
Page 4 Insyte Affiliates News May/June 2010
2009 Annual Report
Insyte Consulting & TDC Foundation, Inc.
We evaluate our success by the impact we have on our customers. An independent study reported
the following impacts in 2009 for customers surveyed*:
$36,039,676 Increased and retained sales
$9,239,650 Cost savings realized
$16,069,952 New investments in modernization
457 Jobs created and retained
*Source: Turner Marketing
Insyte Consulting & TDC Foundation, Inc.
Revenue & Expense Distribution 2009
Services / Other 50%
General & Administrative 18%
Insyte Affiliates News May/June 2010 Page 5
Being Safety Conscious continued on page 6
wide recall of 8.5 million vehicles. With variation in only these inputs is more dardizing how receivers open boxes and
the challenges our businesses face in manageable. When pressed for time, including safety specifics, you are reduc-
difficult economic times, it becomes this is a very practical approach. ing the variability in that process thereby
very easy to confuse priorities. We have greatly reducing the likelihood of a hand
fewer people in our organizations and,
“Today's standardization…is the injury.
consequently, more work for those who necessary foundation on which
tomorrow's improvement will be Part of Standardized Work is determin-
remain. How can we hope to get it all
based." Henry Ford ing the amount of time it takes to exe-
done without sacrificing important priori-
cute each step in a process. This may
ties like safety? Once analysis of the process is com- seem like overkill but it serves an impor-
“Everything should be made as plete in the DMAIC methodology, it's tant purpose. It allows you to balance
simple as possible, but not sim- time to implement improvements. Look the work tasks amongst employees. So
for solutions that are both effective in what? How many times have you identi-
pler." Albert Einstein
having a positive influence on the out- fied the cause of an accident as 'the
The solution to the problem is NOT to come and those which are the easiest employee was rushing?’ Why might they
take shortcuts. The solution is to simpli- to implement. Again, we're trying to be be rushing? The time to perform their
fy the processes that govern our work practical given resource constraints. tasks might be greater than the task
lives. The result is reduced variation in One improvement activity that frequently time required by their co-workers in
our surroundings and a much safer meets these qualifiers is Standardized adjacent processes. Standardized work
workplace. Work. Standardized Work, as we (mem- will allow you to balance the workload.
bers of the Manufacturing Extension Overall pacing becomes more achiev-
So where do you start? Begin with the
Partnership) define it, is an agreed upon able by employees so less rushing is
most nagging problem in your organiza-
and documented set of work procedures required. Less rushing can lead to less
tion. When considering safety, it may be
that establishes the best and most reli- variability and fewer accidents.
the falls in the parking lot, hand injuries,
able methods and sequence for each
back problems, or ergonomic issues. “I would like to reaffirm our val-
process and worker.
Whatever the reoccurring difficulty, use
ues of placing safety and quality
a process perspective so that the fall, “The discipline of writing some- the highest on our list of priori-
injury, or pain is considered an outcome thing down is the first step
of a process. Six Sigma's DMAIC
ties." Akio Toyoda
toward making it happen."
(define, measure, analyze, improve, and Make safety top on your list of priorities
control) approach will enable you to by reducing the variation in your
identify which process inputs are critical Standardized work requires you to look processes through standardized work.
to the outcome of that process. By nar- at each element of a process to deter- Not only will employees be safer but
rowing the focus to the vital few inputs, mine the sequence of steps, how work you'll also find that your second (quality)
improvement activities to reduce the will be performed, and the length of and third (productivity) priorities benefit
time required. If a task must be per- as well.
formed in a specific way in order to be
done safely, it's included in the proce- If you need assistance applying Six
dure, often with pictures. For example, if Sigma or Standard Work to your safety
Don’t Miss systems, contact Sharon Hilts by phon-
hand injuries are prevalent in your organ-
Sharon Hilts ization, jobs such as the receiving of ing 716.636.3626 or by emailing
incoming goods would be among the email@example.com.
first documented. It would show that you Sharon Hilts is an Insyte consultant. Her
must use a safety knife, where the loca- leadership focus on safety improvement
2010 DIVAL Safety Summit tion of the non-cutting hand is on the has resulted in significantly fewer
box being opened, and place an empha- recordable incidents and corporate
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 sis on cutting away from yourself. It may awards in OSHA's Safety and Health
Adams Mark Hotel even describe the placement of the cut- Achievement Recognition Program
Buffalo NY ting hand on the safety knife. By stan- (SHARP).
Page 6 Insyte Affiliates News May/June 2010
Niagara Specialty Metals continued from page 1
achieve certification within a 12 month peri- During phase two, the focus of manage-
od. To underscore their commitment to ment review meetings changed to audit
meet their goal, a key employee was pro- feedback and corrective actions to improve
moted to the full time position of Quality the system:
Manager to oversee the project as internal • Initiating the use of the quality system
• Reviewing audit findings and identifica-
Solution – A step-by-step process tion of improvements and needed Firm Benefits
to achieve the goal of certification changes to the system
• AS9100 Certification
within 12 months • Establishing records to demonstrate achieved within 12
Insyte began working with NSM in January, functionality
2009, breaking the project into two phas- • Training appropriate personnel on specif-
es. The first phase included: ic procedures • First pass yield
• Training the management team on the • Conducting a two day mock audit to increased to 99%
details of the AS9100 identify any remaining
standard and establish- “I was expecting a long
• Improved communi-
gaps in the system
ing internal roles for cations throughout
and painful process but • Using findings from
the management of the mock audit to final-
was pleasantly surprised
at how smoothly it went. ize the system and pre-
• Providing an overview pare for certification Photo by Jim Courtney
of the standard and
The consultants at Insyte
expectations for all were very knowledgeable
• Support for the
employees and understood our com- Company during the
• Drafting a quality pany quickly which made certification audit
manual it easy to integrate AS9100
Throughout the project,
• Developing required into our current system.”
key internal team mem-
procedures Bob Shabala, President bers were an integral
• Establishing regular part of the process to
management review ensure long-term, sustainable improve-
meetings to manage the implementation ments once the project was completed.
and ensure compliance with the system
The results – certification achieved
• Establishing appropriate metrics within the desired time frame
• Establishing a corrective and preventa- In addition to the expected benefits associ-
tive action system ated with achieving AS9100 certification,
• Integrating the existing IT system to sup- one significant result of going through the
port the new quality system process as a team was improved communi-
• Developing a method for maintaining and cations throughout the company and to
sharing level 3 work instructions their customers.
Hot rolling a plate of tool steel at
The continuous improvement portion of Niagara Specialty Metals.
• Auditor training and initiating internal
audits AS9100 gave NSM the tools to be more
disciplined in using root cause analysis.
• Creating necessary forms to support
This has lead to process improvements
that have measurably improved the compa-
Phase two activities involved allowing the ny's yields.
system to work through the cycle of estab-
Niagara Specialty Metals received certifica-
lishing various practices, identifying
tion through NSF in late December 2009.
improvements, and updating the system.
Insyte Affiliates News May/June 2010 Page 7
Permit No. 1745
726 Exchange Street BUFFALO, N.Y.
Buffalo, New York 14210
a NIST Network
Insyte Consulting Has Moved!!!
Affiliates Stop in and see our new offices in the LCo Building.
Same street address – different floor.
726 Exchange Street
Buffalo, NY 14210
726 Exchange Street, Suite 812
Buffalo, New York 14210
Principles of Lean Manufacturing
Web: insyte-consulting.com Join Insyte Consulting for a fast-paced, information-packed session that will
show you how to reduce costs, speed up delivery times and improve quality
Karen A. Delius Editor, Affiliates News in your manufacturing operations.
Benjamin L. Rand President
Date: Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Time: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM (coffee & networking 7:30 AM)
Site: LCo Building, 726 Exchange Street,
For information contact 6th Floor, Barton Room, Buffalo NY 14210
Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus Counties Cost: $75.00
John W. Murray
716.864.8675 (includes lunch & training materials)
Niagara, Allegany Counties For more information or to register visit
www.insyte-consulting.com or call 716.636.3626.
This interactive workshop introduces the basic concepts of lean manufactur-
ing and demonstrates the tools and methodology necessary to implement
“lean” on the shop floor by combining a comprehensive classroom presenta-
Insyte Consulting is a Western New York
Technology Development Center, Inc. company.
tion with hands-on simulation of a production facility.
This publication is funded in whole or in part by
NYSTAR. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or
recommendations expressed in this publication
are those of the author(s) and do not necessari-
ly reflect the views of NYSTAR. WNY’s Leading Consulting Firm