FCX Systems, Inc., was founded in February 1987 with a business plan to design and manufacture solid state power frequency converters. The original founders were a team of five individuals with more than 60 years of combined electrical engineering expertise in the power conversion market. The company's primary facility is located in Morgantown, with satellite sales offices in Virginia, Florida, England and Brazil.
For the past 26 years, FCX Systems has been synonymous with quality and satisfaction in their market. The company has built a solid and dependable reputation for outstanding engineering and workmanship to not only meet but exceed the expectations of their customers. FCX serves military, commercial, and industrial markets both in the United States and abroad with units installed on every continent and in more than 75 individual countries.
FCX Systems began working with West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership in 2011. The company wanted to implement ISO 9001, an international quality management system standard, to demonstrate their commitment to quality, meet the expectations of existing customers, and to increase its customer base. They contacted WVMEP, a National Institute of Standards and Technology MEP network affiliate, for assistance with the implementation and training of the ISO 9001 Quality Management System.
WVMEP evaluated the company and performed an ISO 9001 gap analysis to review the current quality management system and the required improvements needed to pass a certification audit. FCX System's implementation management team and personnel from various functions within the company was briefed on the findings. Upon completion of the needed documentation, including performance metrics to track performance improvements, the system was initiated.
After the new quality management system was started and had been implemented for a reasonable amount of time, WVMEP conducted a two-day internal auditor training. Employees were supported as they conducted audits to the released procedures to ensure effective implementation. Internal audit nonconformance's were found and addressed.
After implementation, internal auditor training, and an internal audit it was determined that FCX Systems, Inc., was ready for the ISO 9001 registration audit. WVMEP assisted them in selecting and scheduling an accredited third-party registrar.
With the assistance of the WVMEP, the ISO 9001 implementation project resulted in FCX Systems Inc., achieving a recommendation for registration in September 2012; registration was completed in November 2012.
Impacts resulting from this project include:
- Achieved ISO 9001 certification
- Provided access to new markets and potential new business
- Increased gross sales $150,000
"The WVMEP team provided our team with the information and skills necessary to achieve
the ISO certification. Ms. Kyker is a true professional and was able to provide
a clear, systematic guide to achieving the certification. If we were to go with
an outside consulting firm we would have been charged more than $100,000 to get
the services the WVMEP provided for $5,000."
— Jay Mullins, manager, Quality Assurance
KSD Enterprises designs, fabricates and supports a product called the methane exhauster and has recently added a new product line of landfill gas-fueled electric generators. For many years, KSD Enterprises has been in the engine business. After several years of working with mining professionals and working on methane moving problems, the methane exhauster was born, matured and patented. As the methane exhauster was developed, the goals included a unit that would provide high productivity, high uptime, freedom from traditional maintenance constraints and user-friendly operation. Those goals have all been realized in today's methane exhauster, which requires no electricity, is powered from free fuel, will operate with low-quality fuel, and can be moved from site to site in less than a day. To date, there are more than 300 methane exhauster units currently being utilized in industry.
KSD Enterprises is always working to improve their product and support their customer base. One of the main problems posed by the methane exhauster is training operators, routine maintenance, and unexpected breakdowns. When there is a problem with a methane exhauster, it is not always possible or feasible, to have the unit returned to the company for service or to send a KSD Enterprises technician to the unit. KSD Enterprises decided that a user's manual, including instructions for start-up, shut-down, maintenance, safe operation and part identification, would improve customer satisfaction and alleviate a lot of problems. However, KSD Enterprises was unsure of how to go about creating this document, so they contacted the West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership for input and assistance.
WVMEP consultants met with KSD Enterprises to look over the product and discuss possible solutions that would be cost effective and sensitive to time requirements while providing the required information to KSD customers in a logical manner that would be also be easy to use in a field environment. Once a format was agreed upon, WVMEP consultants worked with KSD employees to build a manual consisting of step-by-step instructions, with visuals added at each step. Additionally, a section was added for critical wear parts that either fail or need replacement on a routine basis. This section consists of a picture of the component installed on the methane exhauster as well as a picture of the component off the unit so KSD Enterprises technicians and customers could easily talk about the parts and solve most problems by phone.
The impacts of this project include:
- A completed manual for one model of the methane exhauster with ongoing development of a manual for the next model in the product line
- The manuals help KSD Enterprises technicians when working with customers and also provide customers with a wealth of information regarding their unit that was previously unavailable to them
- WVMEP has saved KSD approximately $10,000 vs. using a private marketing firm to develop this documentation
- By using WVMEP to create these manuals, KSD management has been able to focus an additional 40-50 hours on other value added projects
"My partner, Gary Disbennett, and I have been very impressed with the professionalism,
understanding, and productive work done by the WVMEP. Thanks to their efforts,
we have been able to realize savings in cost and time, neither of which would have
been possible had we tackled this on our own. We look forward to continuing our
working relationship with the WVMEP."
— Jake Rockwell, owner, KSD Enterprises
Figaretti Manufacturing and Distribution is a West Virginia-based, family-owned business, with roots dating back to the 1940s, when Anna and Guiseppe Figaretti, along with their five sons, began packaging and selling their spaghetti sauce to local grocery stores. Today, Tony Figaretti carries on this family tradition, producing his great grandmother's sauce, which has found its way onto the shelves of produce, gourmet, and specialty shops in West Virginia and Ohio.
Figaretti Manufacturing and Distribution had secured a deal that will provide product across all Kroger grocery stores, putting their product in more than 30 states, with more growth potential on the horizon. Around the same time as this deal with Kroger was signed, a nearby vacant building, previously used for food production, was made available to the company. A combined result of the increased business and new facility presented Figaretti Manufacturing and Distribution with the opportunity to move to a much larger facility, providing ample room for growth and expansion.
Figaretti Manufacturing and Distribution requested the help of West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership to understand how both the existing operation would fit into the new space, as well as a planned expansion, to include new equipment and increased capacity. WVMEP first created drawings for both the existing and new facility to understand how the process would be laid out. Next, process maps were developed to understand the existing processes and how they would be affected by the addition of automation and increased business. The process maps were then analyzed to identify how the existing process would fit into the new space and how that would be affected as increased business and new equipment was added. Once this was done, the proposed layouts were presented to Figaretti Manufacturing and Distribution for discussion. A meeting was held at the new facility to discuss the layouts and walk the floor of the new space to understand how the existing process would fit, and where adjustments would be made for the additional equipment and capacity. At the end of the project, a final set of drawings and process maps outlining the future for Figaretti Manufacturing and Distribution were delivered.
As a result of the expansion:
- The production area will more than triple in size from 685 square feet at the existing facility up to 3,100 square feet at the new facility
- Annual sales will double, from $300,000 to $600,000
- 10 new jobs will be added
- Process maps provide the necessary data to continually improve the process
- Layouts of the facility allow for analysis and discussion of any future growth
"Due to the invaluable support from WVMEP, my business has the 'blueprints' to expand
its market share. Dave Carrick has provided me with layouts of equipment, product
movement, and services of which this business could never have secured without
the assistance of this program. His dedication to his clients, thoroughness of
details, and his personality are assets any business can find beneficial. He truly
is a business professional."
— Anthony F. Figaretti, president