In our previous blog, we reviewed what Nadcap is, its benefits and challenges, and why it’s important. Today, we explore the lessons we learned on our journey to becoming certified.
To become Nadcap accredited, you must start with understanding the requirements, and taking a tremendous amount of preparation to achieve them. You’ll need to pass a strict audit performed by an auditor who is an expert in your field. They will be eager to scrutinize your processes, your facility and its equipment, your operations and much more. Is everything properly calibrated? It better be! Right down to the watch on your wrist or phone and clock on the wall. To maintain accreditation, you’ll need to continue passing these increasingly challenging audits, held at regular intervals.
When AEP was initially audited for Nadcap certification, we were a bit, shall we say, overconfident. We had been through so many site visits by national and global manufacturers, we felt prepared, and thought we knew what to expect.
Turns out, we didn’t.
We were caught off guard by the precision and granularity of their audit. As stated above, they really did check all the clocks and watches for calibration if anyone referenced it to control their process. Who would have thought about that previously? It was an eye-opening experience that challenged us to rethink all the details of our production processes.
That Was Then, This Is Now…
Today, it’s an entirely different story. We now live and breathe Nadcap. Our processes and culture have completely shifted. This was possible since we understood that Nadcap represented a serious commitment – one that stems from the top and extends down to every single employee. As proof of our dedication, we employ a full-time Quality Engineer who is responsible for managing and maintaining Nadcap certification-level standards. We also conduct self-audits twice a year and use a certified Nadcap consultant. We no longer make assumptions about readiness. We constantly evaluate every step of our processes, no matter how large or small.
To Be Successful, Everyone Must Be Onboard
For companies looking to implement Nadcap, as mentioned earlier, dedication must start from the top of the organization. They must be passionate about the mission so they can supply managers with the resources to earn and maintain accreditation. The investment levels can get serious. For instance, calibration is not cheap. Training is not cheap. Then you need buy-in from the factory floor. They must understand how it benefits them as well – that when the company succeeds, so do they.
As a result of implementing Nadcap, our team members come to work and want to do the best job that they can. When they see that management is supporting them with training, equipment and support – they rise to the occasion.
To put it simply: Nadcap is much more than an accreditation — it’s a way of life.