Ryerson Tull needed to transition its ISO process from a paper-based method to an online method that would automate and integrate its quality management system and allow the company to transition to the revised ISO standard.

Ryerson Tull, a leading distributor and processor of metals, needed to transition its ISO process from a paper-based method to an online method that would automate and integrate its quality management system and allow the company to transition to the revised ISO standard.

With more than 30 ISO-certified facilities throughout the United States, the company was using a paper-based quality management system (QMS) that was cumbersome to manage and administer, and provided no visibility from a corporate perspective throughout the entire company.

“We realized we had to implement the technology that would streamline our processes,” says Frieda Sarji, corporate ISO manager. “As the corporate ISO manager, I was assigned the task of selecting a system that could fulfill the needs of the company, which meant a reputable, user friendly, fully integrated, Web-based system.”

The company chose an ISO system from Vintara (Oakland, CA). “We found an application that has delivered one consistent quality system that involves the entire company in the process,” says Sarji. “The ease of documentation changes facilitates implementation of continuous improvement across all departments of our company.”


Ryerson Tull came to Vintara with the challenge of converting its existing paper-based documents to an online format. In addition, the software had to consolidate multiple quality systems, establish an integrated enterprisewide quality management system and complete the transition from ISO 9002:1994 to the ISO 9001:2000 standard by December 2003. The company’s Carnegie, PA, facility was chosen as the pilot site.

Vintara and Ryerson Tull took the facility’s paper documentation and incorporated it into a paperless management system within 30 days.

Cindy Boling, quality assurance representative in Carnegie, found the ease of conversion to Vintara put everything at her fingertips and the reduced the manual day-to-day tasks associated with managing the QMS. Over an 18 month period, Ryerson’s implementation of the Vintara application has expanded in stages, to include 35 locations and hundreds of users. In addition to the application, Vintara provided onsite user training for 12 location managers, ensuring each was able to fully administer and manage the application.

The transition to Vintara’s Web-based application provides Ryerson Tull with a fully automated QMS, featuring centralized management, real-time access and an effortless transition to ISO 9001:2000 by the December deadline. The largest benefit of the Vintara application, according to Ryerson Tull’s director of corporate quality, Jerry Smith, is “our ability to effectively manage the quality process across the entire enterprise by using a system that provides complete visibility to every aspect of our quality function, regardless of activity or location.”

Using the Vintara application, Ryerson Tull has been able to eliminate the cost-related and administrative burdens of maintaining a paper-based quality management system. “Prior to implementing the Vintara application, our quality documentation was managed by three people, now it can be managed by one. Additionally, the time to complete revision, review, approval and distribution of documentation has gone from weeks to hours. Document management is now a simple process and internal communication is fully automated, ensuring that quality is a way of doing business at Ryerson Tull, not just a function,” explains Smith.

The integration of the Vintara application as the basis for franchising Ryerson Tull’s key business process of quality has seen the company realize a range of significant benefits. “Over the past 18 months, since implementing the Vintara solution, we have seen improvements and benefits across a range of key performance areas. The Vintara application allowed us to consolidate our multiple quality systems into one and to streamline our efforts,” says Smith.

This allows Ryerson Tull to consolidate multiple ISO certifications and reduce their annual ISO certifications expense. After implementing the application, the company streamlined its internal audit processes and drastically reduced the number of auditor days, all of which has resulted in annual savings from reduced administrative and operating costs by more than $600,000.

An additional benefit of the Vintara system was realized when Ryerson Tull pursued certification of its Devens, MA, service center. From the time management made the decision, it took five months to implement and successfully achieve certification.

Vintara Inc.

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1. By using Vintara’s Web-based application, Ryerson realized annual personnel-related cost savings of more than $400,000 through the consolidation of staffing resources.

2. Audit costs were reduced from $165,000 per year to less than $15,000.

3. Ryerson Tull achieved total annual cost savings in excess of $600,000. This is a cost savings the company predicts will at least double in 2003.