Much like it takes the commitment and dedication of an entire team to win the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals or Stanley Cup, it takes the same tireless effort throughout a company to achieve quality.

The mantra is changing from senior management must buy into quality to everyone must buy in to the quality program. Teamwork is prevalent at the top five companies in this year’s Quality Leadership 100-Quality Bolt & Screw Co., Wieland Designs, HCC Inc., Thule Inc. and Paulo Products Co. As a matter of fact, HCC Inc.’s motto is “excellence through teamwork.”

Much like it takes the commitment and dedication of an entire team to win the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals or Stanley Cup, it takes the same tireless effort throughout a company to achieve quality.

The mantra is changing from senior management must buy into quality to everyone must buy in to the quality program. Teamwork is prevalent at the top five companies in this year’s Quality Leadership 100-Quality Bolt & Screw Co., Wieland Designs, HCC Inc., Thule Inc. and Paulo Products Co. As a matter of fact, HCC Inc.’s motto is “excellence through teamwork.”

One key aspect of teamwork is ongoing training. Most survey respondents indicate that, on average, employees receive between one to four hours of training in quality per month, but a growing number of companies offer 10 or more hours of quality training per month.

Quality programs that employees take part in to improve the manufacturing process include continuous improvement, internal quality programs, lean manufacturing, preventive maintenance, problem solving, Kaizen and Six Sigma.

The majority of respondents indicated that their companies are registered to a quality system. The most cited standards include ISO 9001: 2000, ISO 13485, ISO 14000, ISO/TS 16949 and ISO 17025.

Source: Quality Bolt & Screw

1. Quality Bolt & Screw Co.

Brecksville, OH

Founded in 1958, Quality Bolt & Screw Co. characterizes itself as a manufacturer of highly engineered specialty fasteners, with customized stocking and on-time delivery options. According to its mission statement, “Through continuous improvement, Quality Bolt & Screw Co. is committed to being a premier manufacturer of cold-headed specialty fasteners. In doing so, we achieve our primary goal of total customer satisfaction.”

As an ISO 9001: 2000 certified manufacturer with continuous registration since January 2000, Quality Bolt & Screw maintains detailed lot traceability through integrated shop floor, data collection and real-time statistical process control using software, thereby ensuring Fastener Quality Act conformance. Process monitoring occurs through integrated workcenter stations, allowing analysis at all levels. Individualized quality reporting and monitoring can be arranged to meet any requirements. The company’s director of quality is lean manufacturing and Six Sigma Black Belt certified.

With an average of more than 25 years experience each, the staff of tooling specialists gives the company complete in-house design and production capability, allowing immediate tooling manufacture and repair. Equipped with 3-D modeling capability, the company can quickly and precisely fabricate the tools necessary for orders.

Standard products include square and hex head bolts, hex head cap screws, carriage bolts, lag screws, set screws, studs, clevis pins and rivets.

Special fasteners designed to customer specifications include industrial chain pins and rivets-drilled, shoulder bolts, knurled shoulder bolts, weld screws, staking bolts, interference fit studs, flange bolts, leveling screws, knurled studs, handle screws and wheel bolts caliper pins-drilled and tapped.

For more information, visit

Source: Wieland Designs Inc.

2. Wieland Designs Inc.

Goshen, IN

Wieland Designs Inc., founded in 1976, consists of designers, engineers, supply managers and manufacturers of furniture, seating assemblies and components. The company offers commercial and healthcare furniture, automotive and airline interiors, as well as specialty trim applications.

“We just don’t manufacture one thing. Wieland manufactures well over 100 different product lines with millions of combinations. We need to have a relatively sophisticated system,” says Mike Geoppinger, Wieland’s vice president of sales. The company’s manufacturing leadership team manages a production force of about 170 people, and employs comprehensive, waste-eliminating manufacturing disciplines. “Our production system here is based on the infamous Toyota Production System,” says Geoppinger. “We’ve modified that to the Wieland Production System.” With ISO 9000 quality systems and the Wieland Production System manufacturing approach, the company can manufacture multisized programs from 500 units per year to 15,000 units plus per year.

Wieland began using this type of production system about nine years ago. “We had quality processes before, but not to the extent of our Wieland Production System and ISO certification,” Geoppinger says. The company now uses structured manufacturing cells, each with specific work instructions, which allows it to produce lower-volume and higher variability products. Rick Copenhaver, director of continuous improvement, says, “It’s enhanced our ability to respond to the customer. With that cell system, it’s just a more flexible manufacturing system.”

Wieland’s goal is to match its clients’ quality systems-whether it be Six Sigma, lean or another program-with its production system, and the company aims for active client involvement throughout.

“We are relatively sophisticated, especially for a smaller company,” Geoppinger says. “In the plant, everything is wireless. We can reconfigure cells to accommodate production.”

The company has no paper documents on the floor, which allows it to better control clients’ changes. These electronic documentation processes provide a real edge for the company, Geoppinger says.

The company also sets goals for continuous improvement on a six-month basis, allowing employees to aim for these goals and then adjust for the next six months.

“People are really committed to this,” Geoppinger says. “It’s not just senior management. It’s the people on the floor. It’s a great team here at Wieland.”

Copenhaver agrees. “All of those things are successful because of the team that we have,” he says. “With all of these systems, it’s the team that makes it happen.”

The company regularly has continuous improvement and Kaizen events, often with clients. It constantly solicits feedback because both companies are driving toward the same goal. Working together helps drive down costs for both companies, but Geoppinger says it has another advantage: “It’s kind of fun to do, too.”

To learn more, visit

Source: HCC Inc.

3. HCC Inc.

Mendota, IL

HCC Inc. has been “harvesting innovation” for more than 100 years. Since 1883, the company has been producing agricultural harvesting equipment and farm equipment products, with the invention of the first commercial grain weigher, the H.D. Hume pickup reel, and the floating cutter bar.

From its early days of Hart-Carter products, the company, which began with the vision of a Midwest farmer and a storekeeper, has followed the marketplace to ensure that every product improves productivity for harvesters.

Today HCC manufactures agricultural harvesting equipment such as reels, sieves, chaffers and other products for combines, and supplies them to original farm equipment manufacturers for almost every make and model of combine. The company works closely with these manufacturers to match its products with combine specifications and capacities. In fact, the company’s Hart-Carter product line of reels, sieves and chaffers are standard equipment on virtually all combines manufactured in the United States. Major customers include John Deere and CNH.

“Everybody in the ag industry buys something from us,” says Babu Patel, HCC’s director of quality, now in his 11th year with HCC. Over the past decade, Patel has seen considerable changes at the company. “When I came in, we did not have a formal quality program,” Patel says. His first assignment was to work on ISO 9000 certification, and the company was certified in 1998. Since then, he also has seen many quality problems reduced, from scrap and rework to warranty issues.

The company also offers contract manufacturing. Manufacturing capabilities include blanking-lasers, forming-press brakes, drilling, welding, painting, assembly and engineering, including on-site design and manufacturing engineering.

The profitable company is now ISO 9001: 2000 certified, and continually aims for “excellence through teamwork.”

To learn more about HCC Inc., visit

Source: Thule Inc.

4. Thule Inc.

Seymour, CT

Thule Inc. is known worldwide for manufacturing automobile load carriers such as rooftop boxes, roof rails and bike carriers, as well as snow chains, trailers, towing systems and accessories used for motor homes. As a leader in sports utility transportation, Thule delivers transportation solutions for active families, professionals and outdoor enthusiasts who want to transport their equipment safely, easily and in style. Thule AB is headquartered in Malmö, Sweden, while its U.S. wholly owned subsidiary, Thule Inc., is based in Seymour, CT.

An ISO 9001: 2000 registered company, Thule Inc. has made quality an integral part of its business. In fact, its quality policy statement articulates this commitment to its customers: “It is our policy to provide the highest quality products and service in support of the individual and collective needs of our customers. By measuring the performance of our business processes, we strive to meet and exceed our quality objectives and to be better today than we were yesterday.”

Thule monitors quality from the initial stages of product development through the sale and use of its products. By being proactive with quality assurances in the early stages of product development, the company is able to deliver a product that satisfies or exceeds the expectations of its customers. Products must withstand rigorous testing before going to market, which allows Thule to offer a limited lifetime warranty.

Outdoor enthusiasts are very demanding of their products and expect the best from companies that produce transport equipment. For Thule, the quality experience does not end at the trailhead. The company constantly monitors metrics such as on-time shipping, customer service response times and speed of new product development.

By continually fulfilling its customers’ needs, Thule has become a market leader with pro forma sales-including the recent acquisition of Brink, Valley and SportRack-in excess of $710 million, with the company’s North American divisions contributing $200 million. Thule employs approximately 3,700 people at 30 production and sales locations in all major automobile markets in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

For more information, visit

Source: Paulo Products Co.

5. Paulo Products Co.

St. Louis, MO

Paulo Products Co., with five plants operating in three states, delivers engineered heat treating, brazing and metal finishing solutions to a range of customers in the automotive, aerospace and commercial industries. The culture is driven by its small family roots. President Ben Rassieur III and Executive Vice President Terry Rassieur continue to lead the business their grandparents created in 1943. Paulo takes a conservative approach to growth and is committed to maintaining a strong business.

Paulo’s overall strategy is to address quality, service and productivity. The quality portion focuses on consistent delivery and less variation. Productivity is enhanced using its information system capabilities. “We are very information oriented,” says Ben Rassieur. “Based on our methodology, we developed our production information client-server system (PICS), which tracks the development process, production and analysis of production.” PICS tracks every order from receipt, through processing, inspection, shipment and billing.

“You can build engineering models with certain time and process parameters,” Ben says. From these models, Paulo develops process controls that are real time. These controls reduce part variation to requirements, through automatic adjustments to process parameters.

“Cross-functional teams are assigned around certain processes,” Ben says. “Everyone is involved. Depending on the project, we will vary the people working on the team to best fit the goal. We draw from practical experience, not just one method.”

One of Paulo’s business and quality objectives is, “Always be willing and ready to learn new ways to do the job.” This is promoted through its leadership skills training-designed around the essential skills necessary to continuously improve service, production and quality standards. Organized problem solving, for example, is stressed at all levels of the organization, and best practices are documented and shared with all Paulo plants.

Important trends, such as the movement of manufacturing to low-cost areas, are measured in the long term. “This creates supply chain issues due to long transportation times, especially from overseas,” Ben notes. This creates the need for Paulo to run smaller lot sizes more efficiently for its customers. The company also measures long-term plant performance trends in the areas of quality and service.

For more information, visit

Quality Leadership 100 • 2007

1. Quality Bolt & Screw Co.

Brecksville, OH

2. Wieland Designs

Goshen, IN

3. HCC Inc.

Mendota, IL

4. Thule Inc.

Seymour, CT

5. Paulo Products Co.

St. Louis, MO

6. Vibro/Dynamics Corp.

Broadview, IL

7. Precision Pattern Inc.

Wichita, KS

8. Portec Flomaster

Canon City, CO

9. Bollinger Shipyards

Lockport, LA

10. EI Microcircuits

Mankato, MN

11. Falmat Inc.

San Marcos, CA

12. Milcom Systems Corp.

Virginia Beach, VA

13. Wolf Appliance Co. LLC

Madison, WI

14. Cook Group Medical

Bloomington, IN

15. Elkhart Products Corp.

Elkhart, IN

16. Hobart Welding Products

Troy, OH

17. Lufkin Industries

Lufkin, TX

18. PBR Knoxville

Knoxville, TN

19. TRW Automotive

Livonia, MI

20. Tyco Valves & Controls

Stafford, TX

21. Welfab Inc.

North Billerica, MA

22. Beckett Bronze Co. Inc.

Muncie, IN

23. Emhart Teknologies, Automotive Div.

Mt. Clemens, MI

24. Lockheed Martin Corp.

Bethesda, MD

25. Panduit

Tinley Park, IL

26. Ingersoll Rand

Montvale, NJ

27. Delphi Electronics & Safety

Kokomo, IN

28. Nascote Industries Inc.

Nashville, TN

29. Leupold & Stevens Inc.

Beaverton, OR

30. Custom Tool & Mfg.

Lawrenceburg, KY

31. Electro Prime Group LLC

Toledo, OH

32. Worthington Precision Metals

Mentor, OH

33. Scotsman Ice Systems

Vernon Hills, IL

34. BSI-Balance Systems

Statesville, NC

35. DaimlerChrysler

Auburn Hills, MI

36. Dixon Automatic Tool

Rockford, IL

37. GE Aviation

Cincinnati, OH

38. Plexus Corp.

Neenah, WI

39. Red Lion Controls

York, PA

40. Tosoh SMD Inc.

Grove City, OH

41. Magna Tool Inc.

Cypress, CA

42. Hasbro Global Operations ELM Site

East Longmeadow, MA

43. Thomas Built Buses

High Point, NC

44. Aydin Displays Inc.

Birdsboro, PA

45. Taber Bushnell, a Lake Air Co.

Minneapolis, MN

46. Champion Aerospace

Liberty, SC

47. Johnson Controls Inc.

Milwaukee, WI

48. Bendix

Troy, MI

49. Fuel Systems Inc.

Brookfield, WI

50. Arrow Engine Co.

Tulsa, OK

51. Intercomp Co.

Minneapolis, MN

52. Civco Medical Instruments

Kalona, IA

53. Lear Corp.

Southfield, MI

54. Advanced Transit Manufacturing Inc.

Canisteo, NY

55. The Gund Co.

St. Louis, MO

56. Whirlpool Corp.

Benton Harbor, MI

57. Ametek

Paoli, PA

58. Mold-Rite Plastics Inc.

Plattsburgh, NY

59. GE Fanuc Embedded Systems

Albuquerque, NM

60. Intel-Massachusetts

Hudson, MA

61. International Rectifier

El Segundo, CA

62. Manitowoc Co.

Manitowoc, WI

63. Eaton Corp.

Cleveland, OH

64. Seats Inc.

Reedsburg, WI

65. Linemaster Switch Corp.

Woodstock, CT

66. PTA Corp.

Oxford, CT

67. Moen Inc.

North Olmsted, OH

68. Dart Controls Inc.

Zionsville, IN

69. Bridon American Corp.

Wilkes Barre, PA

70. Danfoss Flomatic Corp.

Glens Fall, NY

71. Dynamic Air Engineering Inc.

Santa Ana, CA

72. Mueller Co.

Decatur, IL

73. Organ Recovery Systems

Des Plaines, IL

74. Planet Products

Cincinnati, OH

75. Rohm and Haas Co.

Philadelphia, PA

76. Teledyne Monitor Labs

Englewood, CO

77. TNCO Inc.

Whitman, MA

78. Zumtobel Lighting Inc.

Highland, NY

79. Cruisers Yachts

Oconto, WI

80. Ferro Magnetics Corp.

Bridgeton, MO

81. S.P. Kinney Engineers Inc.

Carnegie, PA

82. Advanced Instrument Development Inc.

Melrose Park, IL

83. General Dynamics

Falls Church, VA

84. Molex Fiber Optics

Lisle, IL

85. Textron Systems-Wilmington

Wilmington, MA

86. Dura Automotive Systems Inc.

Rochester Hills, MI

87. Affinia Brake Parts

McHenry, IL

88. Harris Corp.

Melbourne, FL

89. Vocollect Inc.

Pittsburgh, PA

90. Black and Decker Corp.

Towson, MD

91. Homogeneous Metals Inc.

Clayville, NY

92. Osborne Industries Inc.

Osborne, KS

93. Tri Map International Inc.

Stockton, CA

94. Northrop Grumman

Los Angeles, CA

95. U.S. Steel Corp.

Pittsburgh, PA

96. Seals Eastern Inc.

Red Bank, NJ

97. Esterline Hytek Finishes Co.

Kent, WA

98. Exide Technologies

Alpharetta, GA

99. Bowe Bell + Howell

Wheeling, IL

100. Lennox International

Richardson, TX

Survey Criteria

More than 800 manufacturers participating in the Quality Leadership 100 were surveyed on criteria such as scrap and rework as a percentage of sales, warranty costs as a percentage of sales, rejected parts per million shipped and contribution of quality to profitability and shareholder value.

Companies also were evaluated based on the number of quality programs in place; registration to various standards; percentage of employees dedicated to quality responsibilities; average number of hours monthly that employees receive quality training; and the role quality professionals play in the acquisition of test, measurement and inspection tools, software and services.