Pictured are (L-R) Steve Gibson, Caterpillar; Martin Lakes, president, MAG Advanced Technologies; Dan Janka, president, MAG Global; and David Newman, Caterpillar. Source: MAG Industrial Automation Systems

FOND DU LAC, WI-MAG Industrial Automation Systems, a machine tool and systems company, has received the Caterpillar Inc. Supplier Quality Excellence Process Certification (SQEP), an award presented to suppliers that demonstrate strong values and ethical principles and a commitment to Caterpillar's objective to implement a culture for zero-defects among its supply base.

The quality certification program follows Caterpillar's internal MQ11006 standard that includes ISO 9001: 2000 registration, and requires suppliers to have a Six Sigma program in place and improvement projects in progress. MAG's Fond du Lac, WI, plant, currently on its eighth wave of projects, supplies machining centers, boring mills, vertical turning centers, tooling and maintenance services to Caterpillar plants around the world.

As part of a commitment to best practices, MAG has invested heavily in Six Sigma at all of their plants. The MAG Fond du Lac plant was initially invited by Caterpillar to participate in its Six Sigma program in 2002. All MAG employees receive Six Sigma training, and the company currently has eight Black Belts and 115 Green Belts. Through a series of Six Sigma and lean projects, the company worked to develop modular designs that would allow it to build products more quickly while still allowing for the customization that buyers sought.

The company worked to reduce the number of parts required to build its products, standardize certain parts and improve material presentation and flow. As a result, lead times on some MAG products have been reduced from 12 to 18 months down to five months. Since 2002 the company has documented more than $9 million in savings from its Six Sigma projects.