Source: Honeywell International Inc.

This year’s Quality Leadership 100 companies are a great representation of manufacturing as a whole-covering small, privately owned companies to large multi-location manufacturers. Though the companies vary on many levels, from manufactured products, to business practices and processes, to number of employees, quality is a key focus for all of them.

This year’s number one company, Nuclear Filter Technology, or NucFil, controls quality with a tight leash. As a DOE supplier, NucFil must keep a strong emphasis on material traceability and all its processes.

American IV Products Inc., this year’s second ranked company, prides itself on training-giving its 50 or so employees opportunities for both onsite and offsite training.

Size aside, the backing of upper management and the enthusiasm of employees really play a role in making these companies demonstrated leaders in the quality field.

Congratulations to all of the companies-and their employees-listed in the 2009 Quality Leadership 100.

Editor’s Note: Listen to audio interviews with management from the top two Quality Leadership 100 companies on Q-Cast Podcasts at

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 received quality training; and the role quality professionals play in the acquisition of test, measurement and inspection tools, software and services.

NucFil provides ventilation for flammable gas mixtures in nuclear waste containers. Source: Nuclear Filter Technology

1. Nuclear Filter Technology

Nuclear Filter Technology (NucFil, Golden, CO)) was founded more than 20 years ago. Today, the manufacturing company provides packaging, shielding and characterization technologies for ventilation, storage, transportation and disposal of radioactive and mixed waste.

“We are a provider of vents for the department of energy for nuclear waste containers. Also, we provide nuclear containment devices for a lot of the DOE sites across the country,” Curtis Marks, quality control manager at NucFil, explains. In addition, Marks says, NucFil is currently trying to move into the nuclear energy field, working with private companies in the United States.

The company is an approved supplier to many DOE facilities, including Argonne National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.

NucFil, a small company of less than 40 employees, prides itself on being ANSI/ASME Nuclear Quality Assurance-1 (NQA-1) compliant. The company’s quality program, which consists of three team members currently, gets audited half a dozen times a year to ensure compliance-something NucFil has achieved for close to the past 15 years, according to Marks. As part of that compliance, the manufacturer keeps strict control of material traceability and all of its processes.

Such compliance remains a large focus at NucFil. “We do lots of sampling of inline products. We also do material traceability of just about everything we bring in as far as raw materials; we do third-party testing of it to maintain the quality of the raw stock that we receive,” Marks says.

In addition, employees are qualified and compliant with ASNT TC-1A training for any nondestructive examinations performed at the plant. Training is a priority at the company and all training records are kept up to date, according to Marks.

For more information, visit

AIV manufactures fetal monitoring transducers, in addition to other patient monitoring accessories and infusion pumps for the medical industry. Source: American IV Products Inc.

2. American IV Products Inc.

American IV Products Inc. (AIV, Harman, MD) was founded in the 1980s, says Bob Rogers, director of operations and quality assurance at the company. Initially, AIV made a name for itself supporting medical facilities by refurbishing and reselling kidney dialysis machines.

In 2003, AIV branched into the world market with its first repair service sales in Europe. Today, AIV provides patient care solutions to the global medical community in more than 30 countries by offering replacement parts and patient monitoring accessories, including cardiac monitors and fetal monitor transducers, ECG cables and temperature probes, and medical device repair services.

AIV places an emphasis on one of its mottos: Focusing on supporting medical facilities around the world with engineered and manufactured replacement parts, accessories and specialized repair services. The company aims to reduce total cost of ownership of patient care equipment by offering its customers cost-effective alternatives to replace original equipment manufacturers’ accessories.

The company has been ISO 9001: 2000 certified since March 2004. That same year, AIV registered to ISO 13485-the international standard for medical device manufacturers and the highest level of ISO recognition for medical device manufacturers. AIV also is registered with the Food and Drug Administration as a medical device manufacturer.

With just less than 50 employees and four dedicated quality team members, AIV puts its focus on the details, according to Rogers.

“It comes down to our attention to detail. We’re not afraid to spend the money to put the proper systems in place, because we know it’s going to pay for itself in the long run. Our customers know that if they get something from us, it’s going to last and they’re not going to have to turn around and send it back to us. I think that speaks volumes,” Rogers says.

That attention to detail comes from a belief in the importance of employee training, which includes off-site ASQ training and on-site training throughout the year.

For more information, visit

Pfizer is the world’s largest research-based biomedical and pharmaceutical company. Source: Pfizer

3. Pfizer

From its modest beginnings in 1849, when cousins Charles Pfizer and Charles Erhart founded Charles Pfizer & Co. in a red brick building in Brooklyn, NY, Pfizer (Chesterfield, MO) has grown into a household name as the world’s largest research-based biomedical and pharmaceutical company. Corporate headquarters are in New York, with major research and development locations in the United States and England, including Groton and New London, CT; La Jolla, CA; St. Louis; Cambridge, MA; South San Francisco, CA; and Sandwich, England.

In 2007, Pfizer earned $48.4 billion in revenue and invested $8.1 billion in research and development, according to the company’s Web site. When addressing medicine, quality is paramount, and the company maintains the highest standards. Each day, approximately 85,000 colleagues in more than 150 countries work to discover, develop, manufacture and deliver quality, safe and effective prescription medicines to patients.

“To ensure that we deliver the value our patients and customers need and our shareholders deserve, we are focused on continually improving the way we do business; on operating with transparency in everything we do; and on listening to the views of all of the people involved in health care decisions,” says the company.

In late January, Pfizer and pharmaceutical company Wyeth (Madison, NJ) announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Pfizer will acquire Wyeth in a cash-and-stock transaction. The combined company will create one of the most diversified companies in the global health care industry, with product offerings in numerous growing therapeutic areas, a strong product pipeline and leading scientific and manufacturing capabilities, according to Pfizer’s Web site.

For more information, visit

Benchmark Electronics manufactures electronics and provides services to OEMs of telecommunication equipment, computers and related products for business enterprises, industrial control equipment, testing and instrumentation products and medical devices. Source: Benchmark Electronics Inc.

4. Benchmark Electronics Inc.

Integrity, flexibility and execution are the cornerstones of success for Benchmark Electronics Inc. (Angleton, TX). “More than just concepts, these fundamentals represent Benchmark’s commitment to customers, employees and shareholders to operate the kind of company they are proud to work with, work for and invest in for the long-term,” says the company, which offers comprehensive and integrated design and manufacturing services, from initial product design to volume production and direct order fulfillment.

Benchmark manufactures electronics and provides services to OEMs of telecommunication equipment, computers and related products for business enterprises, industrial control equipment, testing and instrumentation products and medical devices. These services are commonly referred to as electronics manufacturing services (EMS).

The company competes in the global marketplace, with 20 locations in 10 countries. It has locations in Asia, Europe and the Americas.

The Benchmark Angleton Division offers a full spectrum of EMS services from quick-turn prototyping through full-scale production and system integration, as well as aftermarket support through depot repair services. It was founded in 1986 as the first manufacturing facility for Benchmark Electronics Inc., and remains its corporate headquarters.

The company’s mission is to maintain a global leadership position in the high-technology electronics manufacturing services industry. Benchmark aims to accomplish this through world-class quality, flexible manufacturing, product delivery, leading-edge technology, financial strength and managerial integrity.

Benchmark’s mission has paid off. The company received the Emerson Marquee Supplier Award and the Fluke Outstanding Supplier Award for 2008, along with the 2007 Coherent Superior Performance Award, the Emerson Enterprise Excellence President’s Award, Emerson Enterprise Excellence Award for BEI Lean Implementation and the Tektronix Outstanding Performance Award.

For more information, visit

Crowe Manufacturing provides production machining and assembly services for original equipment manufacturers. Source: Crowe Manufacturing

5. Crowe Manufacturing

Crowe Manufacturing (Dayton, OH) provides production machining and assembly services for original equipment manufacturers. The company’s manufacturing capabilities include a range of HMC, VMC and TMC machining cells, abrasive water jet and specially designed production equipment for continuously producing low-tolerance parts.

The 38 employees at Crowe’s 175,000-square-foot facility currently produce safety critical parts, such as steering knuckle and brake hub assemblies, for Honda. The company also machines, assembles and tests pneumatic control valves used in the transportation and industrial equipment industries. In addition, it performs high-speed micromachining of medical parts, and has partnered with medical device manufacturers to produce complex part assemblies.

In January 2004, Crowe achieved ISO 9001 certification. “The goal was to achieve outstanding quality and delivery performance while reducing costs and becoming more competitive,” says Rob Haviland, vice president of operations at Crowe.

After the ISO system was implemented, Crowe was able to reduce internal defects by 80% and maintain 100% on-time delivery performance. Currently, the company is working on attaining certification to the environmental standard ISO 14001.

Crowe has done much to ensure excellence in manufacturing, including 5S, cellular concepts, one-piece flow, fixture poke-yoke, process and gage capability studies, and measurement and test equipment calibration.

Fixtures are equipped to use camera and laser detection to ensure features and components are installed correctly. Assembly presses monitor load to verify that correct fits are maintained. Fastener torque control is electronically monitored and verification data is collected.

“Our expectation is that our customers should never have to deal with poor quality,” Haviland says. “This enables our customers to be more efficient at what they do and helps build brand loyalty and reputation.”

A formal, documented training program provides employees with quality and skills training for specific job requirements. All employees are rated in the areas of safety, quality and job proficiency and regularly reviewed to determine if additional training is required.

Crowe has received many awards, including the City of Dayton Small Business of the Year; Delivery and Quality Performance Awards from Honda of America; Outstanding Quality Performance Award from IBM; and Entrepreneur of the Year from the state of Ohio. Most recently, Crowe received 2006 and 2007 Supplier Performance Awards from American Honda Motor Co.

For more information, visit

2009 Quality Leadership 100

1. Nuclear Filter Technology (NucFil)
Golden, CO

2. American IV Products Inc.
Harmans, MD

3. Pfizer
Chesterfield, MO

4. Benchmark Electronics Inc.
Angleton, TX

5. Crowe Manufacturing
Dayton, OH

6. Herndon Products Inc.
Maryland Heights, MO

7. Wallace Cranes
Malvern, PA

8. Unlimited Services
of Wisconsin Inc. Oconto, WI

9. Specialty Manufacturing Group Inc.
Murfreesboro, TN

10. U.S. Tsubaki Inc.
Wheeling, IL

11. 4D Technology Corp.
Tucson, AZ

12. Smeal Fire Apparatus Co.
Snyder, NE

13. Surface Guard Inc.
Aurora, IL

14. Utilimaster Corp.
Wakarusa, IN

15. John Deere & Co.
Waterloo, Iowa

16. OFI Testing Equipment Inc.
Houston, TX

17. Logan Diesel Inc.
Leslie, MI

18. K-Tek Corp.
Baldwin, WI

19. Sumitomo Electric Lightwave Corp.
Durham, NC

20. Phoenix International Corp.
Fargo, ND

21. Maytag Corp.
Benton Harbor, MI

22. Climax Metal Products Co.
Wickliffe, OH

23. Yokogawa Corp. of America
Newnan, GA

24. Medalist Laserfab Inc.
Oshkosh, WI

25. OceanAire Inc.
Morton Grove, IL

26. Elesys North America Inc.
Suwanee, GA

27. Kreider Corp.
Springfield, OH

28. Zebra Skimmers Corp.
Cleveland, OH

29. EnerSys
Hays, KS

30. HCC Inc.
Mendota, IL

31. Reading Truck Body LLC
Reading, PA

32. JTEKT Automotive
Morristown, TN

33. Sedco, Div. of Primore Inc.
Adrian, MI

34. Alcoa Inc.
Pittsburgh, PA

35. General Pump
Mendota Heights, MN

36. Carlisle SynTec Inc.
Carlisle, PA

37. Eaton Corp.
Shawnee, OK

38. Compressor Controls Corp.
Des Moines, IA

39. Detroit Chassis LLC
Detroit, MI

40. Advance Products and Systems Inc.
Scott, LA

41. American Ordnance LLC
Milan, TN

42. Horton Inc.
Britton, SD

43. Traulsen & Co. Inc.
Ft. Worth, TX

44. California Screw Products
Paramount, CA

45. Cummins Filtration Inc.
Arcadia, WI

46. Alfmeier Corp.
Greenville, SC

47. Parker Hannifin Corp.
Cleveland, OH

48. LDB Plastics Inc.
Shelby Township, MI

49. Phil-Good Products Inc.
Oklahoma City, OK

50. Seissenschmidt Corp. USA
Oscoda, MI

51. Manter Technologies Corp.
Marine City, MI

52. Acoust-A-Fiber
Delaware, OH

53. Advics Manufacturing Ohio Inc.
Lebanon, OH

54.Grand Haven Gasket Co.
Grand Haven, MI

55. Nyloncraft Inc.
Mishawaka, IN

56. Scully Jones Seibert Corp.
Chicago, IL

57. Linear Mold and Engineering
Livonia, MI

58. Automotive Components Holdings LLC
Monroe, MI

59. Eclipse Manufacturing Co.
Sheboygan, WI

60. Easley Custom Plastics Inc.
Easley, SC

61. BMP America Inc.
Medina, NY

62. Jabil Circuit Inc.
St. Petersburg, FL

63. Team Industries
Cambridge, MN

64. SMI Crankshaft LLC
Fostoria, OH

65. Faustson Tool Corp.
Arvada, CO

66. Wolverine Machine Products Co.
Holly, MI

67. Houck Machine Co. Inc.
Minneapolis, MN

68. Pelco Products Inc.
Edmond, OK

69. PGM Corp.
Rochester, NY

70. PHD Inc.
Fort Wayne, IN

71. Sanmina-SCI Corp.
Huntsville, AL

72. TRW Automotive
Livonia, MI

73. Bollinger Shipyards Inc.
Lockport, LA

74. Ward Manufacturing LLC
Blossburg, PA

75. Electropolishing Systems Inc.
Plymouth, MA

76. Firth Rixson Forged Metals
Fontana, CA

77. Walco Corp.
Glenshaw, PA

78. New Brunswick Scientific
Edison, NJ

79. Lear Corp.
Tampa, FL

80. Ark-Les Custom Products
New Berlin, WI

81. Berry Plastics Corp.
San Diego, CA

82. Winzeler Gear Inc.
Harwood Heights, IL

83. Elkhart Products Corp.
Elkhart, IN

84. Bel Power Inc.
Westborough, MA

85. Red Lion Controls
York, PA

86. MSK Precision Products Inc.
Tamarac, FL

87. Check-All Valve Manufacturing Co.
West Des Moines, IA

88. Advanced Instrument Development Inc.
Downers Grove, IL

89. Designs For Tomorrow Inc.
St. Louis, MO

90. Nordson Corp.
Norcross, GA

91. Goodrich Aircraft Interiors
Phoenix, AZ

92. Honeywell International
Morristown, NJ

93. Presrite Corp.
Cleveland, OH

94.Apollo Valves, Conbraco Industries Inc.
Matthews, NC

95. Cooper Power Systems
Waukesha, WI

96. Bimba Manufacturing Co.
Monee, IL

97. Sunrise Medical
Longmont, CO

98. Falcon Aerospace
Davie, FL

99. Pave Technology Co.
Dayton, OH

100. Ascension Technology Corp.
Milton, VT