It’s award season. Of course, for those in the movie business, there’s the Oscars at the end of the month, but for those in the quality profession, you can still earn some recognition in the pages of this magazine. From the Quality Leadership 100 to our Plant and Professional of the Year awards, the next three months feature some top companies and people. 

The Quality Leadership 100 recognizes dozens of top-performing plants for their dedication to quality. This year the top five companies were: DCX-CHOL Enterprises Teletronics division, Manitowoc, Top Tool Co., Dependable Stamping Company Inc., and C. Thorrez Industries. These companies were all committed to quality, whether they were a staff of 35, or a location with 400 people.

If you’re wondering how the results are tabulated, the analysis varies slightly from year to year. This year companies were evaluated on continuous improvement and internal quality programs in place; contribution of quality to profitability and shareholder value; average number of hours monthly that employees receive quality training; scrap and rework as a percentage of sales; warranty costs as a percentage of sales; and registration to various standards such as ISO 9001.

The BNP Media Market Research Department conducted the survey for Quality.

1. DCX-CHOL Enterprises
Teletronics division
Los Angeles, CA

DCX-CHOL products can be found everywhere, from sea to space. The company makes interconnect products for military and aerospace applications, as well as medical, commercial aviation, and mass transportation. And as you would expect from these industries, the company takes quality seriously. The DCX-CHOL Teletronics division is certified to AS9100 Rev.C and ISO 9001:2008, as well as ITAR registered.

According to the company website, “DCX-CHOL Enterprises will provide products and services that meet all requirements. We will assure customer satisfaction through continuous performance improvement. Our vision: to achieve and maintain a reputation for being a leading manufacturer of electrical, electronic and electro-mechanical interconnect systems, test sets and equipment. Our values: to pursue our work with integrity, excellence and continuous improvement.”

2. Manitowoc
Manitowoc, WI

Manitowoc was founded in 1902 as a shipbuilding company. Today, the company manufactures cranes and foodservice equipment, and has over 100 facilities in 24 countries. A company doesn’t reach its 113th birthday without focusing on customers and now this focus on customer satisfaction has intensified in the past five years. According to Jim MacIntyre, vice president of global quality systems at Manitowoc, the entire staff is working on this mission. As MacIntyre says, “The biggest factor for a focus on quality in a business is leadership.  The quality role in the company is to make sure that what the customer perceives as quality is built into our product designs and our manufacturing processes. How do you make sure this has been built in?”

“It’s easier to say than do,” he continues. “It’s understanding that you don’t have a single cost-benefit ratio. Essentially you have a star, providing the best safety, quality and reliability, performance, ease of use, and the ability to serve our customers when they need help, quickly and with the right answers.  This results in helping our customers achieve their return on investment.”

To get this ROI for customers, the company has used Lean and Six Sigma in its newly launched Manitowoc Operating System. MacIntyre says, “The secret to success is predicting good quality and delivering it.  This is what we are engaged in today. We still have much to learn, and our leadership is right there helping with hands-on effort and focused commitment.”

This approach has worked out well for the company. In 2013, the company introduced 52 new products, and had net sales of $4 billion, according to Manitowoc’s 2013 annual report. In addition, the sales per employee totaled $302,100 for that year, the second highest level in the company’s history.

3. Top Tool
Blaine, MN

If you are a longtime reader of QualityMagazine, you might recognize the name Top Tool. Top Tool Co. consistently manages to appear on our QualityLeadership 100 list, and in 2013, the company also was Quality’sPlant of the Year. Since then the company has continued to improve. In the last year, the company started an apprenticeship program and recently purchased some new capital equipment, including multiple new stamping press innovations that have received praise from both operators and customers. In addition, the company was also named a finalist in the 2014 Manufacturing Awards by Minnesota Business magazine.

Sales Manager Duane Kari says success at the company is a group effort. For other companies looking to improve, he suggested, “Put a plan in place, report the metrics and keep trying to improve it.” He also says learning from others who have already been there—such as consultants—can be helpful. In addition, Top Tool makes managing risk a priority and does training at all levels of the company.

“We’re excited about a lot of new projects in the works that have the potential to double our company, so there’s a lot going on,” Kari says. “We’re excited about what’s going to take place here at Top Tool tomorrow and in the future. “

4. Dependable Stamping Company
Euclid, OH


Dependable Stamping Company, a family-owned business, has been around since 1946. Today the company manufactures parts for industries from aerospace to appliances, trucking to telecommunications. Curt Gasser, the quality manager, came to the company several years ago with almost twenty years of experience in aerospace parts, so he understands the need for tight tolerances. To achieve these tolerances, the quality program relies on in-process inspections, which saves time during final inspections. “I’m of the mindset that if you have the time to fix the part after it’s done, why not fix it in the beginning?” Gasser says.

In addition, the company became ISO 9001:2008 certified in July, and has landed several new accounts because of that.  “If you follow the ISO standards it’s definitely going to bring your quality way up,” Gasser says. He also tries to incorporate lean manufacturing into the company’s processes. Some of their work involves using tooling from customers that is up to 70 years old—older than the company itself—and this ability to do things that other companies can’t has helped them gain customers. But of course, the processes all depend on people, and to that end, Dependable Stamping has tried to keep employees motivated with reward programs and attendance bonuses. As he says, “I truly believe that somebody who feels good about what they’re doing does it 10 times better than somebody who doesn’t.”

5. C. Thorrez Industries
Jackson, MI

C Thorrez Industries produces precision machined parts, and exports more than a third of what they produce to companies in Asia. Though the company had been exporting for five years on a consistent basis, President Mick Thorrez says the volume has grown substantially in the last two years, and sales basically doubled in that two year period. He attributes this to customers recognizing the quality of parts and the volumes available.

The company, which is registered to ISO/TS 16949 and ISO 14001, has been around since 1919. Thorrez is a third generation, and the company has fourth generation involved too. “We’re there six, seven days a week,” Thorrez says. “We’re all heading in the same direction. It takes a lot of hard work.”

Besides the hard work, another reason for their success has been the feedback given. The company shares the goals, profits from the day before, and sales objectives. They have end of the month goals, as well as on a per-day basis. They will also give employees feedback on the activities of the day before. And the company then shares its success with employees, with bonuses and higher wages.

Today the company primarily serves the transportation industry, including both automotive and heavy-duty truck. But in the past, they have worked with office furniture, appliances, and recreational camping products. During his grandfather’s reign, the company made bullets for World War II.

“It’s just an evolution,” Thorrez says. “You have to be flexible in finding new customers and solving the needs they have out there. I can’t wait to find our next new customers. There are new customers every time you look.”

Rank             Company              Location                WEBSITE


1              DCX-CHOL Enterprizes, Teletronics Division   Los Angeles, CA

2              Manitowoc        Cleveland, OH

3              Top Tool Co.      Blaine, MN    

4              Dependable Stamping Company, Inc.     Euclid, OH

5              C. Thorrez Industries         Jackson, MI

6              Selco Products           Reno, NV

7              Sea Air Space Machining & Molding           Solon, OH

8              Winona PVD          Warsaw, IN

9              Littlestown Foundry, Inc.           Littlestown, PA

10           iCONN Systems           Lombard, IL

11           Gooch and Housego          Highland Heights, OH

12           Industrial Tool Die & Engineering     Tucson, AZ

13           Abbott Laboratories        Abbott Park, IL

14           Metal Technologies, Inc.    Ravenna, MI

15           Plexus Corporation           Neenau, WI

16           Clinkenbeard, an M2M Group Company           Rockford, IL 

17           Wireless Technology, Inc.    Ventura, CA

18           Honeywell Aerospace         Tempe, AZ

19           Ford Motor Company          Livonia, MI

20           Alcon        Houston, TX 

21           NASA AFRC           Edwards AFB, CA               

22           Philips PLS-NA           Fall River, MA

23           Twin City Fan Industies       Minneapolis, MN 

24           Elixir Industries        Douglas, GA

25           Applus RTD                 Manchester, CT 

26           Proven Process Medical Devices      Mansfield, MA

27           Columbia Precision Machine Corp.          Burnsville, MN

28           Kreis Tool        Elgin, IL 

29           Bosch Tool Corporation       Chicago, IL

30           Med-Logics, Inc.      Athens, TX 

31           Capsonic Group, LLC           Elgin, IL  

32           Plas-Pak Industries, Inc.            Norwich, CT

33           Machine Service, Inc.        Green Bay, WI 

34           Radoil, Inc.          Houston, TX

35           Hans Rudolph, Inc.          Shawnee, KS

36           Tecnova Electronics, Inc.     Waukegan, IL

37           Rockport Roll Shop, LLC        Rockport, IN         

38           Modern-Tec Manufacturing, Inc.       Buffalo, NY 

39           Wenthe-Davidson Engineering Co.        Milwaukee, WI 

40           Amiad Water Systems        Mooresville, NC

41           Enzymatics, Inc.         Beverly, MA

42           Wisconsin Metal Products        Racine, WI

43           TEAM Industries        Cambridge, MN

44           Applied Test Systems           Butler, PA

45           Giga-tronics Incorporated            San Ramon, CA 

46           Securaplane Technologies     Oro Valley, AZ

47           Herndon Products, Inc       O'Fallon, MO

48           Attwood        Lowell, MI

49           Industries for the Blind, Inc.     West Allis, WI  

50           dBMEDx       Bellevue, CO

51           Northrop Grumman            Ogden, UT

52           Thibiant International         Chatsworth, CA 

53           CoorsTek           Worcester, MA

54           Baker Hughes       Shafter, CA 

55           Alpha Products, Inc.      Chicago, IL

56           Donnelly Custom Manufacturing     Alexandria, MN 

57           Aero-K         El Monte, CA

58           ENengineering            Warrenville, IL

59           Pratt & Whitney Canada             Wichita Falls, TX   

60           Triton Industries         Newport News, VA

61           Linkbelt Construction Equipment Co.        Lexington, KY   

62           USA  ARDEC     Picatinny, NJ

63           Kaba      Winston Salem, NC

64           GMA Manufacturing         Tempe, AZ           

65           ALCOA            Cleveland, OH  

66           TD Williamson                Tulsa, OK

67           Parker Hannifin           Kings Mountain, NC

68           Afco Products, Inc.          Des Plaines, IL

69           Anoplate Corporation          Syracuse, NY

70           ComDel Innovation               Wahpeton, ND

71           SigmaTron International, Inc.           Elk Grove Village, IL  

72           TE Connectivity          Winston Salem, NC 

73           Harper Corporation of America               Charlotte, NC

74           Penn Union           Edinboro, PA 

75           Thule Group               Seymour, CT

76           Klein Steel Service          Rochester, NY   

77           Piper Plastics, Inc.                Chandler, AZ 

78           Cartel Industries, LLC           Irvine, CA  

79           Aerojet Rocketdyne       Sacramento, CA

80           Melet Plastics Corportation          Fargo, ND

81           Kato Cable, LLC              Mankato, MN  

82           MTD Products      Valley City, CA

83           Viega, LLC              McPherson, KS

84           Lockheed Martin Aeronautics      Fort Worth, TX     

85           HI TECMETAL Group          Cleveland, OH

86           Honeywell International        Minneapolis, MN

87           National Machine Company         Stow, OH

88           Rolls-Royce          Indianapolis, IN  

89           Ward Manufacuring, LLC          Blossburg, PA 

90           Markel Corporation        Plymouth Meeting, PA

91           AxleTech International             Oshkosh, WI

92           PTR Tool & Plastics, LLC        Meadville, PA

93           Greenfield Industries, Inc.             Seneca, SC 

94           Dutek, Inc            Vista, CA  

95           valspar            Chicago, IL  

96           Harbor Steel & Supply Corporation            Muskegon, MI    

97           Honeywell           Muncie, IN

98           Rockwell Collins          Cedar Rapids, IA

99           GTE              Orlando, FL   

100         Fiat Chrysler Automotive         Auburn Hills, MI