Considering the thousands of readers of Quality magazine, the Quality Leadership 100 showcases the work of just a fraction of the quality professionals in this country. This annual ranking highlights plants across the United States for their dedication to quality. This year the top five companies were Honeywell Aerospace, Medtronic, InserTech, Winona PVD and SAPA Extrusions.

The companies provide aircraft engines, automotive parts, medical technology, aluminum extrusions, and chrome coatings. No matter what these companies make, they are concerned with quality in their manufacturing process. They are dedicated to quality, training and continuous improvement.

You may be wondering how the results were tabulated. As with last year’s rankings, 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.

Thank you to all those who participated in the survey. The survey was conducted for Quality by the BNP Media Market Research Department.

  1. Honeywell Aerospace
  2. Medtronic
  3. InserTech LLC
  4. Winona PVD LLC
  5. SAPA Extrusions

1. Honeywell Aerospace

Tempe, AZ

If you’ve taken a flight recently, you may have depended on a Honeywell Aerospace product. According to the company, “Honeywell Aerospace products and services are found on virtually every commercial, defense and space aircraft.” Obviously aerospace parts depend on quality, and Amit Da’ve, ASQ-CQE, a field quality engineer at Honeywell Aerospace, says quality is paramount. “Honeywell Aerospace has taken a lot of strides in continuous improvement,” Da’ve says. The company is proactive in improving quality and focused on root cause corrective action.

One of the leading products is the Auxiliary Power Unit. An APU is a small gas turbine engine that provides electrical air power to an aircraft for starting the main engines, running the air conditioning and providing electrical power to the plane while on the ground. The APU allows passengers to sit comfortably while waiting for take-off, and the APU also provides primary or back-up electrical power for environmental, cockpit and hydraulic systems during flight. The company has delivered more than 95,000 of these items, and demand for the unit has been growing. Manufacturing such a complex item—the APU is made up of 700 parts—takes a detailed inspection plan.

In the almost 12 years that Da’ve has been with the company, he has seen the organization continue to improve. “We have come a long way with ppm. In 11 years, I’ve seen where the ppm was and where it is now. This is continuous improvement.”

Demand for the company’s products remains high. In November, the company predicted “9,200 new business jet deliveries worth $270 billion from 2015 to 2025.”

2. Medtronic

Irvine, CA

Medtronic is a medical powerhouse. More than 10 million people benefitted from Medtronic products or therapies last year, according to the company. As the company website points out, “That’s one person—one life improved—every 3 seconds.” The company provides healthcare products around the world—in more than 155 countries—with medical technologies, services and solutions, with more than 85,000 employees and 460 locations. The mission is: “To contribute to human welfare by application of biomedical engineering in the research, design, manufacture, and sale of instruments or appliances that alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life.”

And obviously the life and death stakes of medical technology demands high quality. Medtronic offers products that can help with almost 40 medical conditions, ranging from cardiac arrest to diabetes and breast cancer. This medical juggernaut started from humble beginnings as a family business. In 1949, Earl Bakken and his brother-in-law, Palmer Hermundslie, founded the company.

3. InserTech LLC

Cary, IL

When I spoke to Gustavo Romo, the business development director at InserTech, he was at the company’s plant in Mexico. No matter what location he is at, the attention to quality is the same. All of the company’s facilities, whether in China, Mexico, or the headquarters in the United States, are certified to ISO/TS  16949:2009. InserTech manufactures insert molding products for the automotive industry, such as air bag sensors and fuel injectors. He said the company has a strong, experienced team in quality systems, a necessity since the company makes safety-critical parts. “We cannot afford to have any kind of risk,” Romo says.

This attitude affects quality and finances. Management understands that quality has a financial impact on the company. The goal, Romo says, is “growth and healthy finances with a very strong quality approach.” Training is a big part of this, as employees receive at least five hours every month. “Starting from the operators all the way to upper management, training has been the most important effort to be in compliance with TS,” he says, and new employees are taught this attention to quality from the start. “We emphasize that quality is intrinsic in everything that we do,” he says. Even something like paperwork for purchasing can impact the final quality of the part, Romo points out.

When emphasizing this approach to quality with customers, Romo says he will provide examples of what they have done in the past, with very complex parts with tight tolerances with a low ppm. This way customers know that their parts will get the same quality treatment.

4. Winona PVD LLC

Warsaw, IN

Although you may not have heard of Winona PVD, you are familiar with their customers. BMW, Ford, Hyundai and Nissan are a few of the companies Winona works with. Winona PVD Coatings LLC was established in December 2006. Although the company has only celebrated its ninth birthday, the executive team combined has more than 90 years of experience in wheel coating and wheel industries.

Winona PVD Coatings provides OEM and aftermarket customers with chrome coatings and finishes. PVD stands for Physical Vapor Deposition; it is a process of applying metal in a vacuum chamber to various parts. It does not produce hazardous waste or byproducts. CEO Scott Dahl says producing a chrome look on a wheel (basically it looks like a mirror) means the company has to make quality a priority.

“Quality is of utmost importance,” Dahl says. “We meet on a daily basis to review issues in production.” When issues do crop up, they do a full root cause analysis.

The goal is zero defects, Dahl says. “It’s the whole culture of quality. Everybody is looking and trying to go through ‘What needs to be improved, how can we be better?’ The underlying thing for us every day is a quality product.”

5. SAPA Extrusions

Burlington, NC

SAPA Extrusions develops and manufactures aluminum extrusions, extrusion-based building systems and precision tubing. The company is part of SAPA AS. The company has 23,000 employees in more than 40 countries. Headquarters are in Oslo, Norway.

SAPA products are around the world as well. The company’s extruded aluminum profiles are can be found in buildings, machines, and countless other applications across the globe. Continuous improvement is a goal. According to the company, “The group is committed to continuous improvement in environmental performance, health and safety, as well as conducting the business ethically.” This ties into the company’s five values: Customer first, Trustworthy, One company, Entrepreneurial and Accountability. 

Rank Company Location Website
1 Honeywell Aerospace Division Tempe, AZ
2 Medtronic Irvine, CA
3 InserTech LLC Cary, IL
4 Winona PVD LLC Warsaw, IN
5 SAPA Extrusions Burlington, NC
6 Somerset Welding & Steel Somerset, PA
7 Greif, Inc. Alsip, IL
8 Nelson Laboratories, Inc. Salt Lake City, UT
10 Summerhill Technology Santa Fe Springs, CA
11 Caterpillar, Inc. Worldwide
12 Quality Testing Calibration, LLC Nicholasville, KY
13 DCX Chol Enterprise, Inc. Los Angeles, CA
14 BH Electronics Marshall, MN
15 Lake Region Medical Wilmington, MA
16 Industrial Metal Fab South Bend, IN
17 Quality Calibration Service, Inc. New Berlin, WI
18 All-Plastics, LLC Addison, TX
19 Emerson Climate Sidney, OH
20 Vector Systems, Inc. McKinney, TX
21 Weldbend Co. Chicago, IL
22 AEC, Inc. Clearwater, FL
23 Bitterroot Tool & Machine Stevensville, MT
24 Touchstone Measurement Service Kokomo, IN
25 IRP Medical San Clemente, CA
26 Mustang Tech Atlanta, GA
27 MHWirth Mobile, AL
28 Florida MicroElectronics Wichita, KS
29 Bombardier, Inc. Wichita, KS
30 Transform Automotive, LLC Sterling Heights, MI
31 Malbert & Mitchell Grinding Corp. La Habra, CA
32 Bruker Tucson, AZ
33 HCC, Inc. Mendota, IL
34 Genuine Machine Products Gilbert, AZ
35 Equitable Engineering Company Troy, MI
36 Teq Huntington Station, NY
37 Corning, Inc. Corning, NY
38 Co-planar, Inc. Denville, NJ
39 Kato Cable Mankato, MN
40 Boeing Chicago, IL
41 Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems America Savannah, GA
42 Mettler-Toledo AutoChem Columbia, MD
43 Littlestown Foundry, Inc. Littlestown, PA
44 Osteogenics Biomedical, Inc. Lubbock, TX
45 Orbital ATK Salt Lake City, UT
46 Sonic Manufacturing Corp. Elk Grove Village, IL
47 Klein Steel Services Rochester, NY
48 Houck Machine Company Plymouth, MN
49 Montaplast NA Frankfort, Germany
50 Dependable Stamping Company Euclid, OH
51 Viega, LLC McPherson, KS
52 GM Warren, MI
53 Transcat Aurora, CO
54 ACS Group New Berlin, WI
55 Flowserve Kalamazoo, MI
56 Northridge, CA
57 ATI Monroe, NC
58 NMG Aerospace Stow, OH
59 Felix Storch, Inc. Bronx, NY
60 Appalachian Tool and Machine, Inc. Black Mountain, NC
61 Plas-Pak Inds., Inc. Norwich, CT
62 Alicat Scientific, Inc. Tucson, AZ
63 Midwest Fuel Injection Bolingbrook,IL
64 Boeing St. Louis, MO
65 Autocam Precision Components Group Kentwood, MI
66 C. Thorrez Industries, Inc. Jackson, MI
67 Top Tool Company Blaine, MN
68 Synerject Delavan. WI
69 Industrial Tool Die + Engineering Tucson, AZ
70 OMNOVA Solutions Beachwood, OH
71 Aerojet Rocketdyne Sacramento, CA
72 Piper Plastics, Inc. Libertyville, IL
73 Tecnova Electronics, Inc. Waukegan, IL
74 Attwood Marine Lowell, MI
75 PTR Tool and Plastics, LLC Meadville, PA
76 iConn Systems, LLC Lombard, IL
77 Applied Test Systems Pittsburgh, PA
78 Amiad USA, Inc. Mooresville, NC
79 Q-Met-Tech Union, KY
80 Surface Recovery Technologies Dayton, OH
81 BZM Heating & Cooling Corp. Brooklyn, NY
82 Agri-Inject Yuma, CO
83 Facts Engineering New Port Richey, FL
84 RF Code Inc Austin, TX
85 Reid-Ashman Mfg St. George, UT
86 Alaskan Copper Seattle, WA
87 Crane Composites Jonesboro, AR
88 Advanced Machining Services Bend, OR
89 Aerie Aerospace Huntsville, AL
90 SyngineeringNDT, LLC Houston, TX
91 Comptec, Inc. Irwin, PA
92 Carolina International Trucks Inc Columbia, SC
93 Accuratus Corporation Phillipsburg, NJ
94 Artemis Plastics Ocala, FL
95 Bio/Data Corporation Horsham, PA
96 VT San Antonio Aerospace, Inc. San Antonio, TX
97 Donaldson Co., Inc. Bloomington, MN
98 LORD Corporation Erie, PA
99 Elixir Extrusions, LLC Douglas, GA
100 Modern-Tec Manufacturing Buffalo, NY