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Pursuing Excellence


School transportation industry firms seek and adopt certifications standards to improve efficiency, add value in a competitive marketplace


WRITTEN BY ERIC WOOLSON W


hen Kelle Vos joined Auto-Jet Muffler, North America’s largest producer of after-market exhaust systems for the school trans-


portation industry, he brought a commitment to ISO certification with him. “I hadn’t been through the process before, but I’d been


through certification that was similar to it,” said Vos, who joined the Clive, Iowa, company as general manag- er in July 2014. In his prior role at LeMar Industries, Vos had appreci- ated the value of the grain storage system maker’s decision to seek American Institute of Steel Construction certifica- tion. “Tat process is very broad and similar to ISO,” he explained. “ISO certification drives long-term improve- ments our customers expect of Auto-Jet. ISO is a way for us to tell our customers we’re going to supply them with a quality, cost-effective product and we have a commitment


52 School Transportation News • FEBRUARY 2016


to maintain the processes in place to make that happen.” Te continuous push by school transportation industry suppliers and service providers to complete ISO certifica- tion, Six Sigma, Zero Waste to Landfill and other compe- tency designations pay big dividends for the companies and their customers. But, the process isn’t easy. Tony Blansit, Blue Bird Corporation’s director of quality and warranties, said it takes more than words to be a truly process-driven company. “One of the most common buzz-word phrases organiza- tions like to use and abuse is ‘we’re process driven.’ Some organizations are truly process driven and many more ‘believe’ they are,” Blansit said. “Te value that ISO certi- fication provides is a third-party auditor to validate they are process driven in their operations. ISO registered orga- nizations are not only audited that they are being process driven, but also that their processes are ISO compliant.” ISO certification is a world-class standard of specifica-


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