Quickfilter Technologies, founded in September 2003 and located in Allen, Texas, are a fabless semiconductor company and presently employ 8 people. Their company mission is to ‘provide cost effective digital filtering solutions for the industrial, medical, automotive, defence, and consumer markets’. Quickfilter products replace more expensive DSP solutions and provide their customers with a very fast time to market by eliminating the need to develop custom DSP algorithms for digital filters.
Mr. Tony Valentino, Chief Operating Officer at Quickfilter, explains the reasons for choosing ISO, “We understood the importance of a comprehensive quality program. We had tried to implement an internal system, but soon realized that it was rather disjointed and the audit procedures were inadequate. Our customers were looking for a system that was more coordinated and that was certified, thus our decision to seek ISO certification.”
For Quickfilter, quality must extend throughout all of the organization’s processes. Mr. Valentino comments on processes at Quickfilter prior to ISO certification, “Being a small company has pluses and minuses. On the plus side, we are able to react better to the demands of our customers because there is less bureaucracy and a shorter decision path. However, this can lead to mixed results. We end up doing things one way for one customer, and another way for another customer with no rhyme or reason. This is a very reactive approach and not one which allows us to improve our overall performance.”
On the improvements to processes ISO has brought, Mr. Valentino comments, “With the implementation of the ISO standard, we now have processes that are defined, communicated, and measured. This leads to more consistent results, but more importantly it allows us to measure the effectiveness of our processes and improve upon them. We are more proactive and don’t have to wait for a customer complaint to take action. Best of all, we can do this while still maintaining the short decision path and without bureaucracy thus preserving our small company culture.”
Quickfilter Technologies reached ISO9001-2008 certification in June 2010. They found they learned a lot about their company and their employees as well as learning a lot about other companies of our size that have been through the same process.
“The journey was a lot of work, but very instructive.” Mr. Valentino comments, “In our particular case, the process took about 6 months. We had a basic structure in place which I believe helped to shorten the time. What we focused on was making sure it was integrated and that we were able to audit and set up improvement plans which were lacking in the original structure.”
Mr. Valentino explains what ISO certification has done for Quickfilter, “This has allowed us to conduct our business better. We feel more in control and we feel better able to respond to our customers’ demands. We feel more proactive instead of reactive and I believe our performance reflects that.
“We are better able to anticipate what our markets want, we are more focused in our product development, and our overall level of service has improved.”
Quickfilter had been considering ISO 9001 certification for some time before they were approached by IMSM. A lot of the Quickfilter team had come from larger companies who had achieved ISO 9001 certification and had already experienced the costs and the benefits in getting that certification. Mr. Valentino continues, “At Quickfilter, we weren’t quite sure we could handle the overall cost. In talking with IMSM consultants, they explained how IMSM operated and how experienced they are in dealing with companies such as ours. IMSM detailed a program that enabled us to achieve our objective at a very reasonable cost.”
Mr. Valentino concludes their ISO experience, “At first, we were rather intimidated by the whole process. We felt it would be costly and very time consuming. But the IMSM team was very good about explaining the process, and what was expected and how that fit in with our normal business tasks. After several discussions, we soon realized that our initial fears were unjustified. The process was smooth and very professional.”