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Take advantage of ISO-9000 certification

April 29, 2002|By LAURA MITCHELL, Staff Writer

County officials are hoping local business people will take advantage of a offer to make their business ISO-9000 compliant.

ISO-9000 is a certification from the International Organization for Standards that a company's management practices meet a set level of standards.

The certification opens the door for contracts with the federal government or large corporations such as Chicago-based aircraft-maker Boeing, Delphi Communications of Newport Beach or Southern California Edison, county Community Economic Development Director Ken Hollis said.

Such companies already participate in the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce's "Wiring of the Border" program, which partners public and private interests to boost economic development across the border, Hollis said.

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Delphi prefers to purchase products from local vendors, but they must be ISO certified, he said.

County Executive Officer Ann Capela said the offer is available to small businesses, defined as those that employ 500 people or fewer, which is most businesses in the Valley.

Capela said the ISO certification is being used by all large businesses to make sure quality is built-in to the production system. And to keep quality consistent, they need to make sure their suppliers are certified.

"They look at a company's paperwork and make recommendations. For example, any employee is empowered to shut down the process if it doesn't meet quality," Capela said.

County Supervisor Tony Tirado said Calexico Tissue is an example of a company that had contracts to sell to state prisons but couldn't sell to Naval Air Facility El Centro because the company was not ISO certified.

"If they were ISO-9000 certified it would've helped them sell their products," Tirado said.

There is a cost of $100 to participate but the cost is minimal compared to the thousands of dollars is costs to get certified, he said.

Hollis said the main benefit for local business is making themselves and their products available to big corporations across the border in Mexicali.

The corporations participate because they get government incentives to take part in outreach programs for woman- or minority-owned businesses.

Capela said many businesses might be producing a product that meets the standards but they just don't have the certification.

Other companies might need to take only a few steps to be certified. This gives them the opportunity to find out, she said.

For more information, contact Ken Hollis at 337-7814.

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or lauramitchell9@yahoo.com

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