Profile of Industrial Nameplate, Inc.:
Fred Ziegler founded the business in the basement of the family’s home in the early 1960s under the name Thunderbird Industries. After incorporating, the company moved to Appleton in 1980. In 2003, the name of the business changed to Industrial Nameplate. The company manufactures custom industrial signage and labels using metal, stainless steel, aluminum, polycarbonate, vinyl and plastic. Industrial Nameplate moved to its current location in Outagamie County in early 2006. About 20 employees work at Industrial Nameplate’s 14,000-square-foot facility, which also houses Top Dog Screen Printing and Embroidery, a sister business. Industrial Nameplate is owned by Ziegler’s daughter, Lynn Lanser, and her daughter, Nicole Swanton.
Industrial Nameplate faced a major dilemma when its largest customer, Oshkosh Corp., suddenly required all its suppliers to become ISO 9001:2015 certified. The small manufacturer had to decide whether to invest the time and effort, as well as the money, to satisfy the requirement or part ways with a vitally important, long-term client. The customer then set a strict deadline and made it clear it would take its business elsewhere if Industrial Nameplate didn’t pursue certification.
Industrial Nameplate turned to WMEP Manufacturing Solutions to lead it through the ISO 9001:2015 certification, which took nine months from start to finish. A WMEP consultant led Industrial Nameplate management through a schedule of what needed to be accomplished, setting clear expectations and making repeated visits to the company’s plant while examining various aspects of its operations. WMEP helped put in place a quality management system appropriately designed for Industrial Nameplate’s small-scale operation.
“We didn’t have any knowledge of a quality management system at all. We really needed WMEP. They had the background knowledge that it took. They were very experienced, organized and detailed. It was the most challenging thing I’ve done in my career, but it was the most rewarding process I’ve ever been through.”
Nicole Swanton, Co-owner and Vice President – Industrial Nameplate Inc
- Received ISO 9001:2015 certification.
- Preserved relationship and business with multinational manufacturer that accounts for largest percentage of Industrial Nameplate’s overall business.
- A 5S workplace organization process focused on each section of the plant and the extra parts and scrap material that were being generated. The exercise led to a significant reduction in clutter and made production processes clearer.
- Revamped the handling of inventory to be more efficient.