In 1952, Thomas LaMarca founded L & Z Tool & Engineering, Inc., Watchung, New Jersey. Today, this 50 person company manufactures plastic injection molds for diverse markets including automotive, hardware, electrical, food service and the defense industry. Clients include General Motors, Gentex, Ryobi Industries, Cambro Manufacturing, Lear and many others.
Early in 1999, L & Z Tool met Field Agents from New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc. (NJMEP) while attending a seminar on economic development. L & Z expressed an interest in becoming ISO Registered. And so the process began. In addition, in 2000, Mr. Frank Cooper, Director of Sales and Marketing of L & Z Tool, became a member of the NJMEP Board of Trustees.
The first step toward developing an ISO program was for L & Z Tool to implement an ISO Gap Analysis, which identifies missing elements required by the standard, assesses compliance to the target standard and assesses the efficiency and completeness of records and documented procedures. Once the results of the Gap Analysis were documented, a program plan was developed to achieve the goal of ISO 9001:2000 registration with NJMEP, Alamo Learning Systems and L & Z implementing Alamo Learning Systems’ Fast Track Program.
The ISO 9001 Registration process began in October 2000 with a grant from the New Jersey Department of Labor, Office of Customized Training, Workforce Development Grant Program. NJMEP provided project management and worked closely with Alamo Learning Systems and L & Z Tool to ensure the project was on schedule and meeting the project plan objectives of implementing a Quality Management System, and achieving compliance to the ISO Standard.
L & Z Tool and Engineering, Inc. became ISO 9001:2000 Registered in June 2001. “We are one of the first tool shops to become registered to the new ISO standard,” Frank Cooper explained. The benefits of becoming registered are based on speculation; as the automotive industry is starting to require their second and third tier suppliers to become registered – which will help insure continuous business for L & Z. He further stated, “This is a leg up on our competition, by becoming registered before it is required. We are able to manufacture a better quality tool than the competition, particularly those overseas manufacturers in China and the Far East.”
As a result of achieving ISO 9001:2000 registration, L & Z Tool anticipates to increase sales over the next few years (the current economy has made it difficult to judge the amount at this time), enter new markets, and maintain full employment (50 employees) in the slowing economy. “NJMEP was able to provide a birds-eye-view of our company – and let us know where we needed to focus – they are astute and helpful. This is something other consultants cannot provide because they are focused on one aspect of the business, not the whole business,” Cooper explained.
L&Z Tool and Engineering is a participant in NJMEP’s Made in New Jersey program. Click here to view their profile!