Innovative and high-quality manufacturer of custom-made metal products, Williams United, has been crowned winner of the "2013 My Business Award" in the Best Medium Business category. A focus on Quality and continual improvement is key to their success in a tough manufacturing climate.
The My Business award recognises unique businesses with achievements in innovation, growth and entrepreneurial flair.
Williams United demonstrates a long history of embracing new technology and a culture of continous improvement. Beginning in 1948 in a shed in the back yard, this family owned and managed business now operates in a 3,500 square metre manufacturing plant with 50 staff. (Still in the same suburb of Sydney!) Williams were early adopters in the 1990s of laser cutting technology and are now expanding into 3D printing (additive manufacturing) services.
A focus on Quality is a key strategy for commercial success despite challenging times for the manufacturing industry in Australia. A major issue is the availability of cheap manufacturing services from China. To overcome this, WHWilliams offers their customers extremely short lead times matched with “high quality, each and every time”.
The company ethos of continual improvement is core to the ISO 9001 quality standard and applies not just to production processes but also to the management system itself. In 2012 IT-savvy Managing Director, Dean Wiliams, knew their QMS was due for an overhaul.
“Our existing file-based system was full of Excel spreadsheets and Word document containing hyperlinks that became more and more difficult to maintain, making it increasingly unreliable and complicated to navigate around the system.”
“To simplify this, we looked for a cloud based system”
“As our existing file-based system grew, we had problems sharing documents. We’d try to open a document, such as our continuous improvement register, and the “read-only” message would pop up too often.”
“QSToolbox has solved this.”
“Revision control is now a breeze compared to before. We can easily track changes and be confident that we are always using the latest version.”
Apart from solving their document management problems, the other big advantage according to Dean has been the Issue tracker in QSToolbox, which has “simplified our continuous improvement process by offering a simple, structured and centralised place for raising, investigating and solving opportunities.”
With a strong commitment to developing staff, equipment and processes, WHWilliams show they have embraced the best-practice business management principals embedded into the quality management standard.
For other companies struggling with their QMS, Dean has this advice:
“Embrace the cloud.”
Williams United comprises WHWilliams and Williams 3D. WHWilliams is one of Australia’s leading manufacturers of custom-made metal products, providing a range of conventional and unique sheetmetal engineering services such as laser cutting, bending and welding. Williams 3D offers additive manufacturing (3D printing) services.
MyBusiness is the official magazine for the SME Association of Australia.