As a global manufacturer of audio and communications technologies, MiTek Corporation, parent company of AtlasIED, has facilities on four continents. In addition to the commercial audio, MiTek also manufactures car audio, powersports technologies, residential audio, and OEM products for some of the biggest companies in their respective fields. These additional divisions of MiTek provide added resources, manufacturing methods, and quality standards that have been implemented into AtlasIED processes. Travis Pranschke, Vice President of Global Quality and Manufacturing, offers some details about AtlasIED manufacturing advantages and what they mean to customers.
As Vice President of Global Quality and Manufacturing at AtlasIED, what qualifications and background has prepared you for this role?
I've had a passion for audio for quite some time now, competing and winning multiple car shows from Texas to South Carolina ever since I was a teenager. In addition to building sound systems, bootcamp for this role has included spending almost two decades in plastics manufacturing and working my way from a maintenance tech into leadership roles while producing low-margin commodities like soda and water bottles at pennies a piece for companies like Pepsi and Coca-Cola. Now for the past decade, these same techniques are being utilized to manufacturer audio equipment and accessories. It's given me an opportunity to combine the knowledge learned along the way with something I truly enjoy doing.
While I was in plastics, I was fortunate enough to be selected to go through a training called Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. It's a certification program, and part of the certification criteria is to save at least $100,000 to the bottom line for two projects within six months of completing the course. Projects we actually went after yielded multimillion dollar improvements to our organization. Taking this same disciplined approach to manufacturing provided me with a thorough understanding of all aspects of the DMAIC process: define, measure, analyze, improve and control, as well as the ability to be able to identify non-value-added elements and activities. This was critical when making forty-five million containers per week for pennies each, and it's proven even more effective over the past 10 years with improving quality and costs for all aspects of AtlasIED. The leadership team here has really embraced this approach, and we continue to streamline operations daily.
What sets AtlasIED apart in being able to deliver truly global quality, results, and support?
I'd have to say owning our own divisions throughout the world and our own manufacturing facilities overseas, that allows us to stay competitive in pricing when necessary. It also provides more control over quality than simply outsourcing manufacturing to a tier two company. We're doing business with our own manufacturing locations that has a vested interest in the quality of our products, more so than any random factory would. Regardless of where the products are being built, we have a local team. We've got boots on the ground that are in our factories every day, and they're trained to the same standardized testing processes to ensure consistent performance and quality, keeping the team in sync.
What does ISO certification mean for an organization like AtlasIED?
ISO 9001 is the best-known quality and risk management standard out there. It requires organizations to define, follow processes to better position them to produce quality products and services consistently. We recently had third-party audits from our accreditation body, and out of four facilities audited, only one minor finding across all four manufacturing locations. So I would say AtlasIED in general is doing a wonderful job of adhering to the ISO 9001 procedures and standards.
How does Six Sigma factor into AtlasIED’s efforts to be a leaner, more efficient organization?
Six Sigma's focus on customer satisfaction allows our organization to make better quality products with the goal of improving customer loyalty in the long run. Utilizing Six Sigma methods to eliminate mistakes while innovating new products help us ensure we meet and exceed our quality policy of engineer it right, build it right, sell it right, and support it right.
What does being an American manufacturer mean to AtlasIED?
As a family-owned private company that's been built on manufacturing and engineering in the US, we're always looking for ways to utilize our domestic factories and locations, to provide quality employment for as many people as possible within the communities our friends and families live in. The US Federal Government is the largest purchaser of goods in the US, and being an American manufacturer allows our customers to be more competitive when bidding for projects that require Buy America Act, BAA, TAA compliant projects.