KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee’s Center for Industrial Services (CIS) last year led the university’s outreach and economic development efforts by training more than 2,700 people, helping industries and businesses create 10,800 jobs statewide and growing Tennessee’s economy by $461 million.
Today, the university announced that CIS has achieved a major registration that will allow it to even better serve the state’s small- to medium-size manufacturers and entrepreneurs.
CIS has achieved registration to the international quality standard ISO 9001 : 2000, meaning the center’s customer service processes and quality management systems meet the stringent business standards established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
“When it comes to serving our manufacturing customers in Tennessee and growing the state’s economy, the university recognizes the benefits of doing things the right way. About two years ago, we realized the need to document our processes and to say, with certainty and proof, that at the UT Center for Industrial Services, we do things at an international level of excellence,” said Hank Dye, UT vice president for public and government relations.
In its quest for ISO 9001 : 2000 registration, CIS made a deliberate effort to document, implement and improve the center’s processes, systems and methods. The CIS staff has processed and completed more than 20 corrective and preventive measures to improve work processes or prevent problems with customer service delivery. Since November 2006, CIS has conducted internal audits of its processes and systems and identified opportunities for improvement. Staff members have identified more than 70 system improvements, addressing both large and small issues
“We simply documented our core processes and learned to follow a simple mantra: 1) Say what you do — write it down; 2) Do what you say — implement it; 3) Prove that you did what you said — record your actions; and, finally, 4) Improve the system continually from that point forward,” said Lynn Reed, CIS quality management representative, who led the center through the registration process.
The center’s efforts culminated with a registration audit by Jim King, an ISO lead auditor representing NSF-ISR registrars in Chattanooga. The registrar certified UT’s CIS to the ISO 9001 : 2000 standard, and according to King, the CIS quality management system exceeds some quality systems that have been in place for 10 years.
“The registration process forced our staff and senior management to focus on our mission — assisting Tennessee businesses and industry in improving their competitiveness in order to provide good jobs and a high quality of life for Tennesseans,” said David Hall, executive director of UT’s CIS.
“When we do our monthly and quarterly management reviews, we are using data and substantiated information to help drive our decision-making processes. One of our strategic goals is to produce $800 million worth of economic impact for the state by 2010,” Hall said.
CIS was created in 1963, when the university determined that the agency would provide assistance to industries statewide, but primarily to small- and medium-size companies. Even with the tremendous growth of resources and services, this focus has not changed. An agency of UT’s statewide Institute for Public Service, CIS is funded by state appropriations, contracts, cooperative agreements with state and federal agencies and funds generated by fee-based services.
Dye said CIS has proved its capabilities in customer service and quality management through this achievement.
“You can count on one hand the number of programs nationally that have ever achieved a similar registration. We are excited about our future and are proud that the university has CIS consultants and resources to serve industries, assist entrepreneurs and bring millions of dollars to Tennessee’s economy every year,” he said.
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