A Brisbane-based electronics designer and manufacturer reaching another milestone in their defence-ready growth plan.
Australian electronics manufacturers uplifting quality and environmental management systems
Elexon Electronics soon to be ISO 14001 and AS 9100D certified.
The manufacturing industry can be unpredictable. One minute you might be entering into a lucrative contract with a great new customer. The next, Covid hits and that customer could be going out of business — putting your own company at risk in the process.
For this reason, in the last couple of years, Elexon Electronics has been trying to find ways to expand into new industries such as defence, IoT and sensor technologies. These sectors are rapidly developing, creating many engineering and manufacturing opportunities. They are also highly regulated and not easily accessible. One of the first hurdles is the quality management system. Being compliant with AS 9100 (aerospace quality management system) is usually mandatory for doing business with any major aerospace manufacturer or supplier. For all other global suppliers, an environmental management system ISO 14001 is a must as proof of planet awareness.
At the beginning of this year, Elexon Electronics received three Capability Improvement Grants administered by the Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) to invest in our defence readiness development. Through these grants, the government supports Australian businesses entering or working with the defence industry. Quality and environmental management systems, defence market development, and information and physical security through the Defence Industry Security Program are our main focus this year.
Kylie Warren joined the Elexon Electronics’ team earlier this year to support the challenging quality management systems instalment process. As the Quality Manager, she and her team are responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of the new quality management systems. The first part of external audits is just around the corner, starting at the end of October. The last and hardest auditing stage is planned for December 2021 and April 2022. We asked Kylie how these changes will affect Elexon Electronics.
Elexon has been ISO 9001 certified for 15 years. Why more?
Elexon is expanding in the defence sector which has very stringent requirements to become part of the supply chain, whether direct to a prime or a tier two or three organisation. To become AS 9100 certified can be a lengthy and demanding process, but the benefits far outweigh the costs. AS 9100 certification says that your company offers consistent and high-quality products and service. Our investment into quality management systems also invests in the men and women who keep our country safe.
What’s the difference between ISO 9001 and AS 9100D and what does it mean for your customers?
The main focus of the AS 9100D is the customer. With our current ISO 9001 certification, we focus on quality processes and product quality development. AS 9100D is the next step, we must now report our quality metrics from a customer point of view. For example, reporting on on-time deliveries, product conformity and customer satisfaction, and taking appropriate actions when planned results are not achieved. This is how we meet customer and regulatory requirements, provide vital traceability and promote and evidence a culture of continual improvement.
What are you views on Environmental Management System ISO 14001?
As an ethical company, Elexon Electronics cares about the environment. Even though we are already environmentally aware, formal certification is a must to engage with government contracts. By formalizing something we are already committed to, we prove our dedication to our existing and future customers.
What are the benefits of implementing ISO 14001?
What I like about ISO 14001 is that it is not just about the paperwork. It has a huge operational impact by keeping in mind the environment and our potential effect on it. We have to control how we dispose of waste; when designing a new product, we need to consider the whole product lifecycle so we don’t burden the environment in the future with unnecessary components. Smart and future-proof product development is crucial.
Another element is emergency response and contingency plans. We are developing strategies for any emergency situation such as spills or fires because risk identification, awareness and planning is essential.