After starting a branch facility of Gate 7 three years ago, John and Clare Reay needed assistance turning their manufacturing plant into an environmentally-friendly one. With business advice from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Gate 7 was able to achieve an ISO certification in environmental management.
Gate 7 manufactures safety and instructional decals, such as warning and danger signs for construction equipment manufacturers. They also create name plates for vehicles. Currently, the thirteen plant employees work to produce decals for companies like Volvo, Grove Worldwide and JCB.
The business was originally founded in 2001 in Northeast England, where the company headquarters is located. A few years ago, the Pennsylvania construction equipment company, Grove Worldwide, was Gate 7’s primary client. Gate 7’s owner Keith Wickham felt that it was important to be close to the consumer, so he built a plant in Greencastle. Wickham appointed John, the Vice President of the company, and Clare,the Quality and Environmental Manager, to manage the Pennsylvania plant.
Since starting the company in the US, it has been of utmost importance to Clare that Gate 7 follows the proper laws and regulations of the state. It is her job to make sure that the highest quality products go out the door with little negative impact on the environment. In 2009, Gate 7 received their ISO 9001: Quality Management Systems Certification. The next step was to become certified in environmental management. In 2010, Clare began looking for business advice on how to become ISO certified in Environmental Management. After searching online, Clare discovered the SBDC. “The SBDC is somewhere to turn without actually paying people, without actually going out of our budget,” said Clare.
Shippensburg’s Small Business Development Center led Gate 7 in the steps to completing their second ISO certification through the SBDC’s Environmental Management Assistance Program. The SBDC mainly informed Gate 7 of the laws and regulations by visiting the facility and performing an energy assessment. They also made Gate 7 aware of necessary permits and researched details on saving energy.
In spring 2010, just six months after making necessary changes, Gate 7 earned their ISO 14001: Environmental Management Certification. To achieve the certification,workers had to make some major adjustments in the plant, including adjusting disposal procedures, finding ways to save energy, substituting materials with more eco-friendly ones and training staff by making them aware of new procedures. To keep up the certification, Gate 7 will be audited on an annual basis and will need to be recertified in 2013.
Clare feels that having an ISO certification gives customers reassurance of their product’s quality, while improving the reputation of Gate 7. “We take pride in standing by the laws and regulations of the state and make sure we are not damaging the environment through production,” Clare said. According to Clare, the SBDC has been a tremendous help to Gate 7. “They are prepared to meet with me when requested and give me free advice, which is excellent and greatly benefits small businesses in this economy," said Clare.
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