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Everyone takes photos
But 912,072 photos a day?

As part of our ISO certification, we photograph 100s of thousands of sawblade teeth a day. Should we seek help? Actually, boring ISO processes like this deliver consistency and value for customers, good business results for us and a continuation of the hands-on craftsmanship that has made Håkansson Sågblad what it is today.
In a series of four snapshots, we go beyond the box ticking to see what ISO ever did for anybody.

1. ISO certification? Yawn

Fair enough. ISO is not sexy. It’s a way of documenting and recording how every step in the manufacturing process is performed – so it can be done again and again in exactly the same way. We have two ISO certifications – one for quality (9001) and one for environmental protection (14001.) But, let’s be honest, so what?

We have two ISO certificates – one for quality and one for environmental protection.
But, let’s be honest, so what?

Well let us explain. We work with steel (from the finest Swedish ore to be precise). You may never have thought of this before but steel is actually an organic material. And as with anything organic every piece of steel ever made has its own characteristics – or fingerprint even. ISO helps us keep track of the chemical makeup of every blade we produce – how the processes of hardening, sandblasting, straightening and so on affected the finished product. We also make a note of every machine each blade has been through. The resulting batch code is a full biography of the blade’s manufacture – made on the first shift by Oscar at 2pm on a rainy Tuesday, for example. (Okay, we made up the rainy bit.)

This is the exciting thing about ISO. It enables the traceability to ‘Oscar level’ which in turn means we can guarantee total quality in every single batch to every one of our customers. Far from being the ‘box-ticking’ exercise some people regard ISO as, it is actually a powerful tool to improve manufacturing efficiency, business performance and customer satisfaction.

2. Nobody would miss ISO...
      until it wasn’t there

On the one hand, ISO certification does involve a lot of hard work. Documenting every tiny step of the manufacturing process and quizzing everyone involved to make sure they actually know what the procedures should be. But the real benefits of ISO become apparent once the blade is in the customer’s hands. Without ISO, a customer (and, for that matter, we) could never be sure if the blade they’ve bought is going to last two hours, three, four, five or six. ISO gives us a level of consistency which enables us to say for sure that this blade and the next one and the next one will all perform to the same high quality level.

Consistency is important for customers. It means they can plan ahead with confidence. Their operations will continue without interruption. And they can budget more effectively knowing that their blades are going to do what they promised to do.

Consistency is important for customers. It means they can plan ahead with confidence.

Having quality assured blades is also increasingly important for clients tendering for business. Companies throughout the supply chain are seeing the benefits of ISO to ensure end-to-end quality. Being able to say that blades are sourced from an ISO-certified supplier could be the difference between clinching a deal and losing it.

And of course, consistency in our factory results in efficiencies for us because the manufacturing process just runs more smoothly. Savings we make during manufacture help us keep prices competitive which is good news for everyone.

3. ISO: Why did we bother

We’re a business. Everything we do is driven by passion and solutions. And achieving ISO 14001 certification for environmental protection is no different. By using less water and energy as well as reducing waste, we are contributing to a better environment. But the discipline of identifying manufacturing issues, maintaining smooth production and preventing problems occurring rather than fixing them once they’ve happened, all feed into the creation of a more efficient business. In short, they help us save money. We’re proud of our green credentials but we’re even prouder of being a successful company with green credentials.

We’re proud of our green credentials but we’re even prouder of being a successful company – with green credentials.

Similarly, ISO9001 quality certification encourages us to remain focused. We use optical sensors, for example, to check each blade tooth by tooth. And monitor blades on the production line to tolerances of three microns (a human hair is about 70 microns by the way). Or set up maintenance schedules so that key components are replaced after a certain number of operations. And yes, we photograph almost a million teeth a day to check for the smallest deviations. All these actions keep us on track commercially by delivering efficiency within the factory and customer.

4. ISO and our heritage of      craftsmanship: A perfect fit

You might associate ISO with robotic processes and strict adherence to rigid rules. But it’s precisely because robots could never do what we do that ISO works for us. It is a way of enhancing and passing on the deeply human skills needed to produce high quality saw blades.

Håkansson Sågblad has been making blades for over 75 years. It all started as a family business and has always depended on highly skilled craftsmen creating blades to achieve highly specific cutting objectives – speed, accuracy, ease of use and performance on a wide range of materials.

The attention to detail of our craftsmen is comparable to the granular approach of ISO. Our certifications are actually a way of formalizing that old craftsmanship, literally capturing and documenting 75 years of hard-won experience.

Our new certifications are a way of capturing and documenting 75 years of hard-won experience.

So, as you may have guessed, we are huge fans of ISO. It’s good for us, our products and for our customers. Above all, it is a natural fit with our heritage of craftsmanship and a way of ensuring that there’s that human inspiration in every blade we make.

We put time and effort into our ISO certification because it’s good business. We think our high-quality blades are the result of our craftsman’s skills and the ability to consistently follow best practices. Making such high-quality blades consistently is hard but the end result is worth it. Ultimately, ISO certification is great for our business and it’s also great for our customers.

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