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Parts maker recognized by Ford

Posted: January 21, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 21, 2012 1:55 a.m.

AVK Industrial Products employees hold up a banner from Ford Motor Co. at AVK headquarters in Valencia on Thursday.

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AVK Industrial Products, a Santa Clarita-based threaded-fastener manufacturer for the automotive and aerospace industries, was awarded a Q1 certification from the Ford Motor Co. on Thursday. The Q1 designation is Ford’s highest recognition of superior supplier quality.

Ford executive Tom Favenyesi awarded AVK executives and employees with a plaque of excellence as a Tier 1 supplier in quality, manufacturing, service and for setting up an electronic data interchange system with Ford.

“I’m presenting the Q1 award on behalf of Ford Motor Co. to thank you for your dedication to excellence,” said Favenyesi, supplier technical assistance engineer from Dearborn, Mich.

Being honored with a Q1 certification means AVK is a preferred global supplier to Ford Motor Co. and meets certifications and enhancements beyond the industry’s standard requirements.

“It took us two years to get this award,” said James Lawrence, director of sales and marketing for AVK.

Among other requirements, being a certified global supplier to Ford means being integrated with Ford online and monitoring orders throughout the day, each day.

Connected with all Ford facilities, AVK sends out daily shipments of fasteners for vehicles to plants around the world.

Gathering at the company’s two plants, which occupy about 80,000 square feet in the Valencia Industrial Center, about 70 employees celebrated the presentation of the Q1 award.

“We are proud to be a Tier 1 supplier of excellence to Ford Motor Co.,” said Dan Welter, senior vice president and general manager of AVK Industrial Products, Avibank Manufacturing and Avibank Services.

AVK is a division of the Avibank companies, located in North Hollywood, which employ some 400 people. Together, the companies manufacture fasteners, inserts, studs, compression limiters, installation tools and military standard bolts.

“Our Q1 certification is a testament to the hard work and commitment our AVK Team has invested in Ford,” Welter said.

 

Long journey

AVK first began working with Ford in 1999 but supplied its parts through a competitor. In 2004, the company began supplying fasteners through another company, and in 2008, Ford asked AVK to become a direct supplier.

AVK next embarked on a nearly two-year journey to meet Ford’s quality requirements and spent the last six months setting up the fully integrated electronic data exchange system.

Two employees who helped AVK reached Q1 status received special recognition. Gabriela Thomas, quality liaison, put together the documentation to qualify; and Irina Goldman, management information systems specialist, spent six months putting together the electronic data interchange system required by Ford.

The Q1 designation represents AVK’s ability to consistently deliver fasteners to any Ford plant in the word and to meet a 100-percent delivery record.

It all starts on the shop floor, making the product correctly, predicting what Ford will need, anticipating demand and meeting the needs on a daily basis by packaging the products and getting them out on a truck, Welter said.

 

Industry growth

“We’re the only Q1 provider in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Gundy Tollefson, general manager.

Domestic automotive manufacturing is growing again, and Ford is doing better than many of the other manufacturers, Tollefson said. AVK, which once struggled against competition from China, now sees its business growing again because Ford recognized the quality of AVK’s products.

AVK agrees to stringent penalties under the program, for not having product available, but it’s also a very good partner, he said.

“Ford treats us well. They don’t beat us up on prices, in exchange for quality, service and delivery,” Tollefson said. “Initially, there was concern of a big, monster company like Ford, but they went out of their way to help us.”

“It’s a great day for AVK,” Lawrence said. “We’re all here because of Ford and our core values. And the quality of our products keeps us moving forward.”

AVK Industrial Products opened locally in 1983, and at one point, it had as many as 125 employees, but Lawrence said the company is growing again, making parts for the automotive and heavy-truck market.

Precision Castparts Corp., an S&P 500 company based in Portland, Ore., eventually acquired AVK Industrial Products.

Precision’s stock last traded at $177 per share on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.

A Precision executive had planned to join in the AVK celebration was unable to make it due to the snowstorm that hit the Northwest this week.

After the award event, employees were treated to a catered lunch, served by executives of the company.

“We’re only as good as our people,” Tollefson said.

AVK Industrial Products is located at 25323 Rye Canyon Road, Valencia and can be reached at (661) 257-2329. More information can be found online at www.avkfasteners.com.

jadkins@the-signal.com

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