SANTA ROSA -- Datum Technologies has spent close to half a million dollars forging a mighty sword. Now the 15-employee precision machining and manufacturing company is going after big game: giant aerospace companies and their suppliers.
Three years of meticulous documentation and employee training to win both the ISO and the highly coveted AS9100C (aerospace) certifications, followed by the purchase of new machinery and physical expansion has readied Datum Tech for a surge of high tech orders. Will the gamble pay off?
[caption id="attachment_95451" align="alignright" width="315"] Analisa and Richard Hunt have spent three years certifying Datum Technologies.[/caption]
Analisa and Richard Hunt say the five new customers they've picked up in the year since becoming certified have already helped to offset their costs, which were considerable.
"We spent approximately $50,000 towards the certifications, counting the cost of each, consulting fees and man-hours," said Analisa Hunt, CEO. She brought on new staff to help with documenting every process, from initial requests for proposal through purchase orders, supply procurement, production, outsourcing, quality control and product shipping.
"Everything has to be traceable, every action has to be best practice. It's ongoing," she said, adding that the company just passed its first yearly AS9100/ISO 9001:2008 surveillance audit with flying colors.
The couple, former Hewlett Packard employees, started their own precision machining/manufacturing company in 1993 and had to close it down after (Sept. 11, 2001), the meltdown of the economy and the outsourcing overseas of Agilent's manufacturing operations. This time around, they're focused on customer diversification.
"We knew we didn't want to be tied to one customer or one industry, to go down with it if it sank," said Mrs. Hunt.
With the semiconductor, oil and energy, automotive and medical systems industries in mind, they pursued ISO certification but found doors in the aerospace sector were still closed to them.