Sears, Roebuck and Co. (NYSE: S) today announced another quality milestone for its product repair centers as its Fontana facility received certification to the International Standards Organization (ISO) 9002 Quality Systems Standard. Sears is among the first appliance service providers in the U.S. to achieve ISO 9002 classification.
"All of our associates in Fontana played integral roles in achieving this certification and their dedication to process quality and operational discipline resulted in this industry leading classification," said Jim Gauntt, Quality Manager for the Fontana facility. "By practicing the ISO 9002 standard at our facility, we now have shorter turnaround times for our customers, higher quality repairs and proven customer satisfaction."
Gauntt was joined by Sears executives Mark Good, President, Product Repair Services for Sears HomeCentral®, and Dan Colbert, Vice President, Performance Engineering and Carry-In for Sears HomeCentral, at the Fontana facility earlier today to present the ISO registration certificate and congratulate the team on their achievement.
ISO 9002 is a state-of-the-art international guideline for quality systems and describes 20 system elements that are necessary for providing exceptional quality, customer satisfaction, continuous improvements and defect prevention. Companies that are registered to ISO 9002 have proven that their systems, practices and procedures have the essential elements to offer "world class" quality.
"As one of the first centralized repair centers within the Sears network, Fontana has a proven history of continually looking for ways to improve our customer service," added Gauntt. "Our location in the heart of the Inland Empire assures that we'll be able to continue servicing a wide range of product repairs for a large geographic area."
The goal of the ISO 9002 effort is described in the Sears Quality Policy of the Fontana facility: "To consistently perform quality repairs that meet the commitment we've made to our customers: repaired when promised, fixed right the first time, knowledgeable and courteous service, Satisfaction Guaranteed."
The ISO certification effort is part of the Sears Product Repair Services strategy to improve repair quality, timeliness and consistency in order to increase customer satisfaction. The Fontana facility, which is located at 14650 Miller Avenue, began to apply manufacturing quality techniques to the carry-in repair process last year. The product repair center located in Chattanooga, Tenn., -- the first facility in the Sears network to address this issue -- was registered as ISO 9002 compliant in March 2000. Sears plans to expand the ISO 9002 certification initiative to additional facilities this year, with the goal of having all product repair centers registered by 2002.
Gauntt has 20 years experience in quality systems and change management primarily in the aerospace industry. He joined Sears to lead the Fontana ISO registration and trained the team of associates from the facility on the ISO requirements as well as how to implement and "self monitor" compliance to the ISO standard.
The Fontana service center handles 10 product repair lines for California, Nevada and Arizona supporting 145 Sears Full-line and Dealer stores. Its 300 associates completed over 230,000 repairs last year. Products repaired at the facility include TVs, VCRs, sound systems, camcorders, microwaves and sewing machines, as well as floor care and lawn and garden equipment. The goal for product repair completion is a maximum of 48 hours, with a benchmark of seven days or less set for the entire process.
Sears HomeCentral is the nation's largest home repair provider in terms of the number of home repair specialists, with more than 12,000 trained technicians making approximately 14 million repairs annually. Sears trained repair specialists make over 200,000 in-home repair visits per week and repair one out of every five appliances serviced in America. Sears technicians service most major brands no matter where the customer purchased the product.
Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading U.S. retailer of apparel, home and automotive products and services, with annual revenue of nearly $40 billion. The company serves families across the country through approximately 860 department stores, more than 2,100 specialized retail locations, and a variety of online offerings accessible through the company's Web site, http://www.sears.com/ .
SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck and Co.
Contact: Edgar P. McDougal of Sears, 847-286-9669