Bullard Abrasives, Inc. Uses Polaris MEP to Cut Through Competition

“Our management team was so impressed with the results of our partnerships with (Polaris MEP) and Mr. Gilheeney that we immediately committed to another project for 5S Lean Manufacturing,” Pickell said. “We are expecting results from 5S to be similar to what was achieved with ISO and will explore other (Polaris MEP) programs to give us the direction to be globally competitive.”

Craig Pickell, President


In order to become certified, Bullard needed to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide product that meets both customer, and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, and enhancement of customer satisfaction through the application of systems including processes for continual improvement and assurance of conformity to those requirements.

In December 2007, Polaris MEP began turning Bullard’s wheels to become certified. The company did a full assessment of the business. Once completed, Bullard refined its mission, goals and objectives and had a clear picture of where it was heading.

“From there we put every operation under the microscope and crafted new or revised instructions and measurements for all the processes,” Pickell said. “At the core of this was the involvement of every member of our employee family, thus in a sense this was a grass roots transition from the traditions of the past to the new and enlightened age of top-notch quality management and innovation.”

The process to receive certification took nearly 18 months, according to Bullard.


  • “With the dedication and assistance of our Polaris MEP consultant, Mr. John Gilheeney, we achieved our goal on May 20, 2009,” Pickell said. With ISO certification in hand, Bullard was able to secure a global sourcing contract with a large, international construction company and solidify relationships with several major original equipment manufacturers.

    “In addition to our commercial success we enjoyed a new level of employee enthusiasm for total quality and recorded noticeable improvements in operating efficiency and scrap reduction throughout our operation,” Pickell said.

    Bullard is experiencing steady growth in a declining market, making a significant investment in automation, and realizing operating efficiency improvements through lean manufacturing programs.