Sears, Roebuck and Co. (NYSE: S) today announced another quality milestone for its Product Repair Services group as its Fontana, Calif., 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.
"Through extraordinary commitment to process quality and operational discipline, the Fontana product repair center has achieved this important certification," said Mark Good, President, Product Repair Services for Sears HomeCentral®. "In the Fontana center, our process compliance through ISO 9002 efforts has resulted in shorter turnaround times for our customers, higher quality repairs and improved total customer satisfaction."
Good was joined by Dan Colbert, Vice President, Performance Engineering and Carry-In for Sears HomeCentral, at the Fontana facility today to present the ISO registration certificate and congratulate the team on their achievement. Colbert, who joined Sears last July from General Electric, is responsible for the nationwide Sears Carry-In product repair centers as well as the Six Sigma and ISO quality initiatives at Sears HomeCentral.
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.
"The ISO 9002 Certification also will enable us to attract more third- party business, since many of our prospective partners also are certified," added Good. "We now speak the same language regarding quality and service. The same great service quality we provide to our retail customers can now be offered to third-party commercial customers."
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 began to apply manufacturing quality techniques to the carry-in repair process last year. Associates from the facility trained on ISO requirements as well as how to implement and "self monitor" compliance to the ISO standard.
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.
The Fontana service center handles 10 "carry-in" 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, Roebuck and Co., 847-286-9669