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It’s All in the Details

How IBVI Takes a Collaborative Approach to Quality Assurance

This month we sat down with our Quality System Manager, Pam Paul, to talk about what quality assurance means to us at IBVI.

When asked about our quality assurance capabilities, our confidence comes from the comprehensive quality management system (QMS) we’ve put in place. Here at IBVI, our focus is all about the customer—what they want, the requirements they have, the deadlines they’re up against…we make it our priority. That focus, and the system we have created, feeds into every department. We like to say it this way: At IBVI, quality assurance isn’t solely about the end product; it’s about the team we have and the system we’ve built.

What Quality Control Looks Like to Us

Quality control is like being the conductor of an orchestra. Each instrument is so essential to the overall production as a whole. When all is working together as it should be, it’s a beautiful sound to listen to—or in our case, that’s when we get a good report card.

On the other hand, when challenges arise or things don’t go as planned, quality control is only the consultant, not the solution. That’s where the rest of the team comes in. Our role in quality control is to shine a light on something that needs to be addressed, but from there, we trust in the team and trust in our process for coming up with the right solution.

So what does that team look like at IBVI?

  • Contracting department – Our contracting department handles customer questions, contract due dates, and heads up most of the communications on the customer-facing side.
  • Engineering and Procurement departments – These departments focus on the actual products involved, requirements (like if products need to be made in America, for instance), certificates, compliance, product labels, etc.
  • Quality department – Our quality department handles the visual standards, which are essentially the instructions for each order—where each product is located in the warehouse, its manufacturer part number, our unique IBVI part number, the product’s description, and whether the product is age sensitive (we stock no items with lower than 60% shelf life). These visual standards all go directly to our receiving clerks to verify accuracy of each order. Visual standards are also to ensure proper packing and shipping, as they indicate how the products for each order will be sent or need to travel for each customer/context.

Communication is Key

It’s been said that in quality management systems, “good communication is like the glue holding your teams and systems together.” We couldn’t agree more. That’s why we hold weekly QM meetings every Wednesday. These meetings are cross-departmental, and they give everyone the opportunity to voice any issues they’ve seen popping up along the way. Those issues are then added to our Non-Conformance Report (NCR), which is then broadcast throughout the entire system. Each department gets a copy of this report to ensure we stay proactive in procurement, thorough in communication, and fully aware of what’s ahead.

Navigating Change

If there’s one thing we can be sure of, it’s that changes will come. Like the old adage says, “change is the only constant in life”. When changes occur in the products we source, there are considerable ripple effects that take place. For instance, all of our sub-assemblies are affected. Packing trays are also affected, so suppliers for these trays need to be notified so they can give us new foam inserts to secure shipping and handling. Additionally, new documents with changes and updates are communicated throughout our QMS. These are standard procedures that take place because we always want to remain cohesive through change.

Celebrating Success

Whenever a team member catches something or identifies an issue, we make a point to communicate this to our HR team to make sure they are commended. This recognition goes a long way. We’ve learned that people truly feel valued and appreciated when recognized for their efforts. This may be as simple as a call out and a $25 gift card. It doesn’t need to be over the top or excessive, but people are genuinely encouraged and excited when they feel appreciated, and having employees who feel fulfilled and valued is very important to us.

It’s important because they are the experts. We trust them to do what they do best. If something looks wrong or looks out of place, we encourage our employees to speak up. We strive to maintain an “open door” leadership policy. If you see something, say something. Recently, we promoted one of our employees from our kitting team to join our quality control team. For us, it was a win/win and we knew it would benefit the system as a whole. They were a strong communicator, plus they had experience working on the floor and on the assembly side of the process. This means that they know what is needed and the types of changes that can help workers be more successful. Bringing them aboard the quality control team was a way to make sure their goal of advancing in the company was fulfilled, that they felt valued and appreciated, and that our quality control team would be strengthened by their presence.

Contact Us

Our mission is to find and create jobs for blind and visually impaired workers. We believe that everyone has a voice, and we want to be able to provide the right accommodations for our employees to help them reach their fullest potential. They matter, and our work at IBVI matters. Our employee Matt Baumeister said it best in his quote about serving our military. “One of my favorite parts of my job is assembling tool kits for the military. Since I can’t serve in the military because of my eyesight, this is about as close as I can ever come, from a support standpoint.” His heartfelt words tie perfectly into the quality of work we provide and the quality assurance you can expect when partnering with IBVI. It’s all in the details.

For more information, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Quality Assurance You Can Trust

Since the government uses tactical items like these to support their military missions, we take extra steps to ensure we offer high quality products. Sending our service members into the field with only top-quality, authorized items is our primary focus, and we take pride in what we do to support our troops.

IBVI will always keep its customers compliant with both the Berry Amendment and the TAA Act. The Berry Amendment requires certain items be manufactured 100% in the USA. Additionally, the TAA (Trade Agreement Act) mandates that the products are manufactured in countries that we hold a Trade Agreement with.

Dual Sourcing for Reliability and Confidence

Our commitment to providing the highest-quality tactical gear for our customers involves a dual-sourcing strategy from both the Government—specifically the Defense Logistics Agency—and vetted commercial suppliers. This effort not only allows us to meet the specific needs of the military, but also offers our customers a wide range of available products at all times. By thoroughly screening and evaluating our suppliers, we guarantee that every piece of equipment meets our stringent standards for quality and accuracy. Rest assured, when you partner with IBVI, you are choosing reliability, precision, and the confidence that your tactical gear is only sourced from trusted channels within the industry. And in addition to quality and compliance, working with IBVI helps provide meaningful employment to those who are blind or visually impaired. To learn more about our IBVI product offerings, visit


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