Stern Rubber completed its Registration Audit for registration to TS 16949:2009 on June 23rd. The company has been registered to ISO 9001:2008 for 3 years, so also went through its annual surveillance audit for that standard. This audit was completed by Eagle Registrations, Inc. Completing this audit was a relief as it came after many months of preparation.
The audit found several minor findings, but no major findings. The company is in the process of submitting corrective actions for the minor findings, but fully expects to be registered to TS 16949:2009 by the fall of 2016.
Getting registered to TS 16949:2009, was the first step in the company’s journey to enter the automotive industry. Stern Rubber was purchased by Zhongli Corporation in
October of 2015. Zhongli is a leading global provider of vehicle parts that is based in Shanghai, China, and does all of its manufacturing in China. Their purchase of Stern Rubber is the first step in their strategy to establish a manufacturing presence in North America, and to expand their customer base to the North American automotive industry.
Zhongli currently has a Technical Center in Madison Heights, Michigan, and a parts storage and re-packaging warehouse in Troy, Michigan, from which they support customers in North America with parts that are produced in China.
The next steps for Stern Rubber include expanding their facilities in Aitkin, Minnesota and Staples, Minnesota to add space for additional equipment and processes. The Aitkin expansion is in process, with ground breaking planned for July. The Staples expansion is also being planned and is expected to be kicked off in the fall of 2016, or the spring of 2017.