DAYTON, Tenn. — Nokian Tyres P.L.C. recently marked a pair of milestones at its U.S. tire plant — one year of operation without a lost-time injury and achieving ISO9001 certification.
The safety record dates back to the first day of trial production at the facility, Nokian said.
With social distancing in place, the more than 100 employees at the facility celebrated the accomplishment and signed a banner commemorating the achievement.
Darren Bakkestuen, health and safety manager at the Dayton factory, said he was proud of his team's accomplishment and is eager to continue it.
"We plan to continue producing some of the safest tires in the market by employing a safety mindset in all of our operations," Mr. Bakkestuen said.
The Dayton factory earned ISO 9001 certification recently just six months after opening its doors, Nokian said, "validating its strong set of quality management practices."
Nokian said the achievement affirms its rigorous quality management processes at the facility, enabling it to produce "premium products that meet the demanding needs of North American drivers."
Nokian began the audit process immediately after opening the factory. While ISO 9001 certification is not uncommon, the company said that earning it so quickly after construction is noteworthy.
The process includes audits by an independent, external certification body and by internal staff trained for the process. All three of Nokian Tyres' factories have achieved ISO 9001 certification.
Glenn Kilgore, quality system coordinator at the plant, said the audit "reflects the successful processes we've put in place. An experienced auditor certified that our quality management system resembles that of a much older operation."
The company said it is proud of its commitment to better the Southeast Tennessee community — it awarded its first set of Nokian Tyres Scholarships to two Southeast Tennessee students in June, part of what the company said is a big effort "to strengthen education and promote sustainability in the region."
Rhea County High School graduates Saeri Goins and Crista Brumberlow were selected for the awards because of each's passion for environmental sustainability.
The students will each receive one-time scholarships, which are part of Nokian's Road to Sustainable Success, a three-pronged initiative to support education, fund scholarships and advocate for sustainability in Southeast Tennessee.
Ms. Brumberlow plans to attend the University of Tennessee at Martin, where she will pursue a STEM-related major.