January 25, 2022

ABOUT CARMECO. The town of Lebanon in central Missouri is home to this constantly growing stamping and metal fabrication company. From its humble beginnings in 1970, Carmeco has grown to become an industry leading supplier of parts and components for some of the biggest names in the automotive industry. They also serve a variety of OEM niches that require extremely high quality and precision from their suppliers. Focused relentlessly on service and manufacturing excellence, Carmeco has grown into a 98,000 square foot facility producing millions of products every month. Their tenacious attitude for continuous improvement and growth has made them a recognized player in the domestic metal fabrication industry.

THE CHALLENGE. As a leading supplier to the automotive industry, Carmeco has operated under the ISO 9001:2016 standard for years. Demands for even greater excellence from OEM’s, combined with Carmeco’s dedication to profitable growth, meant they needed to adopt the IATF 16949 international standard for quality management. “Our biggest customer wanted to step up their game so we needed to do the same by adding IATF 16949 to our quality management system,” says Donti Hawkins, Vice President of Operations. “We didn’t have the expertise we needed on staff, and we didn’t have a clue on specific areas we needed to improve to meet this very challenging standard, so we turned to our go-to resource for such challenges – Missouri Enterprise.”

MEP CENTER’S ROLE. Missouri Enterprise had worked with Carmeco on continuous improvement projects many times over the years, so they were well prepared to step in and conduct an IATF 16949:2016 Gap Analysis to help them identify areas for improvement to meet the stringent guidelines of the standard. Missouri Enterprise’s Project Manager came on site and interviewed key personnel, reviewed existing quality management practices and went through a checklist of items that differentiated the IATF standard from ISO 9001. The review focused on many areas of Carmeco’s operation, including defect prevention, product variation and waste reduction, equipment calibration processes and more. He also reviewed the company’s Statistical Process Control (SPC) methods, which are integral to their quality management system. The result was a detailed directional report and consultations that illustrated what the Project Manager referred to as “the dreaded shalls”, those things which must be done to succeed in their IATF certification journey.

“As a small manufacturing business, Missouri Enterprise is our go-to partner for resources we don’t have on staff. They’ve been there for us for years on numerous projects, always bringing amazing expertise when we need it. Our people are always eager to jump in when Missouri Enterprise is here because they know we’ve brought in the best to help.”     Donti Hawkins, Vice President of Operations


  • $1,500,000 increased investment in the plant and equipment.
  • $1,000,000 in increased sales.
  • $100,000 increased investment in products and processes.
  • $100,000 investment in workforce and employee skills.
  • $100,000 in cost savings.
  • $50,000 increased investment in information systems/software.
  • 30 jobs retained.
  • 6 new jobs created.