Case Study – ISO 9001 & TL 9000 Certification – RAD Data Communication

“Using the Pinnacle Lean QMS® provided checks and measures to help us do what we were already doing well, and offered us ways of doing things we hadn’t previously considered.”

Don Swanerbury, Operations Quality Coordinator

Outcome:     RAD Data Communications, Inc. uses Pinnacle’s Lean QMS® methodology to achieve TL 9000 and ISO 9001 certification, build a practical and efficient business operating system, and lay a solid foundation for continual improvement.

Industry:      Telecommunication, electronics


  • Make TL 9000 and ISO 9001 implementation simple, practical, and efficient.
  • Create sustainable business management system platform.
  • Create sustainable foundation for continuous improvement.
  • Dispel misconceptions of the complexity of quality management systems documentation.



  • Processes that were previously successful are now visible to everyone.
  • Gaps, inefficiencies, and opportunities are now visible to everyone.
  • The impact of change is now easily visualized and understood by all.
  • External customer requirements seamlessly integrated with business processes.

A Vision Beyond TL 9000 Certification

RAD Data Communications is a worldwide manufacturer of network access solutions that serves both service providers and enterprise end users.  The company focuses on growth technologies such as Ethernet access, cellular backhaul, and voice optimization, as well as traditional legacy technologies.  RAD’s North American entity, RAD Inc. markets the company’s extensive catalog to customers while also developing customized solutions.

As a key supplier to the telecommunications industry, achieving TL 9000 certification was a business necessity for RAD Inc.  TL 9000 is the telecommunications industry’s enhancement of ISO 9001.  It is arguably the most robust and onerous of all industry-specific quality management system standards.  TL 9000 contains more than double the requirements of ISO 9001, including ongoing data collection and reporting.  The magnitude of the task was not lost on RAD’s leadership, but they also saw TL 9000 implementation as an opportunity to develop a formal value-added quality management system.

Defining a Path for Success

As a certified quality engineer, Peter Kucharik, RAD Inc.’s VP of Operations, knew that four factors would be critical for achieving TL 9000 certification with a value added quality system:

  1. adopting a practical and efficient approach to applying TL 9000 requirements and maintaining certification,
  2. finding the right partner to assist with the implementation and certification project,
  3. engaging key staff members to take ownership of the system, and
  4. dispelling everyone’s misconceptions and concerns.

Even though RAD already had a culture of using systems and metrics, some in the company expressed concern that the TL 9000 implementation process could get bogged down and the project could “drag on” for many months, even years.  Others worried that the resulting system would be a bloated documentation bureaucracy.  Although everyone felt the company was good at developing efficient processes, there was initial anxiety surrounding the task of documenting them and the ongoing activity required to keep the documentation current.  Pinnacle Enterprise Group’s Lean QMS® actually enabled RAD to dispel these concerns and develop an efficient, simple, usable system.

Simplicity for Implementation and Operational Use

RAD Inc. evaluated many different options before selecting Pinnacle Enterprise Group as their TL 9000 implementation and certification partner.  “We were not only looking for something with an easy implementation path,” stated Kucharik.  “It also needed to be easy to maintain.  When we saw the entire quality manual on one page in the Pinnacle system, we knew there would be advantages for us.”

Don Swanerbury, RAD Inc.’s Operations Quality Coordinator and Lead Internal Auditor remarked upon his first exposure to Pinnacle’s Lean QMS® how seeing the entire system defined with process maps “just blew (him) away.”  He and others felt that having the entire quality management system on one screen and all the processes hyperlinked is what makes the system really usable on a daily basis.  This kind of team member response to the Lean QMS® helped change an anxious start into a unified implementation effort.

The Lean QMS® allowed Kucharik to avoid the management-heavy bureaucracy that is all too common to TL 9000 and ISO 9001 implementation.  He was able to build unity within the leadership team, while keeping all activities and communication decentralized throughout the project.  The Lean QMS® supported participation which led to buy-in at all levels of the company.  Kucharik’s ability to organically integrate the Lean QMS® created a high value business management tool without disruption to daily operations or company culture.

The timeline from the initial kick-off with Pinnacle’s President, Kirill Liberman, to TL 9000 and ISO 9001 certification by NSAI with no nonconformances took only seven months.  The team members even recall the auditor being impressed with how straightforward the TL 9000 quality management system is using the Lean QMS®.  The 3 year re-certification to TL 9000 and ISO 9001 also transpired with no nonconformances, proving that RAD Data Communications, Inc. had accomplished its objectives of achieving TL 9000 certification and developing a practical, efficient, and sustainable business system.

Enhanced Customer Service and Purchasing

One of the biggest unanticipated benefits for the business, beyond TL 9000 certification, was the way the Lean QMS®, transparently supports continual improvement.  Explains Kucharik, “when the organization is forced into a structured system, it allows it to reinvent itself in different areas.  Even if the reinvention is only slight, the system identifies both redundancies and gaps.”

Among these reinventions, the company developed a system to control external documents.  This is important for the business because many RAD activities are driven by customer requirements.  The solutions produced by the company must meet strict specifications, many of which are documented first by customers and prospects.  RAD is known for its success in meeting and exceeding customer requirements as well as excellent and timely responsiveness and thorough communication.  But prior to using the Lean QMS®, the company never had the opportunity to visualize these activities, document them, reproduce their positive aspects and tweak their less efficient ones.

Customer Service Manager Erin Fallon, a member of the implementation team, comments, “The system really didn’t make things more complex like some thought it might.  It actually made them easier.”

Fallon also cites a new process that was developed as part of the Lean QMS® to evaluate suppliers in purchasing, which has given the company opportunities to improve procurement and reduce costs.  “This really wouldn’t have come up if we had not gone through the TL 9000 implementation,” she remarks.

The Lean QMS® quickly became a tool relied upon for driving RAD Data Communications, Inc.’s continual improvements.  This helps people at all levels of the company to see the benefits of TL 9000 and ISO 9001 implementation.  “The system helps us identify things we are already doing well,” notes Kucharik.  “Now people can see why we do them well.  The visibility is good for everyone involved in making changes to meet customer demands.”

4 Responses to “Case Study – ISO 9001 & TL 9000 Certification – RAD Data Communication”

  1. mike harris says:

    Very helpful case study. It is good to read about a company that did more with ISO 9001/TL 9000 certification than create a bunch of documents. I would like to read more stories like this.


  2. Kirill says:

    Good to see you back on the Blog, Mike. I am really glad that you found this case study helpful. I plan on publishing customer case studies regularly. The next one will feature the ISO 9001 certification journey of Scripps Laboratories. It will highlight how ISO 9001 implementation benefits in a traditionally academic and regulated environment. I hope you will come back to comment on it. I value your input.

  3. Sam Shetman says:

    I like the unexpected benefit example of this ISO 9001/TL 9000 certification. Most info on the web is just a sales pitch. This customer story helps see how ISO can be used to do some good. May be useful for some managers and executives so they can get the bigger picture.

  4. Kirill says:

    Welcome to the Blog, Sam. Thank you for your comments.

    Indeed, my purpose for publishing case studies and articles is to educate key decision makers (aka managers & executives) about the true value and potential of implementing an ISO 9001 QMS. ISO 9001 Certification is great, but it can be so much more than a pretty certificate. I am really gratified that you picked up on this.

    I hope you will come back to this blog and provide more input.

Leave a Reply