In 2003 Marshall Plastic, a manufacturing company, became ISO-certified. Eight years later when I was hired in 2011 as Quality Director there were several major issues despite annual ISO and Pharma audits.

There had been a turnover of two quality managers resulting in terrible quality, high customer returns and high scrap rates. Adding to the company’s difficulties were excessive employee turnover and extremely low employee morale.

Trying to get to the root of the problems I began by interviewing the three most experienced shop floor supervisors. I asked Daryl, who had been there 39 years, how he made a certain product. The procedures he described disagreed with the written work instructions.

Then I interviewed Don, with 25 years of experience, and asked him how he made that product. He made it differently than Daryl and the work instructions.
Then I talked with Bob, who had 22 years of experience, and asked him how he made that product. He made it differently than Daryl and Don and the work instructions.

It was obvious we had a huge problem.

I checked on prices of quality and learning systems and they were $30,000 and up to do what I needed done, which was way beyond our price range.
So I went to an old friend Jeff Honeyager and explained my dilemma to him. Jeff had developed computer systems for many years. He came back with a series of modules now known as Conformance Portal employee and management engagement system.

Conformance Portal did such a great job of engaging and testing employees we actually had to slow people down from getting ahead and taking tests from home (at no charge to the company because they could do them at home computer or smart phone). In addition Conformance Portal recorded “hands on” training results.
The results were remarkable:
  • Reduced customer returns for yearly savings of $144,000
  • Reduced scrap for yearly savings of $160,000
  • Cut employee turnover by 40%
  • Over five years profit increased 10-fold
  • Profit-sharing started; morale went up