PolyOne, a global compounding and North American distribution company, was looking for a way to cut waste in support of cost containment programs. With an abundance of manual and duplicate processes, quality and compliance were identified as areas that could be targeted. Case in point: the cost of ISO 9000 registration was large, and headquarters told their registrar that they wanted a single corporate registration, thus replacing all individual plant registrations.
The registrar responded that it was impossible to issue a corporate certificate because the plants did not have common processes. The new standards required a process approach, not simply the same quality binder across plants. PolyOne reviewed the SAP Quality Module, but it did not have enough depth to meet the registrar’s requirements. They continued to look for a solution to streamline nonconformance and compliance.
The Challenge“Prior to implementing the IQS software, we had 27 facilities operating independently with no enterprise-wide system to tie them together,” said Joe Smith, director of Continuous Improvement at PolyOne. “Each location had independent tracking systems, such as electronic or hard-copy files, making it difficult to address nonconformance issues.”
PolyOne needed to accomplish two things simultaneously. First, they needed to centralize and streamline the way they handled nonconformances and corrective actions. The information changed hands too many times and was held in too many places. Second, they needed traceability of the process to meet compliance standards, and provide a cohesive corporate process for the registrar to certify.
Their first step was to look to their ERP vendor, SAP, for a solution. After reviewing SAP’s quality module, PolyOne found that although it had basic functionality, it did not have the detail or the connectivity to accomplish their business or compliance goals.
PolyOne’s second step was to ask IT to integrate the four-eight stand-alone applications that were being used at the time to manage different aspects of nonconformances and corrective actions at the plant. IT did not have time for a large-scale integration effort, so PolyOne turned to an evaluation of leading commercial quality-management software packages. PolyOne needed a package that could be deployed quickly, across many locations, with little or no IT resources. They also needed a product that was fully compliant with ISO 9000’s new process-oriented requirements.
The IQS SolutionPolyOne chose the IQS OnDemand solution to meet all their needs. IQS OnDemand enabled overnight implementation at multiple sites without adding IT resources and implementation costs to their budget. The OnDemand strategy also reduced long-term maintenance costs and allowed them to quickly scale usage. Further, the IQS solution that they chose was part of a larger enterprise quality solution. The plan was to extend their streamlining and savings to all quality areas, from engineering and employee training to skills management.
“Implementing the IQS software provided us an immediate ROI,” said Smith. “In the past, an on-site quality process audit was conducted for our 27 facilities each year, and sometimes twice a year. After going live with the IQS software, we saw a savings of over $155,000 in audit processing costs in the first year alone. Because the data no longer resides in silos, auditors have access to live, real-time data across our entire enterprise by way of a computer.”
“Now, nonconformance is no longer an issue,” Smith added. “With our enterprise-wide view into operations and access to real-time defensible data, we can analyze all nonconformance risks and develop a way to address issues, from a corporate vs. local level, before they happen. We know at all times where we stand in terms of quality and compliance.”
For more information on IQS, visit www.iqs.com.