Quality shift pays off for Millipore

A culture shift underway since 2003 at life sciences technology provider Millipore (MIL) is yielding big benefits, the company says. It has become both proactive and data-driven, with an emphasis on quality, and Six Sigma Green Belts at every location.

Since the shift, Millipore's Jaffrey, NH, manufacturing site has realized savings of $8.5 million, thanks to statistical process control systems and continuous in-process monitoring, says Peter Eichert, corporate quality systems manager. "We're making an investment in QA now, compared to an emphasis on QC before. Our quality systems were archaic, paper-based. They were site specific and not linked. We were compliance challenged."

Eichert was one of several speakers at a gathering of about 75 people, mostly customers, who made the trek to an open house at the facility in the New Hampshire woods, roughly 80 miles northwest of Boston.

Since the shift, says Eichert, on-time shipments at the site have risen to 85 percent from 62 percent. Findings per audit have dropped to 1.7 per inspection from 3.6.

"We invested $10 million in automated Part 11 compliance systems since 2005," says Eichert. Pilgrim has been a software supplier during that period. An additional $2.5 million investment is planned for 2010, with the emphasis on change control linked to QDS and on labeling.

- see our earlier Millipore coverage