The Groves Center enabled Humphrey Products to emerge from the economic downturn stronger and in new markets, thanks to broad, big-idea training.
Humphrey Products manufactures pneumatic valves and actuators for both the fluid power and fluid control industries. A 110 year-old-company, its market is extremely diverse, and Humphrey supplies a broad range of industries. Among them: basic industrial machines, material handling devices, sophisticated conveyor systems and, most recently, medical devices and controls.
The push toward productivity and cost reduction in the early 2000s sent many of Humphrey’s customers looking for offshore parts sourcing. Humphrey’s markets were quickly commoditizing. By the economic downturn of 2008, the company needed to find new products to supply. It needed specialty products in markets that valued the superior design and production quality Humphrey was known for. Humphrey targeted expansion in the medical device market. To effectively compete, it sought ISO 13485 certification ―a quality standard specific to the medical device market. This standard would differentiate them from other suppliers, but it also required retooling the company’s quality compliance infrastructure. ISO certification requires extensive training to assure regulatory compliance company-wide. This meant Humphrey faced two roadblocks: developing the training program and paying for a program it hadn’t budgeted for. The Groves helped with both. In less than four months they identified grant opportunities to pay for the training and then ―after Humphrey secured the monies ―developed a comprehensive and customized program.
Training was intensive and primarily targeted to engineering, manufacturing and quality control. But ISO compliance touches all aspects of the company and that meant teaching every employee about the differences between ISO 9000 for manufacturing and ISO 13485 for the medical device market.
Before the Groves Center training helped Humphrey achieve ISO 13485 certification, the medical device market was 15% of its business. After certification that number doubled to 30% ―a figure that is constantly growing.
Dave Maurer, Vice President of Operations and Chief Financial Officer
We’re a small company. We knew we couldn’t develop the training ourselves. The experts at the Groves Center understand the challenges of small business and were proactive about helping us.
During a difficult economic time, training helped us retrench. With it, we achieved ISO certification in the medical device market, which differentiated us from our competitors. As a result, we came out of the recession stronger than ever.
The Groves Center worked with us and found a trainer that fit well with our culture and our employees. Part of the success of our training came from the chemistry our staff had with their trainer.
The trainer did a good job of customizing the program to the specific needs of our compliance group before we started.
The Groves Center was ―and remains ―a great resource for us. Earlier, the Groves Center team helped us convert to Lean Manufacturing, which also made us a more competitive company.
This was broad, big-idea training helped us compete more effectively.