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EASE Announces 2021 ‘Champions for Quality’ Winners

Global manufacturers and quality professionals demonstrate commitment to continuous improvement

Published: Thursday, December 16, 2021 - 13:00

(EASE: Mission Viejo, CA) -- Ease Inc., a leading provider in plant floor audits and insights software for manufacturers, has announced the 2021 Champions for Quality Award winners. In this fourth year of the awards there were a record number of nominations from across multiple countries and continents.

Often quality professionals don’t get much attention until something goes wrong: a rise in defects, scrap or re-work, a major quality escape or customer complaint. The Champions for Quality Awards aim to recognize the people who are behind building a culture of quality and building long-lasting quality processes which positively impact the bottom line.

The Champions for Quality Awards combine public award nominations from manufacturers around the world with insight-driven awards from the EASE plant floor audit platform. The awards recognize individuals, specific manufacturing facilities, and entire organizations across a range of categories.

The 2021 awards consist of a total of nine awards. Four category winners were chosen from public nominations and a further four category winners were selected based on plant audit data from the EASE audits and insights platform over the past 12 months. In addition, a new Outstanding Contributions to Quality award was introduced to recognize an organization that has demonstrated exceptional performance in quality. This year’s awards highlight those who have contributed to quality programs like layered process audits, operational excellence, and lean initiatives.

“Manufacturing quality professionals are amongst the most committed and passionate employees within manufacturing and being able to recognize them in this small way is one of the highlights of our year at Ease,” says Eric Stoop, CEO of Ease. “There are some incredible stories of business transformation amongst this year’s winners such as plants with poor quality being recognized as quality leaders by their customers and the industry. Congratulations to you all and keep doing what you are doing!”

2021 Champions for Quality Winners

The following are this year’s winners by category:

Ambassador: Ambassadors are known for fostering a culture of quality at their manufacturing plants with layered process audits and other quality initiatives.
Winner: Itze Porras, Valeo (Juarez, Mexico) 

Influencer: Influencers have dedicated their careers to training leaders and influencing quality on a global scale.
Winner: Dorian Ross, Yanfeng (McCalla, AL)
Honorable Mentions:
Danijela Zupanic, HBPO (Ontario, Canada)
Charity Andrews, SRG Global, LLC (Kentucky, USA)

Leadership: Leadership nominees are EASE customers who are strong advocates for quality and operations programs with organizationwide benefits. This year two individuals were selected for the Leadership Award.
• Winner: Matt Dulebohn, Musashi (Michigan, USA)
• Winner: Amanda Gross, Magna (Tennessee, USA)
Honorable Mentions:
Jason Viers, MacLean-Fogg CS (Michigan)
Eric Collins, Freudenberg Filtration Technologies (Kentucky, USA) 

Trailblazer: These nominees use the EASE software for more than just layered process audits, leveraging this platform for other audit types including safety audits, 5S, and more.
Winner: Stacy Laffoon, Jupiter Bach (Florida, USA)
Honorable Mention:
Ricardo Pineda, SLPT Global Pump Group (Oklahoma, USA)

Plant of the Year: The winner of this award was required to be conducting a minimum of 2,500 plant floor audits per year and creating at least 500 mitigations in the same period. To choose the winner the Ease team looked at a combination of weighted audit insights including the percentage of on-time completed plant floor audits and on-time completed mitigations.
Winner: Eaton Electric Equipment, Changzhou Plant (China)
Honorable Mentions:
Nemak, García Plant 1 (Mexico)
Nemak, García Plant 2 (Mexico)
Magna, Saint Thomas Ontario Plant, Cosma Structures Group (Canada)
Exemplis, Tijuana Plant (Mexico)

Auditor of the Year: A plant floor auditor is not a dedicated position within a manufacturing plant, but a role carried out by employees across the plant—including those that may not be part of quality or operations. The EASE platform includes a gamification system that awards badges to auditors based on performance. The winner of this category was required to already hold an EASE Guru badge and was chosen based on audit completion rate, the number of audits completed, and audit findings with the majority of the audits being focused on quality audits such as layered process audits.
Winner: Alessio Petaccia, Dayco (Chieti Site)

Best Implementation: The Ease Customer Success Team implements EASE at hundreds of plants every year. The winner was chosen based on their engagement throughout the implementation from pilot to final deployment, their advocacy throughout the process, as well as the team’s audit activity and completion rates in the weeks and months following the go-live.
Winner: Unified Brands – Vicksburg/Weidman Plants (USA)
Implementation champions:
Marcus McCoy, quality manager Michigan Operations
Kulmoris Joiner, quality analyst
Honorable Mentions:
Lansing Campus , Dakkota Systems (Evan Urbanski)
Czech Republic, Eissman (Marie Krizkova)

Quality Transformation: The winner of this award is the manufacturer that has demonstrated the most significant improvement in performance within the EASE platform over a 12-month period across all of its facilities. During this period the winner had to meet a number of minimum benchmark data points as well as have the highest percentage increase in on-time audits and mitigations.
Winner: Maclean Fogg

Outstanding Contributions to Quality: This is a new award in 2021 and recognizes an organization that has demonstrated exceptional performance in quality across multiple plants and individuals. This year’s winner had three plants ranked in the top 10 and strong representation in every award category.
Winner: Dana

About Ease

EASE is the innovative mobile platform that helps manufacturers simplify how they administer, conduct, and respond to plant-floor audits. With best-in-class support for layered process audits, safety, 5S, and more—EASE drastically reduces labor costs and delivers insights that ensure audit programs drive real business value.

Leading automotive, aerospace and manufacturing organizations around the globe depend on EASE’s enterprise scale, expertise, and customer centricity. EASE is a privately held company based in Mission Viejo, California. To learn more, visit www.ease.io.


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