Consumer Products Manufacturer EO Boosts Efficiency and Compliance with ZenQMS
About EO Products
EO Products (“EO”) manufactures and distributes plant-based body care products that use safe, natural, organic, and sustainably-farmed ingredients. Even with over 20 years of history, the company is still run out of its family-owned, zero-waste factory and is completely transparent about what goes into every bottle they produce.
Adaora Chukwu, Senior Director and Head of Quality at EO, knew she had her work cut out for her after joining the company, based on management’s strategic vision and the results of her initial gap/opportunity assessment of the company’s quality system. EO’s facility was already registered with the FDA, but management recognized that continued growth in the business would bring more stress to the existing quality function.
Both Adaora and EO’s Chief Operating Officer, Sam Borri, recognized their quality program would have to evolve to meet new complexities, and doing so was going to be challenging without an electronic quality management system (eQMS). Based on her prior experience in Pharmaceuticals, Adaora was certain that an upgrade would both enhance EO’s compliance profile, and drive process efficiencies in the future.
“I began evaluating systems during my second week at the company,” said Adaora. “As you would expect, my manager Sam and I would have to make the case for spending money on eQMS software. eQMS is a compelling addition to a business like ours, with real revenue and operations, precisely because it allows you to identify key bottlenecks and problems in the status quo that can be immediately improved with automation and structure. Managing training compliance, logging deviations, and hosting inspections is just the tip of the iceberg.”
In addition to gaining management support, Sam and Adaora knew that a digital transition was going to have to win the hearts and minds of all EO colleagues. “Automation can be negatively perceived, and change can have ripple effects,” said Adaora. “It was important to first help people understand how hard they were working already, and really focus on the fact that better quality reduces risk and wasted effort for everyone.”
She and Sam also had to change the perception that an eQMS was only for the Quality team. Everyone has a stake in quality, and with an eQMS in place, a task that used to take an hour can now take minutes. The system allows all employees to focus on their actual job instead of chasing paper and signatures.
With this in mind, they considered their options: “The right eQMS for EO would balance the need for GMP compliance, designed around our unique requirements, with one that everyone could use. That’s what companies get wrong when choosing a QMS platform. Most eQMS alternatives force processes to be defined around their software. What you want is to customize the eQMS around your processes.”
And while ease-of-use was critical, affordability was also a concern.
“I’ve worked with all the big systems and they’re very costly and clunky and I didn’t get much from them,” said Adaora. As a result, those solutions didn’t make the list. Ultimately, they chose ZenQMS because it met the criteria they were looking for.
“ZenQMS’ user-friendliness and the ability to customize around our processes are what I responded to when doing my research,” said Adaora. “So when I saw the price, I thought it was quite reasonable and almost too good to be true. I’m getting so much more than I thought I would with ZenQMS.”
Starting with the implementation process, Adaora immediately felt comfortable with ZenQMS. “It took no time to get the system up and running,” she said. “The implementation team was very kind and helpful. We were done in record time.”
But it was EO’s first major inspection, post-implementation, that really drove home the value of the new system for Adaora, Sam, and her management colleagues.
“Our audit in 2020 was a totally different experience. We were able to print training records immediately. We weren’t flipping through binders looking for SOPs. I could use the keyword search to find anything. It was amazing.”
And just as importantly, non-management colleagues also saw the value of a single, easy-to-use system to do their jobs and help with process improvement.
“Complexity scares people,” said Adaora. “But ZenQMS is so easy. It’s so different from what I’m used to. People don’t understand how much time is wasted moving between different systems. When you’re able to do everything in one system, you gain a lot of efficiency.”
Currently, EO uses the entire suite of ZenQMS modules, including full document management, training, SOP revisions, complaints, and investigations– all of which can help continuous improvement.
“With ZenQMS, we are able to capture and document customer complaints quickly and respond in kind. This leads to customer satisfaction, and since our process is rooted in a closed-loop investigation and remediation, we can avoid repeats of the same problem and have a documented investigation for our quality archives.”
For small- and medium-sized companies, resource constraints tend to be a huge blocker in obtaining an eQMS, because the complexity of most systems demands a large team to implement and manage the software. But Adaora’s experience with ZenQMS was different: “I was able to set ZenQMS up by myself. I am able to manage everything, including training, without significant resources and it's been amazing.”
When asked about her overall satisfaction with ZenQMS, Adaora had this simple piece of advice for other consumer products companies: “Use it, you will not regret it.”
If your cosmeceutical, nutraceutical, or cosmetics company is looking to improve processes and efficiency, schedule a demo with ZenQMS to learn how we can help.