How a Homework Assignment Saved $88,000

Jack Gawrys (left), Michael Doyle (center), and Bob Confer (right)

MBA student applied tactics learned in the classroom to make his employer’s operations more cost-effective.

Jack Gawrys ’23 applied key learning from his Master of Business Administration (MBA) program to implement a way for his employer, Confer Plastics, to save over $88,000 a year in labor costs.

“A graduate-level Operations and Project Management course exposed me to capabilities I never deemed imaginable for myself,” Gawrys said. “I have directly applied what I learned in the classroom to my work.”

Confer Plastics is a family-owned company that manufactures custom blow-molded products and specializes in various outdoor leisure products including swimming pools, kayaks, and paddle boards.

“I learned ways to improve productivity and efficiency,” said Gawrys. “This inspired me to find a way to streamline Confer Plastics’ manufacturing and pack out process for swimming pool ladders.”

Gawrys visited Confer Plastics’ production floor, seeking intel on cycle times, number of employees per activity, costs of production, and the layout of machinery.

“I charted the entire process right in front of me. Using Excel, I performed several forecasting studies to analyze different processes,” Gawrys explained. “After completing each scenario, I found an opportunity for substantial cost savings by increasing the number of packers to eliminate the most time-consuming and expensive part of the current process.”

The promising scenario led with four packers on each machine. Despite adding additional packers, Gawrys’ solution significantly decreased the amount of labor needed for the process. As a result, the production of swimming pool ladders were predicted to be completed at a much quicker rate than before.

Gawrys took his findings directly to company leadership. The company implemented the cost-effective scenario immediately.

“We’re always looking for ways to streamline,” Bob Confer ’93, President of Confer Plastics said. “This program gave Jack the opportunity to analyze our company data in a way that we had never approached it before.”

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Author: Stevie Rudak

Posted: June 26, 2023