In 1991 Plexus co-founders Roger Nielsen and Alex Chong were approached by an Asian industry association that needed help in implementing an ISO 9000 program to thousands of member companies. In the process of fact-gathering they discovered that the pre-existing systems did not universally deliver the practical application and intent of the standard to the industry as a whole. What’s more, these programs did not incorporate effective adult learning, and failed to equip companies with the skills they needed to build an internal capacity for developing and appraising their quality management processes. This prompted Roger and Alex to begin development of a self-propagating system that would address these shortcomings by incorporating adult oriented learning techniques and promoting its own diffusion through the industry.
The following eighteen months were spent researching the most effective adult learning methods, and devising a program that improved the capability of an organization to comprehend, retain, apply, and relay what has been learned. The majority of those eighteen months were spent in consultation with the organization that wrote the ISO 9000 standard, universities and colleges, and other adult education institutions; in an attempt to discern the most effective and efficient strategy for industry-wide deployment of the standard. The result was a model that aimed to foster an understanding of ISO 9000, its implications within an organization, and most importantly: organizational circulation of knowledge. This became the foundation for the Plexus Learning Model.
The Plexus founders presented their model to the ISO central secretariat and the technical committee that wrote the standard in Geneva, Switzerland. It was praised as the most comprehensive training program for ISO 9000 in existence. The success of the Plexus Learning Model became apparent as companies, both domestic and foreign, adopted the comprehensive learning system into their implementation processes. It was so apparent, in fact, that Plexus attracted the attention of the automotive industry; which had similar education needs.
Chrysler, Ford, and GM came to Plexus wanting to adopt its practices into their quality management systems. This prompted Plexus to begin developing training and implementation materials for QS 9000. The work done on this program spawned the Core Tools training program for the automotive industry. Plexus was then asked to develop the implementation materials for the automotive auditor certification program. QS 9000 was eventually succeeded by ISO/TS 16949, which is currently the predominating standard in the industry. The resulting program, in combination with Plexus International’s prized instructor-led training, has allowed Plexus to become the most expansive training organization in the automotive quality management systems industry.
In the years since, Plexus has been approached by associations representing various industries for training needs; including Aerospace, Environmental Management, Healthcare, Higher Education, and Laboratory Management. The proven effectiveness of the Plexus Learning Model in facilitating the interpretation and implementation of standards throughout entire industries has secured Plexus International’s reputation as a thought-leader in the quality management systems industry. Today Plexus trains professionals on six continents and in multiple languages. By providing effective training that can be applied and reiterated by the trainees, Plexus has created a self-sustaining system that serves as a foundation for the educational framework of entire industries.