‘We had quoted certain customers who had liked what they’d seen, but were waiting for this quality management system certification to be issued as surety of our ability to consistently provide products and services that conform to their requirements,’ Maryke states. ‘Customers within the food industry have strict standards that suppliers need to comply with. Soon after we received the certificate, lockdown happened, and they proceeded to order shorter run quantities from us.’
She also identifies a better focus and goal-orientated outcomes as additional benefits of ISO 9001 implementation. During a recent management meeting, data indicated that the company ticked off 90% of its goals in the past year, including the second eight-colour MPS press installation.
The ISO 9001 project was headed up by her daughter, Holly Thomas, who has grown up within the business and has a systems background as a qualified chemical engineer. Holly started by analysing the downfalls in every department and taking the multifaceted nature of the company into account, from platemaking and design to digital and flexographic printing of shrink sleeves, labels and sachets.
She then started systematically compiling the standard operating procedure documents that consist of instructions/steps on how to execute the tasks in each department.
Next was training the staff on how to follow the processes and structures correctly. Although this required a completely different mindset, Holly recalls most people coming in with a positive attitude and learning quickly to take accountability for their roles because the procedures gave them an easier, more structured way of doing things.
Holly is also quick to point out that quality management requires consistent implementation, addressing non-conformance issues and staff retraining. ‘I come in once a week, go through all non-conformances and then train that specific person or division to ensure standards are met and procedures are followed.’