The role of quality assurance systems in delivering high standards

HW has several accreditations that focus on ensuring compliance with high quality requirements and in this blog, we discuss what those accreditations are and how they each play a role in maintaining high standards for brands and retailers.

Industry accreditations and memberships do so much more for your business than making you look good on paper. Not only do they provide customers (and potential customers) with reassurance when it comes to your credentials, whether environmental or operational; they are also incredibly beneficial as learning exercises. The frameworks they provide and the reflection they encourage catalyse organisational change, delivering tangible improvements to your products and services and steering you towards a position of greater responsibility as a business. At Herbert Walkers, we selected the following accreditations to help us meet our strategic objectives. We can confidently say they’ve delivered positive results, not only for us but for the brands and retailers we work with.

BRC Packaging Safety Certificate

For brands and retailers in the food sector, supplier accreditations are obviously important for safety reasons. At Herbert Walkers, we produce an extensive range of products including sleeves, direct fill tubs, pots and cartons for major food retailers and food service providers, so food hygiene is our highest priority. The BRC Packaging Safety Certificate felt like a no-brainer for us. And we’re not alone; 3,500 suppliers in over 80 countries have chosen to be certificated to this scheme! It’s widely regarded as the benchmark for compliance to best practice in food industry standards and represents food safety, quality, and responsibility. Having it, means the businesses that work with us know we’re assessed annually on our ability to operate to this globally recognised standard, and that working with us won’t undermine their compliance with the Global Food Safety Initiative’s requirements.

Sedex

Another accreditation that’s important to our customers is our membership of Sedex, the world’s largest collaborative platform for sharing responsible sourcing data on supply chains. It’s used by more than 40,000 members in over 150 countries, who use it to improve their responsible and sustainable business practices. It’s imperative for companies to have complete oversight over their supply chains, to avoid liability for breaches of human and environmental rights and to become a more responsible business. Being part of Sedex helps us make informed business decisions and drive continuous improvement across our value chains, as well as those of our customers.

The ISOs

ISO 9001 is the internationally recognized Quality Management System (QMS) standard. A QMS is designed to smooth out business operations through implementing and monitoring standard practices, procedures, and responsibilities. The ISO 9001 standard is based on a number of quality management principles, including customer focus, relationship management, process approach and continual improvement. Because it requires regular assessment and approval to maintain, ISO9001 reassures customers (and potential customers) that they’ll get consistent, high-quality goods and services. When looking for suppliers, some companies perceive an ISO9001 certificate as a nice-to-have, but for others (think government contracts) it will be obligatory. And it’s not just useful for winning customers either; meeting the ISO9001 standard means finding ways to reduce waste and increase efficiency, which is always a bonus for a business.

Often combined with ISO 9001 for greater overall impact is ISO 14001, a voluntary standard that sets out requirements for an effective environmental management system (EMS). An EMS helps businesses to manage environmental issues and conform to relevant regulations and industry standards. Now, more than ever, people are mobilising to protect the environment, viewing it as a priority that influences who they choose where to spend their money and who to work for (and with). Adhering to the ISO 14001 standard means our customers and employees trust that we’re working to a systematic framework to manage the immediate and long-term environmental impacts of our organisation’s products, services, and processes. Both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 are internationally recognised standards.

The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC)

The FSC is an international organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests. It’s also the world’s most respected and widespread forest certification system, signifying that forests are being managed in a way that preserves biological diversity and benefits local people and workers. All the board we use comes from FSC-certified sustainable sources and our clients can choose to use FSC-sourced products (made with or containing wood that comes from FSC certified forests or from post-consumer waste). For us, this is the gold standard of ethical production. Many businesses have policies that state preference for FSC-certified products, which obviously makes it an appealing certification. But with forests covering 30% of the global land area, it’s also a certification we can’t afford to ignore if we want to protect the forest biome for future generations.

To find out more about Herbert Walkers, our accreditations, and what we can do for you, get in touch at 01274 531828 or email – sales@herbertwalkers.co.uk.