Expert's Opinion

Raising the Bar on Hygiene Suppliers

By Jim Joslin, Global Quality Manager, H.B. Fuller | August 1, 2012

Hygiene manufacturers are expecting more from their global suppliers. Do you have the right quality program in place?

Hygiene manufacturers are raising the bar on their suppliers. As they expand globally, they expect consistent quality in all of the countries in which they operate. Often the challenge suppliers face is getting production facilities in less developed countries up to industry standards while ensuring a commitment to excellence at all of their sites worldwide. But taking quality from good to great across the board is important if you want to compete in this increasingly global market.
Here’s what it takes to ensure you have a world-class quality program:
Have proven systems in place. The proper quality systems will help minimize errors. Your systems should allow you to track materials through the plant, provide proper bookkeeping, ensure clear labeling of materials and provide document control.
Maintain good housekeeping practices. To avoid contamination you need a well-maintained environment. Keep your storage facilities clean, segment raw materials and finished product and establish and follow good housekeeping practices that ensure your facility remains contamination free.
Establish test methods and lab performance. Quality assurance relies on testing. Use documented methods and make sure your lab execution of those test methods is reliable and consistent so strict quality standards are met. 
Train and invest in people to promote a culture of quality. Quality is a shared responsibility. To get your team on board, provide a recognition system that focuses on quality and celebrate together when you achieve your goals.
Leverage global experience. This is especially important. Manufacturers expect suppliers to leverage their global experience and adapt best practices in weeks rather than months or years, as they have in the past. So learn from your mistakes and quickly leverage that learning to achieve a consistent level of quality worldwide.
Since we implemented a global quality program at H.B. Fuller we have seen measurable results. We have less product contamination, less scrap and reworked materials and fewer customer complaints. We also have increased on-time delivery and customer satisfaction. We view quality as an ongoing commitment and a challenge to continuously improve our performance.
Jim Joslin is global quality manager at H.B. Fuller. He can be reached at


The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect views held by Nonwovens Industry.
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