Product quality and safety

Product quality

Product quality and its maintenance across all the various production areas has always been the primary objective for the Sofidel Group, as set out in its company mission. In confirmation of this, since the mid-1990s, Quality Management Systems have been implemented with a primary focus on product compliance and customer and consumer satisfaction. These principles are formalised in the Quality Policy, issued by Top Management and available on the company’s website.

Product quality and its maintenance over time are guaranteed by compliance with Quality Management System procedures, the drive towards constant improvement, timely and careful training of the staff involved and constant monitoring of processes.

The monitoring activities include the Compliance Indicator in which all the non-conformities found, i.e. the features of the articles produced which do not meet the requirements established in the relevant documentation (procedures, technical specifications, etc.) are weighted according to how serious they are and compared with total production.

The following graph shows the values of the Product Compliance Index4 in the Group production sites for the last three years.

Product compliance index

Soffass Converting via Lazzareschi (ITA) Soffass via Fossanuova (ITA) Soffass Monfalcone (ITA) Soffass Tassignano (ITA) Intertissue Baglan (UK) Intertissue Horwich (UK) Sofidel Benelux Sofidel France Frouard Sofidel France Ingrandes Sofidel France Roanne
2018 98.54 98.40 99.34 97.10 97.11 94.57 97.68 96.20 96.87 95.94
2017 98.13 98.30 99.69 92.83 96.30 99.14 97.70 96.02 97.53 95.72
2016 98.88 98.16 99.24 96.65 94.29 97.80 95.77 95.19 96.53 92.41
Sofidel Germany Sofidel Greece Sofidel Hungary Sofidel Poland Sofidel Romania Sofidel Spain Sofidel Sweden Sofidel UK Werra (Stab. THP) (GER) Werra (Stab. Werra) (GER) Werra (Stab. Omega) (GER)
2018 98.74 98.99 98.75 98.99 98.62 98.58 89.45 97.95 96.34 99.43 97.71
2017 96.65 99.67 n.d. 97.91 98.23 98.47 94.75 96.93 98.76 98.61 98.33
2016 97.73 98.83 n.d. 99.36 98.10 98.80 90.70 95.41 99.06 97.75 98.90

The trend in the above three-year data highlights satisfactory product compliance results in all companies, considering that the maximum value that can be reached by the index is 100 and that this index is based on stricter criteria than the simple ratio between compliant products and total production.

4. There are no reports for Sofidel America and Sofidel Turkey because of the adoption of different calculation indices which are not comparable.

Product safety

As with quality, the safety of Sofidel products is a fundamental and essential value, in line with the company mission.

To strengthen this concept, the Product Safety Department was set up in 2017 within the Corporate Quality Department to coordinate and control this process.

At production level, the entire supply chain is involved in this issue and, for over fifteen years now, the Group’s plants have been gradually adopting self-controlled health-hygiene systems which ensure, in addition to compliance with the mandatory regulations for the tissue industry, the application of the principles established by the voluntary standards British Retail Consortium (BRC) Consumer Products Personal Care and Household and International Food Standard (IFS) Household and Personal Care Products and the requirements of the main retailers.

At the end of 2018, 17 production sites were BRC or IFS certified, covering 76.96% of total Sofidel Group production. With regard to uncertified plants, the self-controlled system implementation process is continuing and will involve, in 2019, the Sofidel Sweden, Sofidel Greece and Sofidel Hungary plants.

The self-controlled systems implemented at plant level reflect the commitment to safety, quality and legality of products in the Self-Controlled Health-Hygiene Policy approved by the Legal Representative of each company.

The Policy requires a risk assessment which allows, for each phase of the production cycle, starting with research and development, the potential risks of physical, chemical and microbiological contamination of the product and the process to be identified and measured.

The risk analysis is carried out according to the principles of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) method, applying the Severity times Probability algorithm, which is the basis for identifying and implementing Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in order to eliminate or at least reduce to acceptable levels the potential risks to consumer safety.

In plants where the self-controlled health-hygiene system is implemented (81% of European plants), 100% of the product categories are subject to assessment of the impact on the health and safety of products, while GMP are implemented at all sites. In addition to specific activities, such as cleaning and inspection programmes, traceability and recall tests and the application of hygiene rules, chemical and biological tests are also performed by accredited external laboratories in compliance with the main applicable regulations and guidelines. The testing plan is constantly updated taking into account the development of the regulations and/or the special requirements of the relevant market.

A great deal of attention is also paid to the supply chain, with Sofidel requiring declarations of compliance with applicable legislation and of suitability of raw materials for use in Sofidel items.

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