Even when you are doing everything you should be doing, an audit can be an exhausting time – There’s the weeks of preparation, tracing the data and paperwork from any snapshot during the past twelve months. And there is the event itself: two days of inspections, assessing the company, from procedures and practices, hygiene and safety, to the documentation and records to back it all up.
The audit I’m talking about is the BRC Global Standard for Packaging & Packaging Materials. This will be our sixth year of holding the accreditation and, like any assessment, the expectations we put on ourselves, wanting to be the best we can be, the anticipation; it all comes down to how well we present on the day (or days). It really is like a long exam.
You may only know what BRC means if you trade in the food or packaging industries. Some of our customers are in the packaging trade, while others are direct buyers for their own markets. Understandably, you may have never heard of it or not know what it means for you as one of our customers.
What is the BRC? It’s the British Retail Consortium, a globally recognised standard for product safety and quality, started by the five big supermarket chains to ensure high standards with their suppliers. In our case, we hold ourselves to the standards for food packaging — which includes labels on the outside of other packaging. But it serves as a model standard for overall good practice, too.
We have a good BRC team at Hine, headed by one person whose job it is to prepare for this day, made tougher by the fact he joined Hine in the middle of a pandemic and a turbulent time for business. He is our Quality Manager, Rob Sippel.
Quality and BRC go hand in hand. Where our quality standards ensure we make the quality products our customers have come to expect, the BRC framework supports our eagerness to do that and to quickly solve any issues which could arise. It ensures we have practical ability to trace our entire supply chain, from the materials and inks we use, where they come from and how they are stored, to knowing our machines, factory areas, and even our staff, are clean and contaminate-free when they have contact with those products.
It means the labels going onto your jars and bottles have been made in a factory which understands it is a part of your own supply chain. It means we take the role as your label supplier seriously, and we understand a trusted responsible supplier of any sort is important in any business.
After a year that saw people being furloughed, it’s uplifting to learn we have been awarded a grade of AA (yes, double A) in the BRC Global Standard for Packaging & Packaging Materials.
The audit is finished. We can breathe. But we aren’t going to rest on our laurels. There is always a need to drive for improvement and we must not become complacent. We have people relying on us.
If you would like to learn more about BRC Compliance, visit their website at www.brcgs.com