1 June, 2020
Quality Still Matters Most
Denise Conradie with the Lonza
management team (from left to right) Martin Reddy (Environmental Health
& Safety Manager); Kesun Govender (Operations Manager); JJ du
Plessis (Senior Business Manager) and Ross Skorpen (Financial Manager).
Quality is not only offering a product that
exceeds the standard, it is also about the reputation gained for consistently
delivering customer satisfaction that goes above and beyond. Managing quality
is therefore crucial. This is the view of Denise Conradie, the Quality
Assurance and Technical Manager at Lonza Wood Protection SA.
Conradie, who holds a master's degree in wood
science, a bachelor's degree of science and an MDP with Stellenbosch University,
has managed Lonza's product compliance and quality assurance for the past 17
"Factors such as competition, product
complexity and technological developments in the wood treatment sector, have
enhanced the importance of quality to such an extent that customers do not make
choices solely based on price. This is why stringent quality assurance and
quality control practices - which comply with national and international
regulations and standards such as ISO - are of paramount importance in our
operation," says Conradie.'
Against this background, the fundamental
elements of Lonza's quality management system are continuously undergoing
"As chemists working in quality assurance, we
are constantly looking towards finding ways to reduce the possibility of error
in the manufacturing methods by using a big-picture view of product quality. Quality assurance therefore becomes a series of
activities that are determined before production even begins and continues
throughout the whole production cycle. Through
this approach, our quality management methodologies and techniques ensure that
the test results on the raw material and that achieved on the finished product,
are thoroughly validated," explains Conradie.
Furthermore, Lonza has installed processes to
monitor, manage and resolve any possible out-of-spec result and/or results
deviating from the norm. Should this be the case, intense investigations and
extensive root cause analysis studies are performed to identify the
non-compliance and to ensure that actions are put in place to prevent any
re-occurrence in the future. "This system helps us to identify any potential
problems before a Tanalised® product leaves the
factory," adds Conradie.
To remain consistent with the global Lonza
Quality Policy and ensure customer satisfaction, the company re-evaluates its
quality management objectives each year. These objectives are based on three
important components - high accuracy, compliance with applicable industry standards
and high customer satisfaction. The process involves advanced planning, written
procedures and working instructions that are documented and developed for use during
the production and testing of Tanalised® products at Lonza's treatment plant
and laboratory in KwaZulu-Natal. These documents then form part of the QMS
(Quality Management System), which is audited annually and certified against
the International ISO 9001 standard compliance requirements.
Lonza is an ISO 9001:2015 certified company
and a member of the Chemical Allied Industry Association and as such undergoes
an audit and re-certification by third party ISO 9001 Auditors every year and a CAIA auditor every three
years - which contributes to its ‘Enhanced Safety' benefits.
"To ensure the accurate measurement of volumes
sold to our customers, our measuring devices - such as loadcells and scales - are
also subjected to annual certification and third-party audits to ensure 100%
accuracy," says Conradie.
Looking to the future, Conradie believes that the
only way to safeguard the continued and sustainable long-term growth of the
treated timber industry is by supplying products that not only conform to the
grade specifications of the wood used in structural and pole applications, but
also deliver the performance that customers have been promised and have come to
"In a time when quality weighs above
everything else, we need to make quality management control systems centre
stage in achieving flawless manufacturing processes. I believe that trust is
the most powerful sales accelerator and it is earned every time a product speaks
for itself," concludes Conradie.