The need for a robust quality assurance system is present in any business that provides a tangible product to its customers, but for a supplier of repaired and refurbished shipping pallets, quality management must be an ongoing process that acts as the guiding star of the company’s focus. This requires a strategy that is both proactive to prevent errors, and quickly responsive to any problems that arise in order to resolve the issue and ensure customer satisfaction. Our process for achieving this successful quality management approach involves a few key components working in unison:
- Clear and Concrete Quality Standards.
By developing and formalizing a set of quality expectations with consideration of industry standards including ISPM 15 compliance, we have developed a set of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). These clearly communicated practices enable our employees to produce pallets to our high standards and to recognize when they have succeeded at meeting our goals for product quality.
- Performance Tracking at All Stages.
No matter how ideally you set up your production phase, you cannot simply set things in motion and trust that all will proceed according to plan. We have implemented methods of measuring and tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) at the various levels of our pallet recycling operations, including completion of our builder-training program by team members, the marking of individual pallets to track their performance across their life cycle, audit counts, and the “voice of the customer” feedback we receive, both positive and negative. We use this data to evaluate how well we are reaching our quality assurance goals, and identify where we need to adapt.
- Employee Education and Training at All Levels.
Creating a collaborative, cooperative working environment in which everyone shares the goal of maintaining the highest quality standards for our pallets is a major element of our quality management strategy. We have developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for both routine and complex processes, ensuring that employees at every level have ready access to the knowledge of how things are done. We conduct training for all employees so that everyone understands the processes of producing our recycled and refurbished pallets, and how to recognize any issues. We invite conversation with our employees with regular meetings, welcoming observations or suggestions for avenues of improvement, and generally cultivate an atmosphere of transparency, accountability, and improvement.
- Data Analysis Resulting in Feedback.
The information collected by tracking KPIs can only yield improvements in quality management by analyzing it to find areas where improvement is needed and sharing those results with our teams. Rather than simply handing down action items without context, however, we find it effective to be more transparent, showing our teams the data that reveals where positive progress is being made and where there are still struggles. When our workers can see exactly where the problems are, they are more motivated to resolve them, and may arrive at more innovative solutions.
- Established Resolution and Response Procedures. When a quality issue arises, resolving the customer’s complaint and ensuring their satisfaction a critical step, but is not the only part of our response. We also investigate into the root cause of the problem to determine how the issue arose, and whether it was an isolated fluke or has the potential to recur. In the latter case, we develop and implement action plans to correct the problem, and monitor them to determine their efficacy in eliminating the issue.
- Invitation and Pursuit of Customer Feedback.
We want our customers to know that we have formal processes in place to address and resolve any complaints or issues they may have, and invite them to tell us about any problems they encounter regarding pallet quality issues, because we actively desire not only to improve their individual customer experience with us, but to remedy any issues in our production chain that may have given rise to the problem they encountered. Every customer complaint is, for us, the beginning of a conversation; we reach out to the customer immediately upon receiving a complaint or concern regarding a quality issue, and continue to follow up at the 30-, 60-, and 90-day mark to be certain that the problem has been resolved to their complete satisfaction.
- Recognition and Reinforcement of Successes. We pay close attention to positive customer feedback as well – both because it might indicate a successful policy or practice that we can apply to other aspects of our business, and simply because it’s important to acknowledge good work. Likewise, we make an effort to acknowledge successes by other metrics as well; if one of our pallet manufacturing facilities achieves a certain span of time without a safety issue or a target number of pallets produced without a quality defect, that is cause for recognition and celebration. People need to hear when they’re doing right, just as much as when they need improvement. By giving our employees ownership of their successes, we help them remain invested in ensuring our high quality standards.
Greenway Products & Services, LLC is the largest pallet re-manufacturer and recyclers in NY, NJ, PA, MD, and DE. We also accept scrap wood from our customers that we turn into valuable resources. Greenway is a highly-rated, full-service pallet management company. Contact us for a quote today at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our website, greenwaypsllc.com or call us at 732-442-0200. We can deliver trailers to you on a moment’s notice throughout the NY-NJ-PA-MD-DE area.