- In 2022, we established the Global Operations Group–a global group of leaders focused on enabling us to align our product quality strategy and objectives globally and standardize approaches previously handled regionally.
- The implementation of Greif Business System 2.0 expands our ability to exercise critical control points in the manufacturing process to discover and correct deviations from production specifications before a potential defect reaches a customer or impacts production.
- Strategic quality roadmaps help identify product quality initiatives through a standardized process and align with Greif’s strategic objectives and our 2030 goals while supporting continuous improvement.
- In 2022, we achieved a global Corrective Action Rate of 0.43 and a global Zero-Leak Rate of 0.11.
Why Product Quality Matters
Product quality is integral to our business and mission to deliver legendary customer service. Failure to meet our customers’ needs at the highest standards undermines our core values and hinders our goal of becoming the best-performing customer service company in the world. Customers rely on our commitment to quality to ensure their products are protected and safe for people and the environment. Product quality is key to achieving regulatory compliance and is fundamental to financial success. These high stakes and expectations focus us on continuous product quality improvement, striving for the highest quality, defect-free products at all our manufacturing facilities.
In 2022, we established the Global Operations Group (GOG), led by the Senior Vice President of Global Operations, which sits on the Executive Leadership Team (ELT). The GOG is a functional department comprising two regional levels, North and Latin America (AMER) and Europe and the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific regions (EMEA/APAC), supporting all business units. This structure enables us to align our product quality strategy and objectives globally while standardizing our approach. This group also enables various teams, such as Global Product Solutions and Continuous Improvement, to work cross-functionally and coordinate efforts to meet quality goals.
We aim to create a standardized, global approach to deliver legendary customer service through our quality management system. Our global product quality policy establishes standards and a uniform approach to product quality. Our Product Quality Team is working to identify and implement the best product quality management practices. In 2020, we initiated our Commitment-Based Safety/Quality (CBS/Q) program and provided all supervisors and managers with leadership training to facilitate the CBS/Q program to promote a culture of safety and greater accountability. In 2022, we trained leadership down to the third management level as part of this rollout, starting a daily dialog about product quality and safety. We will continue to train leadership as the program progresses. Learn more about this program in this report’s Health & Safety section.
In 2022, we adopted the Top-Level Management Commitment as part of our Quality Management Program, covering how Greif collaborates with stakeholders and maintains regulatory compliance. Greif Business System 2.0 (GBS 2.0) will support this commitment. GBS 2.0 expands our ability to discover and correct deviations from production specifications before a potential defect occurs. We report potential quality issues through our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, and when a quality issue is identified, corrective procedures are documented and conveyed through the appropriate communication channels. We continue to use our Quality Management System (QMS) scorecard to evaluate the performance of GBS 2.0 applications. The scorecard generates an organizational health report, including customer complaints, internal corrective actions, management reviews and supplier evaluations. The Global Regulatory Steering Committee reviews requests for new applications to determine and prioritize improvements based on the highest benefit to global product quality performance. We continue integrating the ERP system with GBS 2.0 at the item level, allowing all colleagues to use one business platform. The integration will enable us to maintain raw material certifications and link them to finished goods more effectively. This update increases the transparency of materials as they are translated into finished goods.
Greif Business System 2.0
Greif has recently begun its shift from Greif Business System (GBS) 1.0 to GBS 2.0. Comparable to a software update, we have made these changes to ensure we remain relevant to our external environment and user community. Our process and tools are undergoing a series of changes that will continue to take place, but we will ensure that each element of GBS 2.0 works seamlessly with all other elements. GBS 2.0 establishes a set of methods and approaches that are uniform in scale, shape and size that will help to ensure consistency across our whole organization. As we continue to deliver our Build to Last Strategy, we will continue to develop, deliver and deploy GBS 2.0.
Each item we manufacture is evaluated for product quality based on integrity and applicable specification compliance. In 2022, 53 percent of Greif’s 188 eligible global production sites were certified to ISO 9001 standards for quality management, including 93 percent of our 107 Global Industrial Packaging (GIP) production sites. We utilize customer complaint tracking and the Corrective Action Rate (CAR) to maintain a centralized standard for our products. We update regional presidents, vice presidents and general managers monthly on our performance.
We communicate quality standards to our production network using Greif QS, our integrated quality system. Greif QS houses a suite of applications that ensure quality and consistency in our products and processes throughout our facilities. Examples of these applications include:
- Complaint Response/Corrective Action Systems
- Internal Corrective and Preventative Action Systems
- Audit Management System
- Calibration Systems
- Supplier Management Systems Management Review System
- Document and Training Management Systems
In 2021, we adjusted our KPI metrics, including monitoring the number of leakers and the leaker CAR rate every month. We also introduced a quality alert system that sends out a global alert when a complaint or failure mode occurs, our Second Approver process that allows the system to recognize when complaints of a certain severity occur, our Troubleshooting guide that assesses the failure mode and the representative defect and provides possible root causes and automated critical inspections that impact product integrity. Additionally, in 2021, we began piloting and reinforcing our Visual Quality System (VQS) through our Back to Basics work stream. Since this pilot, we have launched 101 Type Training, a foundational product manufacturing training that establishes visual quality standards at critical workstations in coordination with our VQS at two select facilities.
The Management of Change tool within the Greif QS identifies and categorizes changes to raw materials, suppliers, processes and other indicators that could impact product quality and safety. Management of Change uses a series of questions to determine the severity of the change and initiates a review process before the approval of the change. Once approved, a change is communicated to the impacted functions throughout Greif. This tool allows us to engage departments across the organization, generate tasks to ensure compliance and inform the commercial team, which can notify our customers of changes as quickly as possible. We also incorporated our UN certification process into Greif QS, defining the required specifications to achieve UN certification for relevant products and managing the manufacturing process to ensure we remain compliant. In addition to UN certifications, we comply with REACH standards and include REACH compliance statements on material safety data sheets (MSDSs) when relevant.
Improving our food safety program is a lasting commitment. In 2020, a market analysis was conducted on food safety requirements and practices, including sanitation, pest control and traceability, to establish a baseline good manufacturing practice (GMP) program. Based on those requirements, we developed a new ISO/GMP system, integrating our food safety requirements with our current manufacturing processes across the business. 100 percent of GIP North America facilities are compliant with the new standards. We are expanding the number of our manufacturing facilities with the Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification through the SQF Institute, a rigorous and credible food safety and quality program. We work to stay current on all new and revised food legislation regarding packaging and require our suppliers of food contact packaging to comply with local regulations.
As part of the GOG, we continue reevaluating and executing our strategic quality roadmaps. The roadmaps help ensure that product quality initiatives are identified through a standardized process, are aligned with Greif’s strategic objectives and our new 2030 sustainability targets and support continuous improvement. GOG leadership reviews the roadmaps annually and provides a three-year plan for focus initiatives and detailed project plans for short-term initiatives. Outcomes of the initiatives factor into individual and team performance goals and contribute to improvements to CAR, customer complaints and ultimately, Greif’s Customer Service Index (CSI) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) performance.
Improving Our Responsiveness
In 2022, we piloted a complaint response tool designed around the eight core disciplines of root cause problem-solving. We plan to launch this tool globally in 2023, allowing us to assign a level of risk to complaints. As the level of risk increases, we will enable more tools to address it.
- Assign and Build the Team
- Define and Describe the Nonconformities
- Contain the Nonconformities
- Identify, Describe the Root Cause
- Choose the Corrective Action
- Congratulate the Team
Our Technical Information System (TIS) manages product material and safety information. Before purchasing new products, our colleagues check MSDS (material safety data sheets) and chemical databases to ensure internal and external regulations compliance. Greif also provides customers with MSDS, packaging advice and information on products compatible with our packaging products to aid in the responsible choice of product packaging. We utilize tests and research on materials for our manufacturing processes and continuously monitor industry and regulatory changes regarding compliance and product safety.
Within the Paper Packaging & Services (PPS) business, each CorrChoice facility has full testing lab capabilities to conduct extensive performance testing and real-time data collection to monitor product quality and ensure products adhere to our standards. Raw materials are tested to ensure consistency, and these results are shared with our suppliers. Consistent raw material performance provides a more uniform finished product. The labs also allow us to work closely with customers to evaluate material combinations and performance to provide the correct specifications for their end-use at the most cost-effective levels. We require test technicians at all testing facilities to meet certification requirements. Standardized equipment packages create uniform methods and procedures for testing facilities.
Collectively, our product quality efforts aid in our continuous improvement of customer priority areas: leaks, on-time delivery, contaminants and aesthetic quality.
 As of October 31, 2022.
Goals, Progress & Performance
- Corrective action rate: customer complaints per 100,000 units produced
CORRECTIVE ACTION RATE
Real-time Quality Management
Greif’s CorrChoice facilities, part of our Paper Packaging & Services (PPS) business, have implemented a set of tools that enable us to monitor and correct for potential quality issues in real-time. The tools establish alerts for a variety of factors that may impact quality, such as temperature and material storage capacity, and correct any deviations before they fall out of specification. This ability allows us to reduce waste, track potential recurring deviations and avoid long runs of products that would not meet customer expectations. As part of our Zero Defect System, our production lines are lined with ultrasonic sensors capable of detecting any separation or variation that may occur during the manufacturing process, such as differences in caliper spacing and paper weights. The system tracks defects as they move down the production line, removing defective products and recycling scrap.
Quality Task Force
In 2014, our CAR data indicated that leaks were the most common quality complaint from customers. In response, we initiated a Zero-Leak Program to eliminate leaks from our products. When a leak complaint was received, it was escalated to the regional vice president and general manager and our engineering team was tasked with developing a concrete resolution to the problem and disseminating it to all facilities. Our focus on reducing leaks led to a 67 percent reduction in leak complaints from 2014 to 2018, as well as significant improvements in leakers in our Tri-Sure business.
In 2020 we kicked off a new global quality task force specifically to look at our most prominent customer issues related to product quality. Our focus was to analyze both external and internal factors to determine common trends. Through this we determined that our largest internal issues also correlated with our largest external issues. The largest customer issue continues to be product integrity. The group developed various action plans aimed at resolving these internal issues with the ultimate goal of reducing our largest customer issues. New metrics were created to keep track of the progress of these initiatives.