2020 Sustainability Report

arrow blueCommitted to using financial, natural and human resources wisely without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs

DELIVERING SUPERIOR CUSTOMER SERVICE
Product Quality

Establishing quality control standards to meet customer expectations with every order and every delivery.

United Nations Sustainable Development GoalsDecent work and economic growthindustry, innovation and infrastructure

Why Product Quality Matters

103-1
Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary

103-2
Explain management approach components

103-3
Evaluate management approach

GRI 416:
103-1
103-2
103-3

The quality of our products lies at the heart of our business. We hold ourselves to the highest standards, as product quality is non-negotiable for our customers and is critical to providing outstanding customer service. Every year, our customers’ expectations increase, leading us to focus on continuous product quality improvement. Greif’s financial success depends on our capacity to reliably produce high-quality, defect-free products that meet the applicable specifications at all our manufacturing facilities.

Governance

0.9

Corrective Action Rate

Reduced by 52 percent since 2015 in our RIPS North America business.

We evaluate product quality based on the structure and integrity of our products and compliance with applicable specifications for each item we manufacture. In 2020, 57 percent of Greif’s approximately 211 eligible global production sites were certified to ISO 9001 standards for quality management, including 93 percent of our Global Industrial Packaging (GIP) production sites. We actively maintain product quality centrally through our quality standards and track performance on two product quality indicators: Corrective Action Rate (CAR) and total customer complaints. Additionally, select facilities use order reliability rate as a product quality indicator. Each month, regional presidents, vice presidents and general managers are updated on our performance on these indicators.

We use our integrated quality system, Greif QS, to communicate quality standards to our production network. Greif QS houses a suite of applications that ensure quality and consistency in our products and processes throughout all our facilities. Examples of these applications include:

  • Complaint Response/Corrective Action Systems
  • Internal Corrective and Preventive Action Systems
  • Audit Management System
  • Calibration Systems
  • Supplier Management Systems
  • Management Review System
  • Document and Training Management Systems

Our GIP business unit is working to develop a global quality management system. We want to create a consistent experience for our customers from the products they purchase to the same customer service processes across the globe. We developed a global product quality policy to set standards and a consistent approach to product quality across our GIP operations. Our product quality team is working to identify the best product quality management practices and, once identified, roll out these practices as our common practice. In 2020, we began rolling out our Commitment-Based Safety/Quality (CBS/Q) program and provided all our supervisors and managers globally with leadership training to facilitate the CBS/Q program and drive a safety and quality culture and accountability throughout our company. Learn more about this program in the Health & Safety section of this report.

We have created a global product quality task force within our GIP business unit to conduct an analysis of what internal factors are contributing to our most common customer issues. We have leveraged the results of our Voice of the Customer study to understand the product quality topics most important to our customers. As part of our work to increase proactive communications with customers, one primary takeaway from the study, we offered virtual plant tours at our manufacturing facilities. To learn more about our Voice of the Customer study, please refer to the Customer Service Excellence section of this report. The global task force is responsible for developing a global strategy roadmap for our product quality initiatives. The task force also leads four subcommittees supporting the following work streams:

  • Back to Basics – Bring quality standards to the shop floor in a visual quality system
  • KPI Metrics – Develop a global product quality dashboard
  • Best Practice Focus – Improving our culture of product quality and root cause problem solving
  • New Methods and Technologies – Cultivating innovation around materials and control systems

While each facility implements the applications most relevant to their operations, Greif QS enables us to utilize critical control points in the manufacturing process to discover and correct deviations from production specifications before a potential defect has the opportunity to negatively impact production or reach a customer. Potential quality issues are reported through our ERP system. When a quality issue is identified, corrective procedures are documented and conveyed through the appropriate communication channels. If we identify a recurring product quality defect, we launch a Product/Process Audit, which is conducted by an internal team of engineering, quality and product representatives. The team uses specific criteria to assess a facility against the processes, standards, equipment and tools that were used during production. This enables the team to work with the facility to resolve the reoccurring issue and improve the product quality process. Evaluation teams also leverage our root-cause corrective action tool that assesses the severity of a quality complaint based on a number of indicators, including financial impact, frequency and type of complaint. By providing objective criteria to evaluate complaints, the process allows us to better prioritize and address highest risk complaints. As part of the Caraustar acquisition and ongoing integration process, legacy Caraustar sites have been integrated to the full suite of tools within Greif QS.

We continue to use our Quality Management System (QMS) scorecard to better evaluate the performance of the applications within Greif QS. The scorecard generates an organizational health report based upon all the tools centralized within Greif QS, including customer complaints, internal corrective actions, management reviews and supplier evaluations. The Greif QS Steering Committee, consisting of quality leaders from our Global Industrial Packaging, Tri-Sure and Flexible Products and Services (FPS) divisions, reviews all applications and requests for new applications to determine and prioritize improvements that will provide the most benefit and improve product quality performance globally. The committee supports regional Quality Councils comprised of regional, business unit and product management leadership.

Our 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. Management of Change uses a series of questions to determine the severity of the change and initiates a review process prior to the change being approved for implementation. Once a change is approved, it is communicated to the impacted functions throughout Greif. This tool allows us to engage departments across the organization and generate tasks to ensure compliance. The tool also informs the commercial team, who can then notify our customers of changes as quickly as possible. We have incorporated our UN certification process into Greif QS. Within Greif QS, we defined the required specifications to achieve UN certification for our relevant products and can now manage the manufacturing process to ensure we remain in compliance. Within Greif FPS, we also maintain UN certifications through annual, third party audits at all Greif FPS factories. Additionally, Greif FPS has two approved UN testing laboratories located in the Rheine/Mesum and Samandıra plants. Having two approved laboratories allows Greif to receive UN certificates quickly and efficiently.

We continue to place an emphasis on improving our food safety programs. We conducted a market analysis on food safety requirements and practices, including topics such as sanitation, pest control and traceability, to establish a baseline good manufacturing practice (GMP) program to implement across Greif. Based on those requirements, we developed a new ISO/GMP system integrating our food safety requirements with our current manufacturing processes. 100 percent of our GIP North America facilities are compliant with the new standards.

In GIP, we continue to execute on our strategic quality roadmaps, which help us ensure that our product quality initiatives are identified through a standardized process, align to Greif’s strategic objectives, 2025 goals and support continuous improvement. Our roadmaps are reviewed annually by GIP leadership and provide a three-year plan for our 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 Corrective Action Rate (CAR), customer complaints and ultimately Greif’s Customer Service Index (CSI) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) performance. For example, we have implemented a Product Safety and Quality Culture Assessment system within our FPS segment of GIP to define and maintain a clear and effective plan for the development and continual improvement of a product safety and quality culture.

 Within our Paper Packaging & Services (PPS) business, each CorrChoice facility has full testing lab capability to conduct extensive performance testing and real-time data collection to monitor product quality and ensure products adhere to our range of expectations. We test raw materials to ensure consistency and share these results with our suppliers as more consistent raw material performance provides a more consistent finished product. These facilities 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.

Collectively, our product quality efforts aid in our continued improvement to customer priority areas: leaks, on-time delivery, contaminants and aesthetic quality. In 2020, we continued to implement our new ISO/GMP food safety system across the business. Our Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) facilities in Houston, Texas and Ede, Netherlands and GIP facilities in Jubail and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia are now ISO 9001 certified.

Performance

416-2
Incidents of non-compliance concerning the health and safety impacts of products and services

GRI
416-2

Corrective Action Rate*
3
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.5
0

1.9

 

-

 

-

 

1.6

 

-

 

-

 

1.3

 

-

 

-

 

1.0

 

-

 

-

 

1.0

 

2.7

 

1.4

 

0.9

 

1.3

 

1.0

 
FY 2015FY 2016FY 2017FY 2018FY 2019FY 2020
RIPS NA
   
APAC
   
EMEA

Order Reliability Rate*
99.80
99.75
99.70
99.65
99.60
99.55
99.50

99.61

 

99.7

 

99.75

 

99.8

 

99.8

 

99.8

 
FY 2015FY 2016FY 2017FY 2018FY 2019FY 2020

Customer Complaints*
1000
900
800
700
600
500
400
300
200
100
0

593

 

 

 

433

 

 

 

389

 

 

 

350

 

 

 

330

 

298

 

959

 

277

 

137

 

685

 
FY 2015FY 2016FY 2017FY 2018FY 2019FY 2020
RIPS NA
   
APAC
   
EMEA

Data is reported for Rigid Industrial Packaging & Services North America (RIPS NA), Asia Pacific (APAC) and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) as indicated.
*CAR measures customer complaints per 100,000 units produced
**Order Reliability Rate defines the rate of failure between orders produced and estimates non-compliance with voluntary codes, reported for RIPS North America only. No regulatory failures or resultant fines have been identified.

Highlight Stories
Highlight Stories

Zero-Leak Program

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 disseminate 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.

Leaker Rate FY 2019 FY 2020
Asia Pacific 0.37 0.14
Europe, Middle East and Africa 0.23 0.23
North America 0.22 0.22

 

DEFINITION