2018 Sustainability Report

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

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

Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary

Explain management approach components

Evaluate management approach

GRI 416:

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. 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 of our manufacturing facilities.



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 2018, 87 percent of Greif’s 148 global production sites were certified to ISO 9001 standards—a quality management designation. We actively maintain product quality centrally through our quality standards and tracking performance on two product quality indicators: Corrective Action Rate (CAR) and total customer complaints. Additionally, select facilities use Orders Between Failure (OBF) Percentage 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 product processes throughout all of 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

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.

In 2018, we launched several initiatives to improve our product quality management. We introduced 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. We created a steering committee for Greif QS consisting of quality leaders from our RIPS, Tri-Sure and FPS divisions. The committee 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.

We finished developing a root cause corrective action tool that allows us to assess 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 the highest risk complaints.

We created a Management of Change tool to identify and categorize 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.

In RIPS North America, we created a process for mapping individual initiatives to strategic objectives – including our 2025 goals – and created area roadmaps to execute on those objectives, driving continuous improvement. Led by RIPS North American leadership, this new initiative enables us to standardize the process for identifying areas of improvement across all RIPS NA facilities. Through the process, we identify facility specific areas of risk and opportunity, determine a three- to five-year roadmap of focus initiatives and establish detailed project plans for short-term initiatives. Outcomes of the initiatives contribute to individual and team performance goals and contribute to improvements to CAR, customer complaints and ultimately Greif’s CSI and NPS performance.

In 2019, we will focus on integrating food safety and ISO standards to develop minimum specifications for food and safety across the organization, in alignment with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards and FDA regulations. We will integrate these standards within Greif QS to ensure consistency across the organization. Greif will continue to work with customers to reduce the response time when answering questions about quality. In response to customer requests, we will focus on improving not just structural, but aesthetic quality, by finding ways to improve the external appearance of our products.


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



Corrective Action Rate*








FY 2015FY 2016FY 2017FY 2018
Order Reliability Rate*








FY 2015FY 2016FY 2017FY 2018

Customer Complaints*











*Order Reliability Rate defines the rate of failure between orders produced and estimates non-compliance with voluntary codes. 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 our 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.