Quality is an attitude
What good is it if a paperboard meets all possible quality norms if it isn’t there when you need it? To us, quality is not only about the physical characteristics of the products themselves. Quality also means satisfying the customer’s requirements in every aspect of the business process. Our aim is to provide quality across the board – from product development through manufacturing and distribution to marketing, sales and after-sales support.
We have chosen the quality assurance approach embodied in the international standards and specifications for quality management systems set out in ISO 9001. This approach not only gives us a framework for the systematic management of quality, it is also a clear indication of our determination to build quality into all aspects of our business. Iggesund Paperboard’s manufacturing units at Iggesund, Workington and Strömsbruk are officially approved and accredited to the ISO 9001 standard.
Iggesund Paperboard’s quality programme has already been assessed in detail by an approved third party. This means it is not mere window-dressing. It is quicker, easier and cheaper for customers and prospective customers to assess us as a supplier. The risks involved in any business relationship – poor quality of product or service – are minimised. You can also be sure of our continuing drive for quality improvement in all aspects of our operations.
Quality in raw materials
The production of high quality virgin fibre paperboards depends heavily on the quality of the fibre source, that is, the trees themselves. We therefore pay the closest possible attention to the forestry operations which are at the heart of our business.
In Sweden, the Holmen Group cultivates more than 30 million seedlings a year in its own nurseries, for subsequent replanting in the Group’s 1,260,000 hectares of forest, or on land owned by other forest product suppliers. Holmen Skog supplies raw material to the Iggesunds mill. In the UK, Iggesund Forestry supplies approximately 300,000 cubic metres of spruce wood and 50,000 cubic metres of sawmill chips to the board mill at Workington, primarily from Forestry Commission land in south-west Scotland and northern England.
Both production units within Iggesund Paperboard rigorously assess all suppliers of raw materials to ensure the quality. In addition, the quality assurance systems include regular monitoring and verification of incoming materials to verify that they meet the specifications.
Quality in manufacturing
Our philosophy is to build high quality into the production process itself, rather than relying on rejecting poor quality products after manufacture.
Modern technology now enables rapid processes and high speed machinery to be monitored and adjusted to the finest tolerances. In key areas of the process computers continually measure a host of critical product quality parameters, such as grammage, moisture content, thickness and coating weight. These parameters are automatically adjusted to match the desired specifications, or information displayed on monitors enables operators to interpret changes and take corrective action.
In addition to in-process measurement, product quality is routinely checked at each production unit. Each batch of board produced is assessed against the technical specifications for the product concerned. Numerous tests are done in laboratories using specialist equipment, including sophisticated techniques of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to ensure that the paperboard does not contribute to odour and taste contamination.
A question of attitude
Machines and control systems are all very well but it is the people behind them who allow us to produce quality in its widest sense. Our business philosophy is as much about the attitudes and motivation of our employees as it is about hardware. We believe that the combination of efficient technology and highly motivated individuals is unbeatable.
At all our production units we work actively with factors which influence our quality. Major efforts are made to formulate work routines and the division of responsibilities so that each person in the organisation feels fully involved. Employees at every level are actively encouraged, not just to do their job properly, but to take an active role, by identifying, proposing and implementing improvements. Our quality management approach is also a key feature of the training and personal development of individual employees.
Declaring a commitment to quality is often easier than consistently delivering the quality the customer wants. In order to give our customers real confidence in our ability to deliver the quality we aspire to, all three of our manufacturing units have undergone certification in accordance with the ISO 9001 quality standard.
This certification demonstrates that the quality systems in place throughout Iggesund Paperboard conform to the norms laid down by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). As a continuing measure of performance, approved independent assessors audit our quality systems on a regular basis.
One quality parameter which is regularly analysed on finished paperboard is odour and taste. These analyses are done at our Laboratory for Sensory and Chemical Analyses, which is accredited as a facility for sensory measurements in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025.
We believe that our quality approach in everything we do helps to build long-term business partnerships with our customers, users, and suppliers. Our customers are welcome to conduct quality audits of Iggesund Paperboard as their supplier.