Getting accredited involves investment and change, but for Hannapak, it was a no-brainer.
Independent carton board packaging manufacturer, Hannapak was recently certified with FSSC 22000 accreditation after a rapid installation of less than four months.
"We were proactive, we had dedicated staff and a dedicated team putting it in," says Ben Knight, marketing manager, Hannapak.
"There's been a lot of talk about certification for years with different customers, global customers wanting certification. In years to come we'd need that certification. We could have waited until then, but we decided to get in early and set the benchmark.
"The writing was on the wall that at some point during the future it would be mandatory, so why not do it on our terms and our timing and use it as our advantage and not wait for it to put pressure on the business?"
Knight says certification gives Hannapak an advantage with future customers from the FMCG category.
"We've got customers in the FMCG business that aren't even FSSC accredited, and they were quite impressed that we were."
Hannapak decided to go down the path of FSSC 22000 accreditation as it was one of the most globally recognised.
"There was definitely a level of investment to go down that path and there was a level of change to the factory, the manufacturing facility and the culture of the business," Knight says.
Investing in change
As part of certification, Hannapak implemented a number of processes.
"When you come through the facility there is no jewellery allowed and you need covered in shoes. That safety aspect is not just for your safety, but for the safety of the products as well.
"The equipment manufacturing practices is a big component of it as well, so the cleanliness, the wash-in, wash-out of the factory, keeping the factory neat and tidy and other processes."
Different areas of the facility also had to be rearranged or modified.
"A lot of the entry points into the factory we had to either close down or make them entrance points for a washing facility. We had to take a lot of stuff out of the factory, people eating, different types of drinks, café bars, that type of thing, had to come out of the factory. You can drink water in the factory and that's pretty much it.
"Culturally, people have been working here for a long time and being a community-based employer, we have a high staff retention rate as well. A lot of those people had been here and been set in their ways for a lot of years, so we had to supply them lockers, uniforms, and those facilities, the lunch room, so they had places to go.
"That level of investment has been logistical and then there's training as well, along with the cost of putting that accreditation in and staying accredited," Knight says.
How does certification work?
"It works like this: a consultant will come in and do a gap analysis and you'll get a list that you need to comply with and they help you through it," Knight says.
"They'll come back and say 'where are you up to with this?' And work through the process until you get to the final stage where you want to become accredited.
"Then they come through, they do that accreditation process, and there still might be a couple of things to close out. Once those are closed out, you become certified.
"After 12 months you have to be recertified and have an audit conducted of your facility to see if you are still holding those standards that were set on that previous certification. If something lapses, for example, you'll get a notice what needs to be fixed up, if that's not fixed up or closed out within a certain period of time, then you lose that certification."
Investment at Hannapak has stretched beyond certification, with the company also updating their technology and equipment over the past few years.
The highest level of investment has been in the printing and die-cutting process, Knight says.
Hannapak has implemented "the latest high speed printing presses with the latest quality enhancements on there, being the in-process inspection. With the die-cutting, we've put high speed die-cutting in with the power registered technology. It allows us to control the process and reduce board, which is not only cost saving but a sustainability piece as well.
Further innovations in the printing process include the in-line foil technology on the printing press.
Hannapak has been able to "convert current customers from traditional methods, to using a modern foil and also customers that were using polyestermetalites substrates. We've been converting them over as the in-line foil process, which is able to go through the post-consumer recycle chain."
"Quality systems is probably where the big focus has been in the last few years so it's investing in the equipment and investing in the quality systems that go on the equipment, whether it is printing, or die-cutting or gluing, so in-lines, inspections, code readings, in-line sorting, that sort of investment," Knight says.
"We don't focus on our competitors, we don't focus on anything else but what we have at hand, what's in front of us, but we have an end-game."
Hannapak is staying tight-lipped about future plans, but Knight says the company is "always planning for the future.
"The next 12-24 months will be 'watch this space.'
"We've invested in equipment over the last couple of years and a lot of that equipment is coming to fruition in processes and how that equipment runs. This year we have taken on some additional work, so this year we will be focussed on our customers, getting that work done and growing their businesses."
The Hannapak site visit was organised by the Australian Institute of Packaging.