ISO certification sets the worldwide benchmark for the highest level of standardisation and is therefore one of the most important metrics to consider when choosing a timber treatment product.

JJ du Plessis, business manager at Lonza Wood Protection South Africa. Photo by Lonza

JJ du Plessis, business manager at Lonza Wood Protection South Africa. Photo by Lonza

According to JJ du Plessis, business manager at Lonza Wood Protection South Africa, today’s timber treatment market demands products that meet and exceed the expectations of the end-user, which is why you cannot afford to overlook the importance of quality management systems that ensure successful ISO audits year after year.

“For Lonza, being ISO certified means that everything we say about our brands is independently verified by the highest international quality standard. Furthermore, it creates a stringent blueprint for us to achieve best practice throughout our business while simultaneously pursuing continuous improvement in the way we dot our i’s and cross our t’s,” says du Plessis.

Zero non-conformances

Lonza South Africa has an established ISO 9001 certification with a history of positive audit results for the past twenty-five years. Each certification lasts three consecutive years, during which time two assessment audits and a re-certification audit is required. This year in February, the company went through a re-certification audit and was successfully re-certified as ISO 9001:2015 by TÜV Rheinland, a global leader in independent inspection services.

Denise Conradie, quality assurance manager at Lonza, was proud to state that the 2021 third party audit revealed zero non- conformances and six positive best practices. “Lonza has numerous internal auditors who meticulously audit our processes and procedures and constantly look for improvement and best practice opportunities. We follow a robust Process Control system which checks all incoming raw materials from suppliers. These materials are then further monitored to ensure that their manufacturing standard complies with Lonza’s stringent global requirements. In addition, we have sampling protocols in place to ensure that the Certificate of Analysis that accompany the raw materials are consistent with the actual tests and test results conducted on site,” explains Conradie.

Engaged and experienced workforce

To plan its processes and interactions, Lonza employs the International Standard process approach, which incorporates the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle and risk-based thinking. All parameters of the company’s manufacturing processes are also controlled through work instructions and procedures in accordance with the ISO 9001:2015 requirements.

“Our quality department, which started out as custodians of our ISO system, has successfully integrated the ISO methodology throughout the landscape of the company. Furthermore, the risk-based thinking of ISO 9001 supports the Lonza Speciality Ingredient’s commitment to safety in the workplace,” adds Conradie.

Kesun Govender, site head at Lonza, believes that procedures and work instructions are important but are also dependent on the people that use them. “We are therefore committed to investing time and energy into staff training to ensure a highly engaged and experienced workforce at every level of our Quality Management System,” says Govender.

ISO must extend to service

However, according to du Plessis, a quality mindset cannot only confine itself to the products sold. It must also develop a customer service focused culture within your business.

“We have built customer satisfaction into our Quality Management System to provide a process that evaluates our ability to meet customer’s requirements, which also forms an important part of our ISO re-certification audit. By engaging with our customers to establish exactly what they want we can systematically evaluate our systems with the idea of transferring best practice to our customer experience.

“While Lonza’s ISO 9001:2015 re-certification is a strong indicator of our performance, we are also proud that it is only part of a much longer and larger global history of quality manufacturing and customer excellence at Lonza,” says du Plessis.