Upgrade in hygiene management and production
As a manufacturer of polyethylene films, Gröning, a company based in Rheine-Mesum in the Steinfurt district, has been relying on a high standard of hygiene since 2009. The company supplies the food industry, among others. Just one year after DIN EN 15593, the first European hygiene standard for the packaging industry, came into force, the medium-sized company was certified accordingly. Since then, the status quo has been reviewed annually and the certificate is renewed every three years.
BRCGS certificate is internationally recognisedNow the film specialist underwent another audit at the end of April. This was in accordance with the requirements of the "BRC Global Standards for packaging materials" (BRCGS). "Over the past years, we have created a solid foundation for our hygiene management. Therefore, we will continue the previous certification according to DIN EN 15593," explains Matthias Becker-Gröning, one of the company's managing directors. However, many customers from the food industry with a global supply chain are BRCGS-certified and expect the same from their suppliers. The additional requirements of the standard internationally recognised by the GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) will complement the existing certification well. In addition, it will strengthen customer confidence in hygiene, product safety and product quality.
The result of the audit was extremely pleasing: "We completed the audit with an A-certificate for the first time – the second best of a total of five possible classifications," Becker-Gröning is pleased to report. To achieve this, the company has, for example, built a new changing room building, installed new hygiene locks, extended access restrictions and adapted production processes. "These investments are aimed at making processes and products even safer," explains Thomas Junker, head of the company's quality, energy and hygiene management. This also includes dividing the company's premises into new hygiene zones.
Hygiene management reaches the next levelJunker emphasises: "We have already fulfilled many of the points required by a hygiene audit in recent years. Whether it is the analysis of hazards and risks, the monitoring of products and traceability in the supply chain, cleaning plans or the regular training of our employees." Now with the requirements of the BRCGS, further points have been added. They can, however, be easily integrated into everyday production and quality management. A special team of employees from different departments, headed by Kathrin Esper from quality management, had ensured this in close coordination with the management. "Even if the effort is now greater in some cases and some things still have to be brought in, it is already clear that hygiene management is clearly benefiting. And in a year's time, at the next certification, it will become clear whether AA certification will then already be possible," explains Kathrin Esper.
Matthias Becker-Gröning adds: "In the course of the audit, many things in the company were redesigned. But not only because of that. After the fire in our glass fabric production three years ago, we had to give up textile production after 146 years. That's why we made targeted investments in the expansion of film production." There is a new building for technical purchasing and shipping. The existing administration building has been extended by further offices and the "Wilhelm Gröning Forum" with customer and event centre. The company has also purchased new equipment for film extrusion and further processing to increase capacity. The number of employees is also back at approximately the same level as before, with 160 people now employed. According to Becker-Gröning, these were important decisions. Especially now, in times of the corona pandemic, the demand for plastic packaging in the food industry has grown. He explains: "Hygiene, safety and quality of products are therefore even more important in film production than before. We believe that the new certification will therefore pay off twice over."www.groening.de