IPL is committed to providing quality products and services to the explosives, industrial chemicals and fertilisers sectors.
IPL is a global provider of innovative explosive products, services and solutions under the renowned Dyno Nobel brand. Using BEx principles, product quality is being continuously improved by the detection, analysis and correction of trends during processing to enhance quality and performance. Since 2015, a working partnership between IPL’s explosives research and development laboratories and its manufacturing plants has served to further improve operating procedures, particularly where product analysis is required: see the Case Study on the Dyno Nobel Emulsion Quality System under Explosives Research and Development. Ongoing improvements in both the product formulations and the raw materials sourced have resulted in improved explosives product quality and enhanced performance.
An improved Quality Management System was introduced into our Explosives Initiations Systems manufacturing plants and our Australian bulk emulsion manufacturing plants in 2015 and continues to allow greater tracking and correction of product quality using a range of improved KPIs. These metrics include:
• First Pass Yield, also known as Throughput Yield;
• Process Capability Index, a measure of how closely a process is running
to its specification limits, relative to the natural variability of the process;
• Financial cost of non-conforming products; and
• Escape Rate ((Total 'Escaped' Defects / Total Production) x 1,000,000) of
units not meeting our high standards of quality control. Our 2017 Escape
Rate was just 0.30, a better result than our target rate of <1.
The ‘Marketing & Technology Ideas & Work Requests Database’, which will be upgraded in 2018, provides research and development assistance across the organisation to facilitate improvements in product quality.
Our Fertiliser Quality Policy outlines our commitment to providing products and services that meet our customer' needs. During 2017, the collaboration between the explosives research and development laboratories and manufacturing teams was extended to IPL’s fertiliser production plant at Gibson Island, Queensland.
Fertilisers contain various impurities which are mostly derived from the raw materials used in fertiliser manufacture. We are committed to providing quality products and services that meet customer needs.
We manufacture a wide range of fertilisers in Australia, and source products from other Australian suppliers and overseas to offer a comprehensive product range. In Australia, fertilisers must meet certain standards and be labelled in accordance with relevant statutory requirements and the Fertiliser Australia National Code of Practice for Fertilizer Description and Labelling. We have set specifications for domestically manufactured and imported fertilisers that meet these standards. Routine laboratory analyses are performed to ensure products meet these specifications.
Our fertiliser manufacturing is monitored by our own Quality Control Laboratories and our Ammonia (Big N), Urea and GranAm products are quality assured to AS/NZS ISO9001:2000 standards. All of our product imports are sourced in compliance with the Fertiliser Australia Purchasing Code of Practice. Product Specifications are set that meet statutory limits and market needs. Certificates of Analysis are sought from suppliers. The delivered products are then analysed through our own Quality Control Laboratories to ensure they are within specification, e.g. maximum limits of heavy metal impurities such as cadmium, lead and mercury. We declare the impurity content of fertilisers on the product label.
Through our Customer Complaints Data Base, we track the percentage of our
fertiliser product sold (imported or manufactured) which has quality control issues
and we set targets to improve/maintain this KPI each year. In 2017, the percentage
of fertiliser sales with quality control issues which were compensated for was just 0.071%. We examine quarterly 'touchpoint' reports assessed through 'Fertshed', our online customer transactional portal, which also tracks aspects of customer sentiment. This allows management to disseminate the information quickly through internal channels, solving product quality or delivery issues quickly.
During 2018, improvement initiatives will include a focus to extend IPL’s quality standards throughout the fertiliser distribution business.