ANNUAL REPORT
Original perspective

A commitment to quality, service and food safety

THE CUSTOMER AT THE CENTRE OF OPERATING DECISIONS

The Viscofan Group places the customer at the centre of its operational decisions, always seeking the best value proposition for customers, in order to improve their efficiency and have a greater product diversification yet without compromising on strict quality controls and food safety.

In this respect, Viscofan is able to boast the largest commercial network in the industry and a level of service by its technicians that is widely recognised throughout the market.

As experts in artificial casings, we are the only company in the sector that offers a total, comprehensive service to our clients and are able to offer the casings solution that best adapts to their needs.

In its continuous improvement model, and via multidisciplinary teams from its sales, operations and R&D departments, Viscofan Group identifies those areas of most concern to the meat industry, developing and incorporating related improvements.

Maintaining our leadership position in the global market in an environment as dynamic as the current one would be impossible without Viscofan’s excellent level of service and diversification; as a result of our presence in 14 countries we are able to provide suitable casing solutions to more than 1,700 customers in 100 countries around the globe.

This global outlook has been recognised on a number of occasions. Viscofan’s awards include the 2013 Aster award for its business trajectory, by ESIC (Business and Marketing School), the Award for the Internationalisation trajectory granted to Viscofan by the Businessmen’s Association together with Wharton University of Pennsylvania; and the Export award granted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Navarra.

In 2013, the Supply Chain department was created, directed at improving customer service and optimising working capital. In order to achieve these objectives, initiatives have been implemented to improve and standardise the supply chain management tools and to enhance the coordination of the corporate teams. Likewise, the number of contact persons between orders and complaints has been simplified, making use of a unique scale in the casings market, helping to speed up procedures and improve customer service.

Communication channels with our customers

Our value creation proposal is supported by a fluid communication channel and customer relationship, primarily through:

  1. Seminars and events organised by Viscofan.
  2. A technical assistance and continuous service telephone number.
  3. Active attendance of industry fairs, particularly the IFFA in Germany, the largest food sector fair in the world held every three years in Frankfurt.
  4. Visits to clients.
  5. Local presence directly by the company or through agents and suppliers.
  6. Access to an own extranet (Visnet) accessible from www.viscofan.com
PRODUCT SAFETY AND FOOD HYGIENE FROM THE SUPPLIER TO THE CONSUMER

One of the main functions of the casing is to protect the sausage contained inside. Processed meat is a basic food product for billions of people around the world. Viscofan, as the sector leader, perfectly understands that this market demands the establishment of principles that guarantee that the production process and the end product fully comply with legal requirements and have passed the appropriate quality controls, thereby obtaining, in addition to excellent quality, a product that offers complete safety and hygiene for its customers.

The company’s commitment to quality and food hygiene takes the form of our mandatory processes applied throughout the production process and involves stringent working practices that are audited both internally and externally.

This commitment begins with the selection of raw materials, from the principal elements (cellulose, collagen hides, Manila hemp and polyamides) to auxiliary components used in the chemical and mechanical transformation of these raw materials during the production process.

To make this selection, Viscofan Group has established a supplier approval system, and suppliers need to comply with demanding quality, safety and cost criteria. This system establishes impartial and objective treatment in the supplier and contractor selection process.

Aware of the strategic importance of a suitable supply of raw materials and services, Viscofan Group is committed to its suppliers and establishes relationships founded on reciprocal contribution, mutual respect, trust and the quality of products and services.

In turn, to guarantee the excellence of its products and services at all times, as a guarantee for both its clients and the end consumer, Viscofan has a product and food hygiene safety system that covers every relevant aspect from its own production installations built in accordance with food safety regulations, to training programmes in food hygiene and product safety, quality control of raw materials, which must comply with specifications established with authorised suppliers, systems for detecting unsuitable materials during the production process, pest control, control of dangerous materials, staff hygiene and a visitors’ policy.

These protocols configuring our product safety and quality system are based on the following core principles:

Hazard analysis and critical control point

Viscofan has a hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) system in place. The company formed an interdisciplinary team that assesses every step of the production process to detect possible hazards (physical, chemical and microbiological contamination, including allergens), identify critical control points, establish relevant controls and take any required corrective action. The system is updated annually in line with any changes in the production process.

Compliance with the applicable legislation

The production technical scope in casings production is increasingly highly regulated in food safety area by different countries and supranational institutions, constituting a growing frame in constant update of requirements that cannot be eluded.

This regulatory framework directly affects the activity of production facilities, due to the legislation of origin countries, requirements of destination countries and globally accepted international standards.

Given the complexity of this situation, Viscofan Group has created The Patents and Regulatory Affairs Department to strengthen the fulfillment of its products with different food safety regulations. The main functions of this department are:

  • Follow-up of national and international regulatory frameworks of food industry, especially those that may affect casings industry, its implementation and internal compliance.
  • Supervision of the fulfillment in every production facilities. Coordination and implementation of action plans.
  • Dialogue with organisms, associations and lobbies related with the regulation of issues affecting food and casings industries.
Product traceability and identification

Viscofan operates a product traceability system that enables us to identify, at any time and in full detail, the history of every unit and even sub-unit sold, from receipt of raw materials to product use by our customers.

In Europe, Viscofan fully implements a food traceability system under European Community Directive 178/2002 and its related legislation.

AUDIT AND CERTIFICATION

To ensure that our product safety and food hygiene systems comply with requirements, our production processes are audited internally on a regular basis. Furthermore, the production facilities are continuously audited by the health authorities, numerous customers and, when applicable, by the certifying bodies, as is the case with all of the European plants which are successfully certified each year in accordance with the strictest market standards (British Retail Consortium Standards).

This certification, effective for years in manufacturing sites of Spain, Germany and the Czech Republic, has been expanded to other non-European factories, such as those in Mexico, the United States and Uruguay, and it is predicted to advance in Brazil and China in 2016.

Moreover, Viscofan has internationally accepted certifications to enable meat processors to homologate its suppliers, and thus be approved for sale in main world distribution chains:

  • BRC - Global Standard for Food Safety. A protocol that aims to ensure that every supplier comply with requirements that guarantee the safety of their food.
  • BRC/IoP - Global Standard For Packaging and Packaging Materials. This certification is addressed to manufacturers of packaging and materials in contact with food.

Those certificates evidence the organisation’s commitment to safety, health, quality at its workplaces and in its products and in all activities performed at a national and international level, showing the company’s ongoing interest to offer and ensure compliance with the highest standards.

The certification, through the audit of an authorized external entity, guarantees that group production plants have necessary systems to identify and control the risks that can negatively affect food safety through a system of Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP).Furthermore, counting on the strong commitment of management team.

Key factors on which is based:

  • Guarantee food safety. Efficient and dynamic risks control.
  • Compliance with applicable legislation in production countries, requirements of destination countries and globally accepted international standards.
  • Cost reduction of possible errors in any production chain.
  • Organized and effective communication with all stakeholders (internal, suppliers, customers, authorities).
  • Provide confidence to customers and consumers.

Furthermore, Viscofan Group has Halal and Kosher certification, so is able to supply these products in any market worldwide. These certifications for food products are key to break into different markets. Halal certification is specifically designed for commercialized products in Muslim countries and Islamic communities, while Kosher certification is a consumption requirement for food products in Jewish communities.

Our commitment with food hygiene and quality is reflected in our mandatory procedures, which are applicable to our entire production process and involve a strict working procedure that is audited internally and externally.

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