At Yakima Chief - Hopunion, our customers’ passion for great beer inspires us to strive to provide the highest quality hops. With this vision in mind, we made it one of our strategic goals to obtain the International Organization for Standardization(ISO) 9001 certification for our Yakima facility in 2015. We are pleased to announce that as of October 19, this goal was achieved. Under the direction of Yakima Chief, Inc. our Sunnyside facility received certification in 1998; we are now ISO 9001 certified company-wide.
According to the official website, ISO is an independent, non-governmental membership organization and the world’s largest developer of voluntary international standards. They provide world-class specifications for products, services and systems to ensure quality, safety and efficiency. The standards are recognized by organizations world-wide and are instrumental in facilitating international trade.
ISO 9001 specifically relates to Quality Management. The certification does not define the actual quality of products and services, but rather communicates an assurance to customers that an organization produces quality products having met a comprehensive and regulated set of standards. At YCH, these requirements assist us in achieving consistent results and continuous improvement of our processes.
From understanding the quality procedures that were required, to training and implementing standard operating procedures for all facilities, this achievement was a team effort involving every YCH HOPS department. Because ISO 9001 is a standard for Quality Management Systems, our operations department shouldered the responsibility of creating the necessary standard operating procedures (SOPs) required by ISO and developed the system for implementing them. The SOPs were employed at both our Yakima and Sunnyside facilities to allow for consistency and ensure that each box of T-90 hop pellets are the same premium product, regardless of which facility produced it.
Another key component of the Quality Management System is customer feedback, in which case the sales and marketing departments plays a primary role in seeing that our objectives are being met in the eyes of the customer. A team of internal auditors, including employees from each department, was created according to the system requirements in order to reinforce accountability.
The benefits of achieving the ISO 9001 certification include enhanced customer satisfaction because it sets parameters for creating higher quality products. It also helps optimize operations as new standardized procedures greatly increase the efficiency and productivity of production facilities and staff. Overall, our efforts have significantly improved the bottom line of our company as they help maintain our competitive advantage, open up global markets and reduce trade barriers.
Another ISO certification that we feel is essential to any agriculturally-based organization is ISO 14001. These standards relate to Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and hold us responsible for managing our environmental impacts. EMS supports the sustainability practices of not only our own production facilities, but those of our growers/grower-owners as well, benefiting all of our brewing customers. Sunnyside facilities received this certification in 2010, with re-certification completed in June 2015. It is our goal to pursue ISO 14001 at our Yakima facility in 2016 and we look forward to sharing that journey on the Hop Wire upon company-wide certification.
A culture of continuous improvement is the foundation of our values at Yakima Chief – Hopunion. Best practices, as outlined in any ISO standard, are the core mindset of our company employees, as well as our growers/grower-owners. When we conform to these standards together, our brewing customers can have confidence that our products are safe, of good quality and produced within sustainable, innovative practices.
For more information on the recent attainment of ISO 9001 at our Yakima facilities, please see our press release.