Top quality is our responsibility to ensure zero defects
19. December 2023
Today's interviewee is Albert Wolff, Head of Quality Assurance at Sihl. He explains how we ensure that we supply our customers with products of the highest quality. And what responsibility quality control has in this respect
You work in quality control. What is important here?
Albert Wolff: The appeal of my job is the contact with lots of people and the opportunity to help find solutions to specific problems on a daily basis. We see ourselves primarily as a service department for our colleagues in production. Initially, our department was responsible for checking the quality of the materials produced at Sihl. Later, we introduced worker self-inspection. This means that the employees at the machines check the quality of the products they manufacture themselves. Of course, we train them accordingly so that they can carry out this quality control and take on more responsibility themselves.
We also check whether the agreed processes and quality checks are being adhered to. This enables us to identify and rectify any weaknesses. Teamwork with the production staff is particularly important to ensure the best quality and no complaints about our products. This not only makes our customers happy and satisfied, but also saves us work, as complaints are also processed by us.
So, you make sure that Sihl products work and that Sihl has satisfied customers. Is the pressure high? Do you have a lot of responsibility?
Albert Wolff: That is our daily business. We use every complaint to optimise our internal processes – even unjustified complaints, i.e. when the fault lies not with our product but with the user. For example, if the customer has used their printer incorrectly, we work with the responsible Business Development Managers to see how we can help the user to avoid similar errors in the future. This service contributes to customer loyalty.
Pressure and responsibility are naturally high for us. We have set ourselves high targets and want to achieve our defined key figures. Even if we use the tool of worker self-inspection, poor quality ultimately falls back on us because we are responsible for training the workers and the internal processes.
Sihl also produces baggage labels for airports, which means that Sihl helps to ensure that travellers arrive safely at their destination. What does it mean to you to be part of such an important cog in a big machine?
Albert Wolff: It fills me with pride when you consider how much we literally move. That’s a great thing. But it’s not just luggage tags, the enormous diversity impresses me time and time again. Our products are very different: ski tickets, tear-proof envelopes, various labels, stand-up packaging – you don’t always realise it, but we are involved in many areas of life. If you go to a concert at the LANXESS arena in Cologne, there’s a good chance that your ticket will be printed on our thermal material.