Better quality with sustainable benefits
Franke’s central Quality Management was not deterred by the pandemic in 2020, accelerating the quality drive that began in the previous year. Clear progress was made on all levels and this has certainly helped to boost the environmental balance.
“Our pursuit of outstanding quality, which generates added value, has for many years been a core element of our business philosophy. It is one of the mainstays of Franke’s success,” says Carlo Traversari, who as Franke Group Head of Quality, is the person responsible for the multi-year quality drive launched in 2019. Within this framework, all divisions have been able to take significant steps forward in 2020.
For example, the data-based service appraisal, the system successfully adopted some time ago by Franke Kitchen Systems (since January 2021 new Franke Home Solutions), has now been rolled out to all Franke divisions. The system has enabled significant upgrades of supplier quality, as evidenced by the noticeable reduction in the service call rate, and the higher level of customer satisfaction. Along with upgrades to the production process and in logistics, the various measures have also reduced the rejection rate. In addition, there were fewer warranty claims in 2020 than in the previous year and less scrap generated by production.
Overall, the Group has significantly reduced its cost of poor quality and for Franke Kitchen Systems, this reduction was as much as 25 percent. Traversari is convinced that similar strides can be made in 2021 for the division. “We can continue to improve our products and processes,” he says, “if we can tune into what the end customer wants, listen to their ideas and suggestions, and then draw the right conclusions.”
Great strides and small steps
The application of uniform group-wide quality standards is an important way of achieving our objectives. As Traversari says, “The introduction, implementation and improvement of these standards is a long-term process.” Sometimes even small changes can lead to significant progress. Thanks to more protective packaging, transport damage to the 'Fragranite' granite sinks was slashed by 45 percent in 2020, on both the main sales markets.
The packaging used on the synthetic sinks produced in Strečno (Slovakia) is one example of how high quality can also be eco-friendly: the new containers are made from cardboard instead of polystyrene. This change has helped the Slovakian plant to improve its environmental balance, while the cost of poor quality has also been reduced. Strain on the environment has been further relieved by the 25 percent reduction of the scrap rate in production at the Slovakian site, compared to the previous year. When it comes to sustainability and the attainment of quality and environmental standards, less is often more. The benchmark that Traversari relies on is the Total Quality Management (TQM) model, in which, as he confirms, we are aiming to be “best in class.” Our TQM strategy focuses on lean production in line with the latest global standards. “This approach allows us to manufacture top-class sustainable products at competitive costs, which means our customers and the environment benefit,” says Traversari.