Scrubbing up nicely
Living up to its name in every respect, this prominent South African manufacturer has consistently delivered high quality soap, toiletries and cosmetics to both clients and consumers for over fifty years
Writer Christopher Davies
Project manager Ben Wigger
Established in the 1940s, Quality Products has been a prominent manufacturer of home and personal care goods in Southern Africa for several years. At first, the company produced candles before moving on to soap and other toiletries. In fact, such pioneering development of soap products caught the attention of global consumer goods giant unilever, who went on to buy Quality Products in the mid-1960s.
But this period of ownership came to an end in 2005, when Beige Holdings acquired the company’s shares and assets in partnership with Thebe Health Care. Since then Quality Products, which is listed on the JSE’s alternative Exchange (altX), has continued to successfully deliver a strong portfolio of products throughout the region.
As the leading third party toiletries manufacturer in the region, quality Products is able to produce goods such as soap, home and personal care products as well as hotel guest amenities to the client’s individual specifications. Customers include multinational blue chip corporations such as Avon, Johnson & Johnson, Tiger Brands, Unicef, Unilever, Woolworths and the World Health Organisation.
Unique Selling Point
When asked what gives Quality Products an edge over its competitors, marketing manager Struan Robinson was quick to respond: “Our unique selling point is that we are able to manufacturer products even more efficiently and much cheaper than the client’s current set-up,” he says. “We are able to provide a solution that is not available to our customers in-house. If they can’t do it, nine times out of ten we will have the solution at one of our plants.” this is thanks to, as Robinson puts it, a “strongly experienced management team” working at research and development facilities in Johannesburg and Durban. These locations, measuring 28,000sqm and 16,500sqm respectively, are part of Beige Holdings’ comprehensive contract manufacturing portfolio, which also includes the companies Crystal Pack Ltd and Rap Products International.
Accreditation and Empowerment
In order to operate safely and successfully, quality Products focuses on achieving internationally recognised standards and has received accreditation from numerous industry and trade associations. The company has received the five star rating regulations from NOSA, the world’s leading supplier of occupational risk management services and solutions. Furthermore, Quality Products’ main facility is 9001:2000 compliant while two other sites have received MCC accreditation.
Keeping up to date with the latest industry standards in addition to constant customer requests often requires significant expenditure, but quality Products doesn’t shy away from necessary capital investments. as quality Products explains: “we have invested in highly competitive technology and expertise, meaning that we have up-to-date soap and toiletry manufacturing facilities, and comprehensive quality assurance capabilities. Short and long production line facilities, as well as a variety of packing machines are on offer.”
Even though the number of personnel depends on demand and volume, Quality Products recognises the importance of empowering employees, especially in South Africa. “In terms of strategy and competitive analysis, we are B-BBEE accredited at level three, which is very important in Southern africa and critical to development,” notes Robinson.
Quality and Safety assurances
With such a wide range of products, from mass market soaps to roll-on deodorants and dishwashing liquid, you could be forgiven for thinking that speed and quantity are the most important considerations for quality Products. On the contrary, as the company’s name suggests, satisfying the quality expectations of consumers and customers is paramount. To achieve such exacting standards, Quality Products strives to ensure that there are systems in place to supply acceptable quality products, train employees to carry out quality responsibilities, investigate and resolve consumer or customer complaints and encourage a culture of continuous improvement. All the while, manufacturing facilities utilise good manufacturing practices, operate in line with internationally recognised standards and receive regular audits.
On top of this, all products must be safe to use for the end user. “We are committed to continually satisfying our consumer and customer expectations by designing safety and quality into all our products and processes,” notes the company.
This includes operating a compulsory toxicological clearance system for all ingredients and processes, complying with local and legal requirements, preventing chemical and physical contamination, providing necessary product information to clients and consumers, recalling any products that could potentially cause harm and successfully managing the outbound supply chain.
Quality Products believes that “the contract manufacturing market continues to consolidate and will require a much smaller number of world-class suppliers to remain competitive.” However, since its takeover just under ten years ago, the company is looking forward with optimism and confidence. “Beige has the intent and capacity to continue to expand aggressively but responsibly,” notes Robinson. “The underlying value of the Beige business has only recently become visible, as the strategy implemented over the last few years has taken effect. Beige is confident that its current strategy and dominant position will continue to unlock further value for all stakeholders.”