On the 30th January 2001, a company now known as Sharpak Aylesham became the first site registered with QA International Certification Ltd against a brand new standard.
The BRC/IoP Technical Standard for Companies Manufacturing and Supplying Food Packaging Materials for Retailer Branded Products was not officially released until 10 months later in October 2001, but QAICL, along with a number of other certification bodies were working with pilot companies towards UKAS accreditation.
Following a successful audit, Sharpak Aylesham was granted certification, with the registration number QAIC/UK/BRC/001-1, with their Bridgwater site soon to follow as 001-2.
In January 2017, Sharpak had their 18th audit against the much changed and improved Issue 5 of the BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials, which has evolved over the years into the "must-have" standard of choice for retailers and specifiers to give them the confidence in the product they are purchasing.
Sharpak Aylesham Ltd is part of the Guillin Group of Companies and situated between Canterbury and Dover in Kent. They are a rigid thermoformed plastic packaging manufacturer supplying packaging to the Bespoke, Foodservice, Fruit and Vegetable market Sectors. Sharpak is approved by all major retailers and operates state of the art production machinery in a facility described by QA International as ‘world class’.
Peter Askew, the Quality, Environment and H&S Manager met with QAIC Packaging Division Director John Hartley recently to discuss the benefits of the standard to his company, and why they have remained the longest serving certificated client of QAIC Packaging for all this time.
"Sharpak has always believed that offering a first class service is key to securing our position as market leaders with our customers and within the industry. From the outset, Sharpak had the foresight to see how compliance with what was then the Technical Standard could underpin their reputation with customers, many of whom are still working with us, and of course in securing new business. We are grateful to QAI for giving us the opportunity to establish UKAS accreditation for a standard which we strongly believe certification to is a prerequisite for an order. Over the years we have seen QA International grow to probably the biggest certifying body for the BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials. We are proud, not only to hold the 001 certificate, but of our working partnership with QAI", said Peter.
Alan Carter, Managing Director of QA International Certification Ltd said he was proud to think that the client had chosen to remain with QAICL, on the merits of its high standards of service, professional Auditors and overall attention to customer care.
"The certification process requires a 'team' effort, and is a partnership in which the BRC, retailers in general, UKAS, the packaging team of QAICL, and of course the customer, can be proud" said Alan.
The difficulties and importance of ensuring 'due diligence' within the food and packaging supply chain, cannot be over emphasised and Alan, on behalf of QAICL and its staff, congratulates the Sharpak company and its team for meeting such high expectations.
John Hartley, who made the long journey from Darlington to Aylesham to meet up with the company and present their latest certificate, added, "I would hope that it is testament to the robust procedures and systems that QAICL operate too that a site such as Sharpak in Aylesham have remained with ourselves for such a long period of time. We would like to think that we have an approachable team of staff in the office who can assist sites with any queries throughout the year, and having now certificated a total of 547 sites around the world across this standard, to still have the company with 001 on their certificate makes us all very proud".
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