Control of "Non-Compliant" or "Potentially Unsafe" products in the Tequila Industry.

por Ing. José Luis Blanco | Dec 27, 2021 10:22:48 PM

During the 20 years I've been working at Tequila Sauza, we've always been concerned about guaranteeing our consumers with high quality products by controlling our processes so as not to generate non-compliant products.

salidas no conforme en industria tequilera

At Tequila Sauza, we make sure that any product which doesn't meet our requirements and specifications gets identified and controlled in order to prevent its use or its unintentional delivery to the following stages of the production chain.

What is a Non-Compliant Product?

A non-compliant product is the one that doesn't meet the requirements of our clients, which are set in a quality program, documented by the company.

In some cases, the use or delivery of non-compliant or potentially unsafe product is allowed at some point of the transformation chain. This happens when:

  1. The hazards related to the safety of the product have been reduced to established acceptable levels.
  2. The hazards related to the safety of the product have been reduced to established acceptable levels and identified as such before entering a production line thanks to the application of our standards.

Where do we detect a non-compliant product?

non-compliant product at tequila industry

A non-compliant product may be detected as an specific incident that came up while carrying out the processes themselves, as well as an incident that took place with our suppliers.

Another source of incidents and the most important one, one that we at Sauza work hard to avoid, is the one expressed as a complaint from our consumers and/or customers.

Communication and Non-compliant Product Control

When a non-compliant product is detected at Tequila Sauza, it is quickly communicated to the person who has authority over the processes that generated or detected the non-compliance.

This communication must be carried out immediately in order to avoid generating more non-compliant product, using the most appropriate mean. There is usually a format to separate the product from the rest, to fill in all the details of the non-compliant product and to identify the product.

It is recommended that the staff knows how to treat a non-compliant product. One way to achieve this is by training them on the classification of the different kinds of defects that we've cataloged as such, as well as on their specifications and the procedures to follow.

Once a non-compliant product is reported to the person in charge, a follow-up process must be opened in order to control the product's evolution and to close the incident as soon as possible.

There may be times when the client must be informed about the non-compliance and asked to fill in an application with which he accepts the delivery of the product under those conditions. This usually happens only with minor non-compliances.

Identifying a Non-Compliant Product

At Tequila Sauza, tequila we make sure we identify and document the non-compliance in order to show evidence that will allow us to decide which following actions will be taken.

In Tequila Sauza, all the products that are identified as non-compliant are immediately segregated from the rest and sent to an area set for this purpose. This area has a restricted access in order to avoid the product being mistaken for a good one.

product safety at casa sauza

We have a quarantine area at where the non-compliant product is sent to. There's a person responsible of the control of the non-compliant product at this area. This person makes sure that the product gets properly identified as such, with signs that match the nature of the non-compliant product, so it can later enter the non-compliant product area.

Afterwards, the person in charge of the area, in coordination with the quality manager, decides-on and executes the necessary actions and storage conditions, as well as the handling and the use given to the non-compliant product, in order to ensure that the legal requirements, the compliance requirements of the product, are met and maintained. (quality and safety).

These storage conditions keep the product safe from its exposure to chemical, physical, micro-biological, or any other kind of contamination or external hazard.

The intention of identifying it and segregating it from the rest, is to avoid having it mistaken for a compliant product.

How to Handle a Non-Compliant Product

To handle this situation in the best possible way, we must first specify that the ISO standard specifies the way to treat a non-compliant product yet, the specific procedure to be carried out, or the mechanism on which the treatment will be given, is defined by each organization.

There are different ways to handle this situation and the ISO 9001, 2015 standard mentions them:

Corrective Action: action taken to eliminate the cause of the detected non-compliance or other undesirable situation.

Correction: the effects of the non-compliance are afterwards eliminated. In each situation, the necessary measures must be adopted, always taking into account the proportionality criterion.

Cause analysis: Based on a detailed analysis of the non-compliance, our aim is to detect the causes that originated it, so that appropriate actions can be defined.

Defining and implementing the corrective actions: Based on the analysis of the causes that was carried out, the appropriate corrective actions must be defined in order to eliminate the identified causes, according to the magnitude and risk of the identified problem.

safety at tequila industry

How does the organization benefit from the detection?

The company benefits from this procedure by receiving no complaints from our consumers and customers of non-compliant products plus, we also avoid their recurrence. In a nutshell, it benefits:

  • Clients satisfaction
  • Costs reduction
  • Our image before clients

Remember that what can't be measured, can't be controlled. By having detected and treated the non-compliant product, we decrease its recurrence.

If you want to learn more about our production processes, feel free to come and visit Casa Sauza. We'd be happy to show you around!

Click here for more information on Casa Sauza Guided Tours


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