To be able to see the big picture but also how every small technical detail affects it is not an easy task. Fortunately, our technical officer Simon Lavergne does just that. See below what he shares about the role of the quality manager and the scheme´s new requirements.
Hi Simon, tell us what are your responsibilities for the scheme.
I’m working as a technical officer for ENplus®. My responsibilities includes providing assistance on topics that require technical expertise related to the production and/or distribution of ENplus® pellets.
My key objective is to ensure that quality managers of certified companies are trained according to our requirements. Every year, more than 200 persons are trained, thanks to our e-learning online platform and the onsite training courses we organize in countries where certified companies are located (about 10 per year). It's always a real pleasure to be able to organize these events because they allow me to meet people who directly work with the final product. Feedback is always valuable.
I am also in charge of managing European Pellet Council's technical projects, such as the market surveillance project. Under its scope, we evaluate the performance of our certification system by sampling ENplus® certified pellets available on the market. We monitor their quality and identify non-compliant products. This project is open to anyone using and/or working with ENplus® pellets, so if you are interested in participating, please have a look here.
Last but not least, I provide consultation concerning technical matters to my colleagues, ENplus® partners, or certified companies.
Why does every company need an appointed quality manager? Why is it also so important for quality managers to pass quality manager training?
The quality manager is the most important person for an ENplus® certified company! This person, regardless of their exact function, must be able to guarantee that the products produced or traded by their company always meet the best quality requirements. Best quality means customer satisfaction and a happy customer runs the business!
Each quality manager training course is designed to provide certified companies and their quality managers with the tools necessary to achieve this objective, and thus fully master the best practices and requirements for pellet production and trading.
In your opinion, what should quality managers be most careful with (or should not underestimate)?
I would say that the main objective for a quality manager is to understand what we mean when we talk about the wood pellets´ quality. Even if a specific framework of requirements exists, it's always better to be able to think outside the box and truly understand what the needs of end-users are (and not what they think they need). This is necessary so that the quality manager can focus on important issues, the physical quality and combustion properties, and not on the pellets color or specific dimension that is irrelevant for the market.
My advice to the quality managers is to be careful and have a good knowledge of the raw material quality, and to be able to identify and reduce all sources of pollution in the whole value chain (and not only at the plant, for example).
The revision of the scheme introduced some new regulations in regard to market innovations such as pellet vending machines. Tell us more about it.
Since the objective of ENplus® is to guarantee that consumers always use pellets of high quality, without any problem of deterioration during transport, nor during use in combustion, we have always been involved in guaranteeing that certified products are marketed under proper conditions.
Since automatic pellet dispensers have appeared on the market, we are now also involved in the control and approval of these devices to ensure that certified products marketed in these conditions do not deteriorate. Functionality, security and business operations are other aspects that we take into account, which once again sets us apart as the most advanced existing certification system.