Dieuwertje Troost joined the Sasma team earlier this year as the new Quality Manager and we wanted to ask her about her experience and plans for continued quality assurance at Sasma.
Its so nice to have you on the team, can you tell me about your background?
First I worked for 12 years in the chemical industry followed by 12 years in the food industry. In the food industry I was specialized in quality systems for many different sectors – meat, fish, vegetables, this is of course very different from alcohol but in the end it doesn’t matter what the company is, a good quality system is just that, they meet the same high level standards.
What is the process used at Sasma to manage the quality of our products?
We have two quality systems, the overall quality system ISO 9001 and we also have a quality system for food management which is the ISO 22000. These are the systems that we work with to manage the quality of our products. These systems are more than just testing our products, the whole quality system includes a system for customer satisfaction and complaints, for how we load and unload, there is a system for our logistics and there is a system for sales. This is all described in our quality handbook – everyone at Sasma follows these systems and works in the same way, the quality of our processes are very consistent. Working within the parameters of these quality systems is very important for our customers to know, since we always offer a high level of service.
I believe its also important for our customers to know that quality is much more than just the quality systems. Our customers should know the specifications of our products. Its important for our customers to know for example, what kind of impurities our products have, what are the maximum levels of these impurities, is the product for food or pharmaceutical purposes? There are many parameters that are important to customers. It should be very clear for existing and new customers that we have many different levels of quality for our products.
How does Sasma stand out versus its competitors?
We are able to have many different qualities, what customers mostly want is one supplier who can deliver different products. For a customer its very important to have a reliable supplier . And the other side is we can guarantee that the quality we deliver is very consistent. We stand for our products and what we deliver to our customers.
Do you think there is room for improvement within our quality system?
What I’d like to focus on the next few months are processes that we can improve. I would like to focus specifically on logistics and sales and make ourselves better. As a project manager, I’ve worked with many companies, and I think I can help Sasma to improve our processes. It’s important to work together to keep our website up to date and to provide our customers with product specifications so that they can see exactly what we are doing. I would like to be able to provide customers with our product specifications and certificates of analysis, so that it is clear what the parameters are and where our products sit in relation to the industry standards. I think its important for our customers to know things like Non GMO, Vegan, allergen free as these are becoming more and more important to customers. I think its also interesting to tell our customers what the end uses are for all of our products. Most people think that we drink alcohol all day long (hahaha)! But I think its good to let them see what the end use is and what you can use alcohol for. Its much more than just the food and beverage industries.
When you talk about the Product specifications, what does that mean?
These are standards that are dependent on the each industry. For example, the food industry has their own standards and same for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. We follow global standards such as European and US standards that include BP (British Pharmacy) and USP (United States Pharmacopeia) to name a few. The suppliers we work with have their own quality system which must match Sasma’s. The suppliers have the certificates that our products hold.
My last question is about the new laboratory that’s being built in the new Sasma headquarters – can you tell me about this?
It’s going to be more than a simple lab. We will have the opportunity to visit the lab with customers, we can let customers smell and taste our products – there is a large space that will be used as a tasting area. For me, its much more than only a lab, it will feature state of the art technology and safety protocols since we are working with alcohol. We also have a chromatograph that will be moving into the lab, this is a machine which we use to measure the impurities in our alcohol. It is a very efficient and effective way for precise measuring.
Anything else about that you can tell us about the new headquarters?
As a company we can be proud of the new building. The building will feature the newest and latest technologies. The sustainability and safety features are very modern.
Fun fact – Where does your name come from? Dieuwertje is a Fries name (a Province in the North of Holland), because my Grandfather was from Friesland. All the grandchildren on my Mother’s side of the family have Fries names. And my 2 daughters have also Fries names.
Interviewed by Saskia Vanderkloot-Barre