Food Engineering

QC Software Holds the Mustard

March 27, 2003


Reckitt & Colman Inc., (Wayne, NJ), manufactures household and specialty food products including French's mustards and Frank's Redhot hot sauces.

The company recently enhanced its customer feedback process by implementing Northwest Analytical's Quality Analyst software to statistically analyze consumer input. Comments are collected from various sources and stored in a database. The software automatically "mines" the data from the database, analyzes it and displays the findings in control charts.

Integral statistical quality control (SQC) analyzes metrics such as "complaints per million" to show trends and flag unusual data points that could indicate potential problems. For example, if a problem developed with container leakage, an unusual "spike" would show up on the control chart and the software would automatically alert management.

"Our use of this software allows us to make priority decisions and react quickly to consumer needs," says Michael Freeman, manager, global quality assurance. "NWA's process helps drive our priorities with statistically valid data and by displaying the analysis in clear graphical charts. It's a more disciplined and rapid approach to identifying and resolving issues."

Reckitt & Colman chose Quality Analyst because of the software's easy-to-use interface, which reduced the need for training on statistical methods, and its ability to tap directly into the company's databases.

"Connectivity is a big issue for us," adds Catherine O'Keefe, strategic & technical information resource analyst. "By directly connecting to the data, we eliminate a lot of labor hours and inevitable data entry errors."