Making The Grade (Part 2): Doug McFadden Discusses Crown’s SQF Certification of Five Aerosol Can Plants

Crown's Doug McFadden
Monday, April 18, 2016

Crown Aerosol Packaging North America announced earlier this year that all US aerosol plants have been certified to Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 2 code. Doug McFadden, Director Aerosol Quality at Crown Aerosol Packaging North America explains how – and why – Crown was able to achieve SQF certification.

Q: Why did Crown choose to pursue an SQF (Safe Quality Food) certification?

A: Several of our customers approached us and began to require that we be certified by standard that would require a 3rd party auditor to validate our Quality Management system. We took the time to research and after reviewing various certifications, we choose SQF based on the value we felt it would bring to our plants and the overall acceptance from our customers.

Q: Why SQF and not some other similar certification?

A: We gravitated towards the SQF certification because of the broad scope of standards. Not only did it evaluate the quality systems but also but also risk assessment, GMP and other social implications.

Q: What did Crown have to do to prepare to obtain this certification?

A: First, we underwent many changes to current SOP’s/process controls as well as additional implementations to address GMP concerns. Second, we had to focus on extensive training which affected all our employees and not just those directly implementing the new standards. Lastly, it took capital to bring our facilities up the code for things such as security and various building improvements.

Q: What are the advantages of being SQF certified?

A: With the SQF certification, we are now compliant with customer requirements. Our facilities are now cleaner and work spaces are even more organized. Most importantly we can now ensure the products we manufacture are consistently safe and reliable.

Q: How long was the entire process?

A: The whole process took two years and required the support from everyone at our plants and within our executive. The first year was used to learn and prepare, and the second year was solely focused on implementation in order to prepare for the final audit and ultimately to obtain the certification.

Q: How many of your aerosol plants are SQF certified?

A: We are proud to say that all five aerosol manufacturing locations in the US are now SQF certified.

Q: Is this only for food customers?

A: Absolutely not! The SQF standards extend through all our processes. I like to call it, “Safe Quality Products” since the majority of the code requirements are applicable to all product lines.

Q: Are you seeing other types of customers requiring this type of certification?

A: Most customers want to see some type of certification using a 3rd party auditing scheme. Otherwise they will want to come and perform their own audit.

Q: Are you aware of other aerosol can manufacturers with an SQF certification?

A: No, not specific to aerosol.

Q: What’s next for Crown’s SQF certification?

A: We plan to keep getting better! Currently we are focused on achieving the Level 3 certification. We are only a few improvements away from achieving this next level. Our goal is to ensure all of our plants maintain the current certifications in 2016 while making the proper adjustments so in 2017 all plants can be Level 3 SQF certified.