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Quality Specifications? . . . Not really!

SpecialChem / Mort Westman – Aug 3, 2006

There were no indignant calls from Marketing or Sales. No finger pointing among QA, R&D, Operations and Purchasing. Wal-Mart's biggest order of the decade was not shipped because the batch of body wash compounded for that purpose failed to meet quality standards. That was it! End of discussion. The company chose quality above instant profits. The quality gods smiled. But, what caused this failure, and why did it remain undetected until it crushed monthly earnings and cost the sales manager half of his bonus? How could this catastrophic problem occur in such a sophisticated and quality-dedicated organization? With forensic brilliance, QA quickly traced the problem to the latest shipment of Tri-botanical neosulfate. Purchased from the same vendor for years, this important ingredient was supplied with a Certificate of Analysis that showed it to be well within Specifications. Further, in-house testing definitively confirmed these results. And yes: To the surprise of all, the absence of these impurities was quickly determined to have caused the debacle.

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