At Simply Hops, we take care of Quality as part of our commitment to our customers' businesses. It all starts with accepting the hops into our facilities only under stringent conditions. As part of BarthHaas, we are one of two companies in the market that test 100% of their batches for pesticides. All hop merchants have the challenge that regulations across the world allow different pesticide limits. Something that may not be legal in USA may be suitable for Europe, and vice versa.
The hops journey from the farm to the processing facilities for vacuum packing, pelleting, extraction etc. Upon arrival at our processing facilities, the hops must be maximum 12% moisture to avoid potential self-combustion. Before processing, the hops are kept under cold storage at our facilities, between 0-5ºC. We buy bales from farms as well as finished pellets and vac packs from all over the world. To protect pellets and vac packs, we use special foils which restrict the ingress of oxygen and light. Our processes remove oxygen from foils by replacing it with nitrogen and CO2. They are not released for sale until we have received the pesticide results, and they have been verified.
If necessary, the pellets can be tested for alpha acids, beta acids, oil content and other parameters such as H.S.I (hop storage index). Our lab facilities in Paddock Wood are able to analyse hops to almost every component they contain. We take great care of our facility's precision by constantly comparing its accuracy to other labs in the world.
As part of this whole effort, we have ensured our operations are independently certified. The certifications we currently hold are as follows: ISO 9001:2015 (Quality), ISO 14001:2015 (Environmental), ISO 2200:2004 (Hygiene), Halal, Kosher and Organic.
What all those complex numbers mean is that we work with independent bodies who audit our systems to ensure we keep our promises to you. We keep the integrity of our products, take action when you complain and protect your reputation when you sell to certain niches, for example, organic hops or halal products. Auditors from each certification visit us every year to ensure we are continuing to do things right.
On the rare occasion when you make a complaint, we welcome it, keep a record of that feedback and make sure something is done about it. First, we correct the problem by either replacing the material or crediting the order if there is evidence that we are at fault. Second, we look closely at our systems to remove the problem at its root cause. Each complaint gets a number and the Quality department is responsible for tracking it until is closed.
We don’t only log external complaints, however. We also collect feedback from every employee who raises issues. Each complaint is evaluated and dissected into tasks to be assigned to an employee, and these are then monitored every two weeks. Root cause analysis then makes sure these problems don’t happen again.
Simply Hops is so committed to Quality that 50% of the employee’s annual bonus is linked to our overarching performance indicator; Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI). Our CSI is basically a summary of all the external complaints together with our on-time delivery performance.
There is a tremendous amount of work we do behind the scenes to create long lasting improvement to avoid any kind of issue reaching your processes. Also, every month every manager of each department comes together to analyse where the team needs to focus and act. Our business operates on a blame free culture, which is massively important so our team members can raise potential problems before they turn into complaints. It works! And has produced tremendous results in recent years.