The main reason for the existence of a business is meeting customer needs, and this is done by ensuring high-quality products. A products or service meets quality standards if it fit for use and does not have any deficiencies. In the food industry, quality is very crucial since it may even lead to lawsuits in cases where the company produces sub-standard products. In Northern Foods plc, its production process that proves that the food is fit for human consumption determines the quality of frozen pizza. The flavor is one of the factors that the customers look for in food products, and the company ensures this by adding different flavors to the pizza to enhance the quality. Another feature that makes the frozen pizza high quality is food safety. The pizza is prepared under hygienic conditions thus making it fit for consumption.
The appearance of the food is also appealing, and this is a factor that attracts the customers and they regard it as a mark of quality. The other factor that shows the quality of the product is packaging where the boxes used in packing the pizza are correctly labeled, and thus customers are able to distinguish them from the other food products. The attributes of quality differ from on customer to the other depending on their tastes and preferences. For instance, a customer may consider the frozen pizza as healthy due to the ingredients used in the preparation such as high protein and meat that is processed under hygienic conditions. Other customers may judge the quality by the affordability and flavor of the food. The quality attributes that customers may consider in food safety include the absence of heavy metals, drug residues, water and soil contaminants, preservatives, and food additives. The other attributes that may be used to judge the quality of food are related to the nutrition value. The nutrition value is determined by the content of fat and cholesterol, sodium and minerals, protein and vitamins, calories, fibre, and carbohydrates. The sensory attribute is the other factor that the customers look for. It is determined by the appearance of the products, aroma, color and tenderness or the taste of the food products. Value or function attribute is the other factor that customers look out for in determining the quality of a product. The value is judged by the style, convenience, size, preparation, and compositional integrity. He customers also consider the process attributes including the impact of the package on the environment, the safety of the employees, and the authenticity of the process.
Causes of Poor Quality
It is important to maintain the quality of food products so as to attract and maintain a high level of demand. There are various factors that the organization involved in food production must consider in ensuring the quality of the products. The quality of raw material is one of the factors that may affect the quality of food products. For instance, if the company uses expired flour or meat the end product may not be fit for consumption thus affecting the quality of the product. The production processes may also affect the quality of frozen pizza produced. If the temperatures are not right then, the end product may not be of high quality as well. Besides, if the procedure used in the mixing of ingredients is not consistent, this may lead to poor quality. Faulty machinery may also lead to poor quality food because it alters the food production process.
The production of frozen pizzas at Northern Foods plc follows a process that begins at the flour store where, the flour is mixed with yeast, oil, and water to form dough. The dough is then divided into the pizza bases that are rolled into round shapes and are moved to the next phase. The rounded pizzas are pressed into shape, and the inspection is done as they are passed onto the next stage. The ones with deformed shapes are removed leaving only the ones whose base is pressed well. The pressed pizzas are then taken to the next stage where they are stone baked, and tomato sauce is added. The baked pizza is then passed a process where the cheese topping is added. The temperature at this stage is kept low so as to preserve the freshness of pizza. The pizza is then passed through an automatic weighing machine that cuts off the excess weight of pizza at the base. The pepperoni is then added on the piazza from a pepperoni machine, and other toppings are also added. The pizza is then inspected, and those that are in line with the standards are frozen at -57 degrees Celsius (BBC NEWS | Business | Inside a frozen pizza factory, 2008). The pizza is then shrink-wrapped as it passes along the conveyor belt and then it progresses to the carton stage. It is weighed again and passed through a metal detector to ascertain that it is free from any contamination. The final stage involves coding the date and final packaging and shipment of the frozen pizza.
High-quality products attract more sales than the products that the consumers perceive to be of low quality. In addition to the growth in sales, the quality of food products is important in helping customers differentiate the products from those of the competitors. Quality also meets the satisfaction of customers, which is the major aim of a business. This boosts the financial growth of the business, and it is even able to hire competent staff. However, there are costs incurred by an enterprise that are related to quality. For instance if the products are defective due to the use of expired or poor quality raw materials, they may be recalled from the shelves, and this presents a great financial loss to the company. Such a coincidence may also cause the poor reputation of the company leading to reduced sales that can be viewed as increased costs.
The Northern Foods plc needs to have a quality cycle that may help in ensuring high and consistent quality of its products. The cycle begins with a clear definition of the way in which customer satisfaction can be met through enhancing the quality attributes. The company should ensure that the food and safety, nutrition, sensory, process and value attributes are present in the food. Once the quality attributes are defined, each attribute is measured against the set standards to ascertain its significance. From the evaluation, the company can learn about the causes of poor quality, its effects, and how to prevent the poor quality. The resultant is a production system that is quality controlled.
The Northern Foods plc ensures that the customers get only the highest quality products by ensuring good quality control measures. To ensure this, the company checks the input and output points of the production process. The quality of raw materials is maintained by testing the products and ensuring that the suppliers are companies of high integrity by requiring them to be certified. The company also inspects the production process to ensure that the end products are of high quality and theta they are uniform. The packaging also is inspected to ensure that the products are well packaged, labeled, and weighed. The metal detector that the pizza is passed through prior to shipping rejects any faulty product. The most critical areas in the inspection include the inspection of the shapes to ensure that the bases are well pressed, the weighing that also ensures that the bases do not have excess weight and the metal detector that ensures no harmful objects are packed with the pizza. The Northern foods can ensure that the metal detectors perform highly by ensuring that they test their sensitivity frequently. The detectors could also be fitted with codes that ensure unauthorized adjustments.
Quality Control Tools
Northern Foods plc needs to use quality control tools so as to maintain high demand. The cause-and-effect- diagram is one of the tools that identifies the possible causes of a problem or an effect and sorts these ideas into helpful categories. The other tool is the Pareto chart that uses a bar to show the factors that are most significant factors affecting a process or demand. Histograms are also useful tools, and the company can use them to understand how often the different values in a set occur. Finally, the Northern Foods may use the Check sheet that helps in collecting and analyzing data.
BBC NEWS | Business | Inside a frozen pizza factory [Video file]. (2008, November 28).