Product safety initiatives
Some of the key initiatives undertaken during the year are detailed below.
Bunnings monitors the performance of product quality and safety through multiple channels and conducts product safety inspections to ensure conformance with applicable mandatory standards. In April 2022, Bunnings conducted an annual product safety labelling assessment to identify continuous improvement opportunities. Independent safety tests are also conducted on selected products to confirm compliance with safety standards and customer expectations.
During the year, Bunnings worked closely with suppliers to commence the change of gas valve connectors to a newer, safer LCC27 valve for gas powered appliances. This changeover will continue in the coming financial year with new BBQs and outdoor heating products to be supplied with the new connection.
Bunnings’ product safety program this year focused on enhancing team and customer safety education through improved on-pack communication and fact sheets, such as guidance on the use of pest control products. Bunnings also worked with product manufacturers to implement product quality and safety specifications for pool and spa products.
During the year Bunnings’ ISO9001 quality certification requirements were expanded for new direct sourced factories. In addition, Bunnings expanded its requirements for independent third-party final random inspections for electrical products. This evolution in Bunnings’ product safety program resulted in improved transparency on quality indicators for electrical products, prior to shipping to Australia and New Zealand.
In the coming financial year there will be a continued focus on expanding product safety education for customers and introducing enhanced product quality specifications for direct sourced products.
In the past 12 months, the Kmart Quality team has undertaken the following initiatives:
- Completed a program of work to meet compliance with the Button Battery Mandatory Standards (effective June) and continuing a strategy to reduce button battery reliant products.
- Enhanced pre-production and inline meetings focusing on complex and critical styles thereby reducing inspection failure rate by 25 per cent.
- Established a data analytics platform for the Quality Assurance team to facilitate data driven risk-based governance, resulting in cost savings of $2 million.
- Implemented a digital cloud-based store audit platform to ensure product safety checks instore are completed more efficiently, consistently and in real time, allowing directly tracked actions to be assigned to appropriate teams.
- Commenced an uplift project to address importation requirements of products with ingredients which may be classified under hazards legislation.
In the past 12 months, the Target Quality team has undertaken the following initiatives:
- Completed a program of work to meet compliance with the Button Battery Mandatory Standards (effective June).
- Completed an audit of own brand electrical items to ensure product safety requirements are being complied with.
- Initiated projects to review licenses and claims for products for performance and product safety (e.g. therapeutic claims).
- Initiated a rating of suppliers through a scorecard system to provide a tier ranking which will be used to determine the governance of safety compliance against the supplier.
- Commenced a project on the process for reviewing and approving products that should be removed from sale due to product safety/compliance concerns.
- In line with the commitment to ensure product quality before shipment, conducted unannounced safety audits at supplier facilities for governance checks resulting in zero metal contamination/foreign contamination across soft and hard goods.
- Achieved 15 per cent reduction in off-shows and recalls during a period of sourcing country diversification, style migrations and product quality elevation.
Catch initiated two recalls on Catch In-Stock products this financial year compared to one for the previous period. In addition, nine recalls for sellers on the Marketplace Platform were identified, compared to seven in the previous period.
Key initiatives for the Product Integrity and Consumer Safety team included:
- To increase visibility within the business, a reporting line directly to the Group Compliance Manager was established.
- Recruitment of a Product Integrity and Consumer Safety Manager remains ongoing.
- Developed tools for ensuring compliance with the incoming button batteries mandatory standards for both Retail In-Stock products and for marketplace sellers. This program included development of training for buyers and the Marketplace Onboarding Team Members and the implementation of mandatory fields within the Catch product systems to identify which products do contain button batteries
- Increased scrutiny of the Marketplace product gating tool, expanding the product descriptors that result in a listing being blocked from appearing on the Catch Marketplace.
Officeworks’ objective is to ensure all the consumer products it sells are fit for purpose, comply with all Australian regulatory standards and are safe for Officeworks’ customers to use. Providing customers with safe and high-quality products is central to maintaining our reputation as a trusted business.
Officeworks’ product safety key pillars are:
- Right suppliers: Officeworks works collaboratively with factories that share Officeworks’ commitment to continuous quality improvement
- Quality products: Officeworks monitors and investigates product performance, then embeds lessons learned into updating Officeworks’ requirements to ensure products are of the right quality
- Compliant products: Officeworks ensures the safety compliance of all products with a focus on fit for purpose
- Procedural integrity: Officeworks applies procedures with diligence and integrity in alignment with their customer strategy.
To ensure Officeworks is targeted in its approach, Officeworks applies a risk profile rating to all products sold by Officeworks. The risk appetite for high-risk products is “extremely low”. Resources are focused on identified high-risk areas:
- Products that may cause serious injury such as electrical products and chairs
- Products for children
- Products that are subject to mandatory standards, recalls, bans or safety warnings under the Australian Consumer Law such as erasers that look like food or button sized batteries which could be a choking hazard.
Officeworks regularly updates its procedures and processes in response to an evolving regulatory landscape and new insights on customer behaviour and expectations. During the year, Officeworks in support of button battery safety, has taken active steps to improve the safety of consumer products powered by button batteries and enhance consumer information including the damage caused from ingestion.
Officeworks works with its sourcing partner to complete final inspection for quality and safety and during the year, conducted more than 4,919 inspections for quality and safety, representing 100 per cent of all direct sourced products. Inspections are just one of the many tools used to proactively manage the safety of products and complement Officeworks’ policies and procedures. The proportion of these done remotely given lock down challenges is approximately 7.3 per cent.
Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers
WesCEF uses specialised chemical transport contractors with approved licenses to carry dangerous goods. In addition, the International Cyanide Management Code (ICMI) requires sodium cyanide transportation accreditation. For sodium cyanide and ammonia, transport management plans are established for all Australian routes and deliveries to 90 per cent of overseas sites. WesCEF works hard to ensure compliance with the chain of responsibility and fatigue management requirements for the Heavy Vehicle National Law.
WesCEF uses custom built containers, tankers, isotainers, and cylinders for its products. For example, solid sodium cyanide is triple packaged inside a sea container for transport - bulka bag, plastic bag, wooden box. Vehicles used for transport are selected to minimise the movements required on site and in metropolitan areas, for example, ammonium nitrate prill and emulsion is transported in triple rather than double trailers.
Technology continues to drive improvement in this area over time. Trucks used for long haul gas delivery have been fitted with head position monitoring technology to assist in detection of fatigue. Electronic braking systems are fitted on all Kleenheat LNG fleet and some LPG fleet vehicles.
WesCEF intends to further mitigate risks by continuing with ongoing driver training and competency assessments for new drivers, and continue undertaking contractor audits focusing on fatigue management and compliance with chain of responsibility obligations.
Industrial and Safety
Wesfarmers Industrial and Safety commits to providing customers with safe products by continuing to improve standards, controls and processes in high-risk product safety areas — especially for own-brand products. As a technical services business, Greencap focuses on delivering high-quality client service.
Blackwoods launched its revised Supplier Assurance and Risk Management Program — an improvement opportunity identified in the approach to due diligence on national and international brands. The initiative aims to better understand suppliers’ performance across a range of operational activities such as product safety, quality, compliance and testing, responsible sourcing and general operational compliance. To date, 67 suppliers have been engaged as part of a phased roll-out plan.
Coregas is part of the Australia New Zealand Industrial Gas Association (ANZIGA) product stewardship working group and maintained its position well below its faulty product return and product non-conformance targets.
Greencap has an above industry average external Net Promotor Score (NPS) in the professional services market and extended this measurement internally for its shared services division. In line with the Greencap value of continuous improvement — and in support of the FY2022 strategy themes of develop, connect and grow sustainably — the division has reviewed the feedback and created improvement action plans.
NZ Safety Blackwoods introduced a quality issue reporting framework which allows the business to effectively record, track and escalate issues. It conducted regular risk assessments and inspections for all goods manufactured directly to maintain quality, safety, and compliance. The business will continue working towards achieving ISO 9001 Quality Management System framework and accreditation in FY2023.
Workwear Group ensured suppliers remain compliant to the Quality Assurance Inspections Program by the in-country teams maintaining regular communication with suppliers. Where possible, in-country Quality Control (QC) teams delivered training at factories so quality standards are not compromised. With the Hard Yakka and King Gee international expansion, Workwear Group collaborated with international certification bodies in Europe, America, United Kingdom, and United Arab Emirates, for high-risk certified products to meet the compliance requirements within these markets.
GRI 103-1, GRI 103-2, GRI 103-3, GRI 416-1, GRI 417-1, GRI 413-2