Product quality and 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 2023, Bunnings conducted an independent product safety labelling assessment to identify continuous improvement opportunities. During the year, Bunnings also commissioned a review across selected categories of products sold by weight, volume or measurement to monitor compliance with trade measurement laws and consumer expectations.
During the year, Bunnings worked closely with suppliers to transition to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) new, mandatory button battery design and labelling standards to improve child safety. This saw Bunnings withdraw from stores and rework products containing button cell batteries in line with this new standard. To support the transition, an independent review was facilitated for consumer products containing button batteries and a guideline detailing Bunnings’ expectation on design, testing and labelling was communicated to suppliers. Subsequently, a recall was initiated in May 2023 for a torch that did not comply with the standard.
Bunnings’ product safety program also focused on improving on-pack and in-aisle communications for pest control products, to further enhance team and customer safety education.
During the year, Bunnings maintained its ISO9001 quality certification requirements and conducted third-party inspections for high-risk electrical products. This helps to improve transparency on quality indicators for electrical products, prior to shipping to Australia and New Zealand.
Kmart Group has built a strong product safety culture. The Quality teams work closely with suppliers to conduct safety investigations to ensure product integrity and performance is consistent. Kmart Group is committed to continual improvement in all areas of product quality and safety to meet customer and stakeholder expectations and is responsive to industry trends and regulator priorities. During the year, Kmart Group adopted key continual improvement within its operations, outlined below.
The Kmart Quality team undertook the following initiatives:
- completed a program of work in line with the button battery mandatory standards, to further enhance the compliance program for local suppliers of products that contain button cell batteries
- established a process to ensure keycodes are mapped to the most recent Safety Data Sheet (SDS) format, streamlining the ability to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017
- implemented uplift to quality control governance processes, resulting in identifying quality issues in shipments worth $0.68 million and proactively rectifying these before shipment, avoiding the likelihood of consumer complaints, withdrawals, recalls or incorrect returns
- achieved efficiencies in quality inspections by equipping Quality team members with digital devices that provide real-time inspection reports and record consistent data
- conducted risk-based quality tests of factories in China and Bangladesh under the self-inspection program, with the inspected factories clearing the inspections.
The Target Quality team undertook the following initiatives:
- implemented a framework to manage the regulatory, compliance and approval requirements for Target formulated products containing industrial chemicals
- conducted audits on nursery products that contain claims relating to breathability and implemented corrective actions where required
- developed and implemented an automated product withdrawal process that simplifies, expediates and assigns end to end accountability for product withdrawal and the associated merchandise team actions
- developed compliance accountability process maps for buying, identifying the compliance accountabilities by role and enhancing transparency among Target teams
- increased overall inline inspection by 13 per cent compared to the previous year, as a part of the preventive quality framework implementation.
Officeworks aims to ensure all consumer products it sells are fit for purpose, comply with all Australian regulatory standards and are safe for customers to use.
Officeworks’ product safety key pillars are:
- Right supplier: 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 product: Officeworks ensures the safety and compliance of all its products with a focus on fit for purpose.
Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers
WesCEF uses specialised chemical transport contractors with appropriate licences and experience to distribute its hazardous chemicals to customers within Western Australia and overseas. In particular, the transport of sodium cyanide requires additional certification, with carriers engaged by WesCEF needing to meet International Cyanide Management Code requirements.
Custom-built containers, tankers, isotainers and cylinders are designed to minimise the risk of loss of product during transportation. For example, solid sodium cyanide is triple packaged inside a sea container for transport, with the first containment layer being a strong, woven ‘bulka’ bag, placed inside a heat-sealed plastic bag, which is then transferred into a wooden box to prevent any damage to the bags. Another risk reduction measure is to minimise the number of truck movements. For example, where appropriate, ammonium nitrate prill and emulsion products are transported in triple rather than double road trailers to reduce vehicle movements on the road.
Technology continues to drive improvements for WesCEF in the transportation of its products. Prime mover trucks used for long-haul gas delivery have been fitted with advanced sensor monitoring technology to assist in the detection of driver fatigue, distraction and other behaviours that could increase the risk of collision. Electronic braking systems are being progressively fitted on all Kleenheat LPG and LNG fleet vehicles, which automatically apply brakes when the system detects a potential rollover scenario to reduce the likelihood of an incident occurring.
WesCEF continues to focus on mitigating risks with ongoing driver training and competency assessments for team member and contract drivers, and undertaking contractor audits focusing on fatigue management and road and vehicle compliance procedures.
Industrial and Safety
The Industrial and Safety division is committed to providing customers with safe products by continuing to improve standards, controls and processes in high-risk product safety areas, especially own-brand products. The division continues to maintain its commitment to zero own-brand product recalls and there were zero recalls required by the regulator during the year. This key performance indicator is supported by critical paths within the sourcing and new product development workflow for factory and product level compliance. Recall pages to support customer communications are located on the Blackwoods, Bullivants and NZ Safety Blackwoods websites.
Blackwoods, Bullivants, Coregas and Workwear Group continue to maintain ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System accreditation. Bullivants and Coregas maintain ISO/IEC 17025 and 17034 NATA accreditation for laboratories. Coregas continues to maintain its licences to produce medical gases with all filling sites rated at the highest A1 level.
Blackwoods engages with national and international brands as part of its supplier assurance and risk management program which aims to better understand suppliers’ performance across a range of operational activities, such as product safety, quality, compliance and responsible sourcing. During the year, Blackwoods engaged 26 suppliers, bringing the total number of suppliers participating in the program to 93. Blackwoods completed the development of minimum requirements in the reporting year, which are used to guide suppliers on policy and operational requirements. This cloud-based platform will enable access to performance and assurance information and interactive dashboards to feedback to category teams and suppliers. Blackwoods aims to use the data in the 2025 financial year to target specific supplier partnership initiatives that will add benefit within the value chain, such as decarbonisation, packaging and responsible sourcing activities.
NZ Safety Blackwoods continues to develop its Quality Management System by mapping all critical path processes, introducing a standardised customer complaint reporting form and using the MyOsh quality module to record actions.
Coregas continues its participation in the Australia New Zealand Industrial Gas Association’s product stewardship working group.
Workwear Group delivered product quality training for suppliers and in-country teams to mitigate the risk of potential non-conformances. The training module consisted of topics such as service level agreements, ethical sourcing guidelines, modern slavery compliance, product quality responsibilities and trust and verify auditing. Other specific product safety and quality training subjects included the revised hi-vis standard, testing protocols, heat seal applications and product certifications. This training will help ensure Workwear Group’s supply partners have a full understanding of its expectations and work towards reducing the risk of potential non-conformances. These efforts continue Workwear Group’s focus on risk mitigation.
Wesfarmers Health engaged in a broad range of product safety focused activity, including:
- an audit of electrical items to ensure compliance with product safety requirements
- training on the Competition & Consumer Act and the advertising of therapeutic goods
- contributing to Wesfarmers product quality and safety working groups, including in relation to button battery reliant products.
OneDigital, including Catch
The key product safety initiatives for OneDigital included:
- recruitment of a Product Integrity and Consumer Safety Manager and a Product Integrity and Consumer Safety Specialist
- advertising compliance review on all Catch therapeutic goods, to ensure advertisements comply with the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code
- introduction of a screening tool for potential Marketplace listings, which applies a compliance filter prior to products being listed on the Catch platform
- establishing a compliance, risk and legal management meeting to discuss product safety risks and other risk matters.
GRI 3-3, GRI 416-1, GRI 417-1, GRI 413-2