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Quality Assurance at von Drehle

At von Drehle, integrity is our most important asset. There’s many aspects to that, like personal service and assured inventory, but one of the greatest cornerstones to our business is guaranteed quality. In fact, we’re so confident in the quality of our products that we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on each and every one of them.

We are able to do that thanks to the hard work of our Quality Assurance team, led by Director of Quality Jim Felmet and spearheaded Quality Manager Chris Bratton. A North Carolina native, he’s responsible for all four of our converting facilities and makes sure that the processes for each quality system are intact. At each facility, Chris manages a team of highly-trained quality technicians who facilitate those processes and systems.

The work of our quality assurance team begins with our raw materials. Our paper mills in Cordova, NC and Natchez, MS produce “parent rolls” that are used in our converting facilities in Maiden, NC, Memphis, TN, Las Vegas, NV and Natchez, MS. Every parent roll is made from 100% recycled paper fiber, and each is inspected by the quality assurance team before they are turned into our paper towel and tissue products. Every quality technician is trained in paper-making specifications to ensure that these raw materials meet the highest quality standards.

Finished goods testing is another important aspect of quality assurance that Chris oversees. Our quality techs conduct these tests to reveal and resolve any issues before our products get to the customer. This is how we discovered just how tough our dispensers really are. Impacts, fire, water and even a 7,300-pound truck are no match for them!

Quality assurance has been elevated at von Drehle since Chris joined the team five years ago. Under the direction of Jim, they have made the quality department another arm of customer service. We believe that exceptional customer service goes beyond listening to concerns and offering a replacement or a refund — we take it a step further by taking corrective action. von Drehle’s quality assurance team works closely with customers so that when we hear about an issue, we can work to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Chris takes listening to customers seriously, and he extends the same interest and care to his team. He’s helped create a culture of deep respect here at von Drehle, recognizing that no one is more important than anybody else — from the CEO to the stacker packer. “Everybody is a wheel in the cog,” he affirms, and we give them processes to make their positions and their jobs easier.”

Chris doesn’t want everyone working full-tilt every day; he wants them to work in a structured manner with a flow that is productive and adds value. This approach leads not just to increased productivity and employee retention, but it also means that employees can achieve a healthy work-life balance (for Chris, this means building gaming computers in his free time for the e-gaming and e-sports community, a hobby he’s enjoyed since high school).

Everyone has a voice, and Chris and his team make sure those voices are heard. “Nothing is ever set in stone in the quality assurance department. If I hear an initiative from someone on my team and it’s better than what we’re doing, we’re going to do it,” he says, promising that “we can always change, we can always adjust.”