By P Venugopal :

Harrisons Malayalam Ltd (HML-SBU-B) is the first plantation company in India to receive ISO 9001 : 2008 certification from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for its systems and processes. The certification covers all activities of rubber plantations and the factories within the plantations of HML-SBU-B. This ensures that the products supplied by the company are of high quality standard as specified by the BIS.
In an interview to Rubber Asia, P N Ravunni, Head-Rubber Business, HML-SBU-B, says that the ISO certification assures the customers of quality-guaranteed rubber grades and will add to HML’s brand value. A home-grown HML professional with over 32 years of experience in Rubber and Tea, Ravunni reveals that HML has plans to foray into the export market in the current FY provided there is a visible price advantage. Excerpts:

HML (SBU-B) is the first rubber plantation company in India to receive ISO 9001 : 2008 certification from BIS. What are its implications for the company?

We have gone in for ISO and also for IRSG self-certification without any statutory obligations but to emphasise our commitment to environmental and social safeguards. The ISO certification has streamlined the systems and processes in the field and factories of our company.
This has created a sense of awareness regarding quality amongst employees at all levels in all their day-to-day operational activities.
This has enhanced our operational efficiencies and lifted it to match the International Standards. The products will be well-accepted across all rubber-related applications.

What are the products and processes covered by the certification?

The scope of certification covers manufacturing and supply of various grades of Indian Standard Natural Rubber produced from Field Coagulum or Latex, mainly ISNR5, ISNR CV and ISNR 3L and also RSS but primarily RSS 1X sheets.

What is the process adopted by BIS to ensure quality of products certified by it?

The operational processes implemented at HML (SBU-B) in the functioning of the rubber estates have been audited by BIS to verify the Products and Services provided and these meet the Quality Management System requirements as per ISO 9001 : 2008 standards. This ensures that the products supplied meets/exceeds quality requirements as per the BIS specification.

How will the certification help the company to promote sales?

ISO certification assures the customers of standard processes and procedures and thereby quality-guaranteed rubber grades. ISO certification will add to HML’s brand value.

What are the quality control measures adopted by the company?

The company provides periodic training to field staff, supervisors and tappers on the precautions to be taken in the field while tapping, collection and addition of preservatives. The processing of crop is strictly done as per the documented procedures of Quality Management System for each product. In HML we believe in doing things right at the first time. The control mechanism implemented at each stage of process ensures that the products manufactured meet/exceed the quality requirements as per the relevant standards.

What are your main products and the total volume of production of each product?

Our main products and the volume of production are as under:
• Centrifuged Latex – 50 – 55%
• ISNR FC grade (5,10,20) – 20%
• SNR Latex Grade (CV 60, 3L) –10%
• Ribbed Smoked Sheets (1X, 2) –10-15%
• Skim – 4-5%
The overall production will be over 6 to 8 million Kgs.

Do you have plans to focus on the export market?

Export market is definitely a focus area in the current FY, but there should be a visible price advantage also. The quality of our Cenex is at par with the international quality requirements. ISO certification along with IRSG sustainability
self-certification will bring more buy-in from the customers.

How do the current NR prices impact the company’s operations?

Despite providing rubber of high quality which commands premium in the market, the present price level is just sufficient to meet routine expenses/overheads. Raw material producer who is in the lower end of the value chain will be the first section to affect by adverse situations in the industry. A bullish market with premium prices alone can allow rubber plantations to sustain and flourish in the long-run.

Any other points which you would like to highlight?

HML is committed to the welfare of the employees and the population residing in and around the estates. Our corporate social responsibilities extend to providing assistance in primary education and health to the needy. We believe in doing business which is sustainable in
the long-run. HML (SBU-B) continuously strives to meet stakeholders’ needs and go beyond their expectations. We focus on a system-driven, rather than a individual-driven, approach.