Quality management: Only the best make it on the shelf

Our soothers, bottles and Co. must do more than just make it through our boot camp where they are squeezed, bitten, boiled and thrown to the ground. Our understanding of quality goes beyond that.

By the time one of our products lands in a baby’s hands it already has a long, tough road behind it: It is examined, evaluated, tested and not exactly handled with kid gloves. Quite the opposite, actually. There are two people in particular who know exactly what needs to be done: Hortenzia Csiszár, Head of Compliance, and László Pungor, Head of Quality Management, from our production centre in Hungary.

Standards alphabet? We know it by heart.

Right from the start, during the product development phase, compliance expert Hortenzia comes into play: “We make sure that the product meets MAM requirements before it goes into production. We have defined our own standards which go above and beyond international standards.” The strictest regulations worldwide are the minimum for MAM and the greatest possible safety for baby products has the highest priority. “We are proficient in a world of standards. To be able to define a MAM standard, one has to know the differences from country to country and always be up to date”, says Hortenzia. MAM know-how also leads to other concrete results. For example, EN 14350, the standard for baby bottles and EN 1400, the standard for soothers were developed with help from MAM. 

How must a baby product be designed?

According to strict MAM guidelines it should not have sharp edges. It cannot be easy to bite through or be too fragile and must have instructions for use. When a new product is developed, the prototype quickly lands in the hands of Hortenzia and her team, where it is checked against these standards. Chemical tests are performed as well. These are conducted by external laboratories such as TÜV SÜD and Swiss Quality Testing Services. “We have the materials tested for heavy metals as well as BPA and BPS, Phthalate and PVC. These are materials that we don’t allow in our products”, explains Hortenzia.

Off to boot camp!

If the product conforms to all of the regulations, it goes to László Pungor and his team. “Our aim is to expose the products to every type of stress imaginable, as this is the only way to achieve the highest possible quality,” says the head of quality management. Soothers have to survive a week in the oven at 70 degrees and ten minutes in boiling water. We freeze the bottles, fill them up and then drop them over a metre to the ground and wash them hundreds of times in the dishwasher. The MAM laboratory can be seen as a kind of boot camp for baby products. If the soother or bottle survives the torture it goes into series production. 

Three-stage quality control during production

First, the receiving department inspection team examine the newly arrived parts – plastics, latex, cardboard and so on. If everything is in order, step two follows: quality control in production. To ensure everything is o.k., a machine checks the tensile strength of every single soother. The shape and surface of the products are also carefully examined with the aid of a digital camera and the printed scales, elephants, butterflies and other designs are checked. “For the packages already prepared for transport, we then check that the right products are included in the correct quantity and colour and whether the EAN codes are correct," says László about the third and last step. If everything checks out, the packages are cleared for shipment – and soon mothers’ and children’s hands will be able to pull the items off the shelf. 

Standards

In some cases, MAM ­voluntarily goes beyond the following ­European standards:

  • EN 14350: Standard for baby bottles
  • EN 1400: Standard for soothers
  • EN 12586: Standard for ­soother clips
  • EN 12868: Standard for products for babies and toddlers
  • EN 14372: Standard for ­cutlery and dishware for babies and ­toddlers

The quality management team is responsible for system certificates. To date, MAM Hungary is certified to the international quality management standard ISO 9001 and the environmental management system ISO 14001. ISO 50001, the energy management standard, is currently under review. The compliance team takes care of the product ­certification tests for the US and the EU. Each year, between 100 and 150 of these tests are performed.