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Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company is the manufacturer of the finest additive-free and organic tobacco products in the world. Period. But to have the best finished products, you’ve got to be the best at every stop along the way — from seed to cigarette.
We achieve these goals through a commitment to continuous improvement, setting and meeting standards, and regular audits of our processes and products based on these standards.
“We conduct making and packing audits to ensure product consistency, which includes making sure the right amount of tobacco is in each rod, and that our consumers are getting what they expect from our product.” — Victoria S.
The products of SFNTC are the best for many reasons, but a large part of the equation is the rigorous standards we adhere to. Though some are required by regulations, we developed and implemented many standards ourselves — particularly those for our tobacco. It was a choice for our company to establish high standards for how the tobacco is grown, and for processing and manufacturing our products. And it was our choice to begin the International Standards Organization (ISO) programs to audit ourselves against those standards.
The standards are developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), located in Geneva, Switzerland. The ISO standards are developed through a voluntary, consensus-based approach. ISO has different member countries across the globe. Each member country develops its position on the standards, and these positions are then negotiated with other member countries. Draft versions of the standards are sent out for formal written comment and each country casts its official vote on the drafts at the appropriate stage of the process.
Within each country, various types of organizations can and do participate in the process. These organizations include industry, government (federal and state), and other interested parties, like various non-governmental organizations. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency and numerous states participated in the development of the ISO 14001 standard and are now evaluating its usefulness through a variety of pilot projects.
Meeting our high standards for quality isn’t easy. And there’s really only one way it can consistently be done: passionate and committed people.
Without our employees’ dedication and commitment to being the best, we’d be just another tobacco company. SFNTC employees take ownership of their part in the process. They participate in internal audits — not only about tasks like manufacturing processes — but also about our environmental practices.
Victoria S., a member of the quality department who has been with the company since 2001, says she takes a lot of pride in knowing that she has played a key role in developing SFNTC’s quality programs for ISO certification.
Though the making and packing machines SFNTC now uses are sophisticated and highly automated, there can be mistakes. Too much tobacco, a tear in the paper, missing date code on a pack, pressure drop and ventilation are just a few of the many things that the quality team monitors.
And we’re not talking "once-a-week" type monitoring. “Hypothetically, if two lines of domestic and one line of export are being produced, that would mean an average of 32 packing audits and 32 making audits in an eight hour day,” Victoria says.
“Our customers want the highest quality products,” she says. “And as you can see, so do we!”
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