SUSTAINABILITY REPORT
2016

Safety and quality: high standards, strict controls

We strive to offer our customers top product quality at fair prices at all times. Customers should be able to count on the safety and durability of our innovative consumer goods just as they can rely on the unsur­passed aroma and flavour of our coffee products. To ensure this, our production always follows stringent, consistent standards.

We test the quality of our products ourselves, as well as with the assis­tance of independent accredited external insti­tutes. We stipulate clear require­ments for the safety, function­ality, workmanship and materials of our products. Our Social and Environ­mental Code of Conduct (SCoC) additionally specifies social and environ­mental standards for their production – because the Tchibo quality promise applies not only to product features, but also to the condi­tions they are produced under.

Selected suppliers produce for Tchibo according to stringent quality speci­fi­ca­tions: as part of our quality assurance, all products are tested for compliance with these speci­fi­ca­tions before we offer them for sale. We conduct our own extensive checks and inspec­tions, and also work with a number of independent and accredited third-party testing insti­tutes. The tests are based on legal require­ments and inter­na­tional standards as well as our own Tchibo speci­fi­ca­tions, which are often stricter than those of the legis­lators. The TCM (Tchibo Certified Merchandise) quality seal distin­guishes consumer goods produced exclu­sively for Tchibo and guarantees that they were subjected to the most stringent tests.

If despite our high standards, if occasionally something does not work or a product does not corre­spond to our customers’ expec­ta­tions, we help assert guarantees and claims, and treat them with goodwill and fairness.

Coffee: compre­hensive quality claim

We apply compre­hensive quality standards to the supply chain of our coffee – from how the coffee plants are grown to the packaging of the roasted beans

Culti­vation: We use the best beans from high-quality Arabica coffee plants for our coffee. For our Espresso products, we also use Robusta coffee to achieve the ‘typical’ Espresso flavour. We apply the highest quality standards. This includes promoting environ­men­tally and socially respon­sible farming methods in the countries of origin. That is why we are contin­ually increasing the share of the green coffee we process, that has been certified or validated by inter­na­tionally recog­nised standards organ­i­sa­tions. In sourcing it, we rely on good and long-standing supplier relation­ships to exporters and traders, as well as direct contact with coffee farmers and cooper­a­tives. Our coffee experts regularly visit the producing countries to check on the culti­vation methods and quality of the green coffee.

Transport: As green coffee beans age rapidly, and can absorb external odours and flavours, we ensure rapid and careful transport immedi­ately after harvest.

Roasting: The beans initially undergo quality testing. Small amounts are roasted and brewed so that coffee tasters can identify the fullness, acidity and aroma of the coffee, and finalise the compo­sition of the final product. At the roasting plant, green coffee is turned into roasted coffee – a crucial process that brings out the various flavours of the coffee beans. Our roasters comply with the strict hygiene standards and the complete documen­tation of the entire roasting process according to the latest Inter­na­tional Food Standards (IFS 5).

Packaging: The aroma of coffee is extremely sensitive to oxygen, moisture, light and heat. High-quality packaging is required to protect it. Tchibo coffee is packed in plastic film in an oxygen-free environment. We guarantee the harmlessness of the materials used for this, and ensure that the packaging will not affect the flavour. Unfor­tu­nately, aluminium is still required for lining and metallising the plastic films; we are reviewing the possi­bility of an eco-friendlier solution.

Our standards for Tchibo coffee quality are summarised in the binding Tchibo Coffee Quality Standards. Our central Coffee Quality Management team monitors compliance with these standards, regularly checks the quality of our coffee, and takes appro­priate action if devia­tions occur.

Consumer goods: quality from product devel­opment to sale

At Tchibo, quality is part of the design. A team of product managers, designers, buyers, quality devel­opers, and quality testers who are all experts in their field – e.g. electrical appli­ances or clothing – are respon­sible for the product idea and its planning and imple­men­tation. Together, they work on the goal of ensuring customer satis­faction with the quality, design and price. The Tchibo quality management process covers the four steps of product devel­opment, quality devel­opment, quality assurance, and ensuring that customer infor­mation require­ments are met.

Product devel­opment: Experts from product management, procurement and quality management initially determine the item’s materials and design require­ments. Important criteria for this include longevity, practi­cality, and maximum product safety. Only suppliers that agree to comply with the Tchibo SCoC are commis­sioned to manufacture products (Consumer Goods value chain).

Quality devel­opment: Regular reviews of the manufac­turing process through product samples and on-site visits to factories are indis­pensable for quality devel­opment.

Packaging: To ensure that the items are trans­ported appro­pri­ately and without damage, we also set high quality require­ments for transport and packaging. Before shipping our products, we run a variety of tests to make sure that they are well protected on their way to the Tchibo shops, Depots, or directly to the customer.

Quality assurance: All consumer goods are subjected to a final incoming goods inspection according to the Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) procedure. This ensures that all quality require­ments have been imple­mented and a flawless product is sold to the customer. The final check takes place in an Inspection Centre in the respective production country before shipment, or on delivery to the main warehouse in Bremen – or, depending on the product, in both countries.

Ensuring customer infor­mation require­ments: In accor­dance with our holistic concept of quality, our high standards do not end with delivery, as quality also plays a decisive role in sales and consulting. Detailed product infor­mation and operating instruc­tions are included with the product and are also available at our online shop. As a matter of course, we comply with the appro­priate standards for the structure and clarity of the operating instruc­tions.

Integration of customer feedback: When our customers purchase a product, another important phase of our quality assurance process begins. Prede­fined infor­mation paths ensure that all relevant insights regarding potential improve­ments are incor­po­rated into the devel­opment of successor products. This involves assessing customer returns and solic­iting feedback from our Tchibo shop employees. For example, we conduct monthly surveys of the Tchibo shop managers to see how the weekly ranges are received by customers, and whether there are any sugges­tions for improvement.

Leading the way in quality management for consumer goods

With REACH (Regis­tration, Autho­ri­sation and Evalu­ation of Chemicals), the EU has adopted one of the most compre­hensive direc­tives for the regis­tration, autho­ri­sation and limitation of hazardous chemicals to date. The serious imple­men­tation of REACH requires a general rethink and great commitment for all protag­o­nists in the supply chain. We have made an early start on driving forward the imple­men­tation of the regulation, which is why we are working to find new, REACH-compliant solutions for ourselves, for our suppliers and, of course, for our customers. For example, we are excluding the ‘substances of very high concern’ (SVHC) listed in REACH from our consumer articles. Consumers can use the ToxFox app from BUND e.V. to ask questions about SVHCs in products. We are well prepared. Our quality management reviews incoming inquiries and can be relied on to send an answer within 45 days.