Ragus recently celebrated its 90th Birthday, a major achievement for a family run British company which opened in 1928. Since its beginnings Ragus has gone from strength to strength and we now run a full-service global operation. Our multi-million-pound state-of-the-art factory supplies hundreds of tonnes of pure sugar products to customers all over the world every day.
Part of our success is that Ragus operates strict regulation policies and procedures in terms of quality control, safety and workforce etiquette, to ensure that our various departments work together effectively and efficiently to maximise our output, thus ensuring we meet our customers’ specifications; all our pure sugar products are manufactured to the highest quality.
Meet Ibrahim, Ragus’ Quality Control Manager, who has been with the company for just over a year. Ibrahim has worked in the food and drink industry for over 20 years, so his wealth of knowledge and experience is a great asset to Ragus.
What are your responsibilities as a Quality Control Manager?
“Everything!!! As a Quality Control Manager, I am in charge of product quality, hygiene, food safety, audits, certification, goods in and out, the laboratory, software managing and raw materials.”
You mentioned being in charge of the laboratory. Why does Ragus need a laboratory?
“Our lab tests incoming raw materials as well as every batch and every product produced in the factory for technical analysis, taste, texture and appearance; our products are produced consistently to meet our customers’ bespoke requirements and I am responsible for overseeing the laboratory; I have to make sure this process runs smoothly and effectively. We also keep samples for a minimum of eighteen months for full traceability, so they have to be stored correctly and in specific batch orders.”
Ragus’ facility, is one of the world’s most advanced sugar manufacturing sites producing hundreds of tonnes of sugars and syrups each day, what hygiene and food safety standards do you have to adhere by?
“Hygiene and food safety is a major part of my responsibilities, my teams in the factory report to me on a daily basis; our facilities must be kept to a high standard of cleanliness at all times. I have to inspect the factory daily and if any area has not, for any reason, been given the right attention to detail I make sure it is rectified immediately.
Much of our machinery has been custom-engineered, creating a site that adheres to all major European manufacturing standards (including BRC and ISO 9001); the International Organisation for Standardisation check everything in the factory regularly so I have to ensure everything is correct and in order at all times. Every year Ragus has to renew its certifications and be checked by the ISO; we have always passed their rigorous rules and regulations.”
You said you were in charge of audits. What does this entail?
“Yes, I am in charge of making sure we pass our own internal audits. I also visit suppliers, clients and other manufacturing plants we work with to run our own audits on them to ensure they meet all our requirements. We have recently (September 2018), had an audit from the BRC (British Retailer Consortium); this external board came into our factory and went through all of our processes to make sure our systems are adhering and working to the right BRC standards.
Other examples of an audits, that we must pass, are the Organic and Fairtrade standards; our organic products must be fully compliant with organic regulations, made with raw materials grown according to organic principles and free from artificial preservatives, colours and flavours. There is also the Halal Food & Kosher Certification; our food products have to be safe for specific cultural and religious dietary requirements.”
Where does Ragus source its raw materials from?
“Ragus produces sugars and syrups using raw/white sugar cane from numerous countries in Americas (Cuba, Argentina, Guadeloupe, Guatemala), Africa (Malawi, Mauritius, Algeria, Mozambique) and Asia (India, Dubai) to name but a few. We also acquire our sugar beets from UK/EU sources. Our raw materials are soured from certified suppliers and we build long-term relationships with our suppliers.
Ragus is also able to offer both Organic and Fairtrade versions of the majority of its products and we can produce an organic alternative to just about any sugar formulation.”
What is the process of taking raw materials and goods into the factory?
“Since being at Ragus I have created an incoming tanker checklist as any products entering our facilities have to undergo numerous safety checks; all raw materials have to be checked for pests, debris, odours etc. These checks include; weighing vehicles, checking paperwork is correct, making sure all security seals are intact, the tankers all have clean, capped hoses, and all deliveries have to have samples that are tested in our own laboratories, to name but a few! Safety and hygiene is our utmost importance as our products are for human consumption.”
In terms of delivering our products to customers, what is Ragus’ policy?
“Working in partnership with our suppliers and customers around the world, we deliver on time and in full. All our products are put through safety checks before they leave our facilities, we have specific machinery that check for any debris or foreign objects. All products are sealed, wrapped and stamped adequately and to specification.
We also use the latest logistics technologies to plan deliveries and achieve industry-leading delivery performance standards for on-time and in-full order fulfilment.”
A Ragus Sugars Fact:
Did you know that our factory operates around highly efficient workflows ensuring that we accurately coordinate the production, packing and shipment of hundreds of tonnes of pure sugars, syrups and special sugar formulations on a daily basis?