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Since the beginning of 2019, Riopele has successfully completed a series of national and international audits, which, in addition to recognising the company's high level of performance and commitment to its customers, also proved compliance with demanding and diversified management requirements and criteria, namely regarding risk management.
This auditing cycle started on January 17 and 18, with a social audit by one of the most important international fashion houses, intending to assess the company's social, environmental and ethical performance. Due to the evaluation made and as no non-conformity was found, Riopele received the maximum score of ten points, assigned by an independent organisation.
On March 27 and 28 as well as April 3 and 4, an internal audit was carried out on Riopele’s Management System, by an external team of auditors, aimed at assessing the compliance of the management system with the normative requirements, applicable law, customers and other stakeholders. This audit found that Riopele's management system is structured, aligned and implemented as per the applicable standards.
The “APCER Audit for the Monitoring of Quality Management Systems, Environmental Management and Occupational Health and Safety Management”, which took place on April 17, 24 and 26, started with an Opening Meeting, in one of the recently renovated meeting rooms in the administrative space, attended by Bernardino Carneiro, Director and Head of Management System, Riopele’s Directors and Managers and the Audit Team, consisting of the coordinating auditor, Luís Pimenta, and auditors, Artur Morais and Paula Galhardo.
Bernardino Carneiro started the opening session, greeting the Audit Team, introducing the Riopele Team and expressing the desire that the joint analysis and assessment to be performed during the audit, would result in inputs for continuous improvement and a positive evaluation of the activity and the company's management processes.
Then, a business framework for Riopele's activity was carried out regarding the evolution registered in 2018 and the challenges for 2019, a year in which the digital transformation of the company's production process chain will accelerate, with special emphasis on the 2018 and 2019 main drivers: Horizons Program, Rationalization/Spending Reduction and Digitization/Industry 4.0. Also, all the main objectives of the company have been achieved in recent years.
Then, the team of auditors conduct a visit to different areas of the company that lasted three days, accompanied by members of the Quality, Environment and Safety department, to assess the performance of the management system and verify compliance with a series of regulatory, procedural and legal standards.
On April 26, 2019, a Closing Meeting of the “APCER Audit for the Monitoring of Quality Management Systems, Environmental Management and Occupational Health and Safety Management” was held in the R&D auditorium, with the presence of directors, managers and those responsible for the audited processes in the different divisions of Riopele.
Director Bernardino Carneiro started the closing session by giving a brief presentation, in which he recalled the changes in management, performed without any relevant disruptions, reaffirming that the business success and continuity is ensured, achieved through investment in personnel as well as team training and development.
Following that, he praised the engagement of the SEQ team and all members of staff and thanked the audit team for their comments and inputs, which will surely contribute to the continued growth of people and departments and the evolution of Riopele.
He ended the meeting by declaring, on behalf of Riopele's Chairman of the Board, José Alexandre Oliveira, his appreciation and recognition for APCER's activity, renewing his gratitude to all those who, in some way, contributed to the audit success.
This was followed by Luís Pimenta’s presentation, the coordinating auditor, who, on behalf of APCER, was grateful for the collaboration and involvement given by Riopele and its members of staff, including all shift workers, who did everything to facilitate the audit.
Then, Luís Pimenta remarked on the significant evolution experienced in recent years, namely the upgrade of the machinery park and renovation of the premises, investments made within the scope of Industry 4.0/Digitization. Furthermore, he also mentioned the investment in the continuous development of the human resources team.
He also stressed the commitment of the Upper Management and the active involvement of the entire Organization, to maintain the effectiveness of the Management System during the certification cycle, which contributed to the improvement of the system's performance.
In conclusion, he stated that Riopele complies with the requirements applicable to the Quality Management Systems, Environmental Management and Occupational Health and Safety Management, products and services supplied, including legal and customer requirements, saying that, although non-conformities were not identified, there is room for improvement, which the different divisions shall analyse, should they be implemented.
During these audits, it is important to emphasize the existing cooperation between the audit teams, by focusing on the following Riopele’s strengths:
- Business management dynamics and strategic vision;
- Upper Management's commitment to the Management System;
- Investment in R&D projects, in partnership with Universities and Technological Centres;
- Investments in new equipment, technologies and products with a strong sustainability component;
- Investment in Digitization / Industry 4.0, within the scope of Riopele Digital;
- Horizons Program;
- Social responsibility;
- Engagement and active participation of employees to improve existing practices.
Lastly, it is worth mentioning that Riopele received an inspection report completed in the 2nd half of 2018, in April. This report regards the scope of activities of the central service of the General Inspection Office for Agriculture, Sea, Environment and Land Use Planning (IGAMAOT in its Portuguese acronym). It was found that the conditions set out in the Environmental Licence were fully complied with, as well as the obligations outlined in the applicable environmental legislation.
An audit will be held in May in order to obtain the STeP (Sustainable Textile Production) Certification, which will allow Riopele to communicate its sustainable production results in a transparent, credible and clear manner.