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52 www. bus- ex. com January 10

Prime Product Manufacturing for business improvement is, currently, ISO 9000: 2000- but it has its eyes firmly on the future. " We are looking at things like statistical process control, lean manufacturing and six sigma," explains Schutte. " We have employed a specialist industrial engineer to help us, and that process is making us more efficient. As a company, our heart is our core ideology. Over the past two years, we have asked the question of who we really are- not what we would like to be, but who we are. We went through a process that involved our employees and identified our core values and our destiny." Those core values include respect for people- employees, customers and suppliers; empowerment of passionate, self- disciplined employees; the belief that the company is better together than as individuals; and commitment to fair play, honesty and integrity. " We are proud of being a special company- we respect other companies in our field but we believe we are unique," says Schutte. " Everything else will change but our core values will not." - Editorial research by Don Campbell R& D [ research and development]," says Schutte. " R& D is one of our core skills- in fact, our head of R& D was one of the first people the founders hired, over a decade ago. We are building the company to survive and prosper, and to be durable- we have a long view." Close attention to detail is important, as is quality. Prime Product Manufacturing's breakthrough year was 2002, when it secured its first large-scale suncare contract. It has grown from there because its customers are satisfied with the standards the company applies, within its own factory walls and with its suppliers. " For example, we comply with international standards, such as those set by Johnson & Johnson- there is no allowance made for us because we are in a developing economy," Schutte says. It's a situation he is more than happy with- it helps the company to maintain and constantly improve its competitive standing. " We are audited on a continuous basis by our customers and they are very strict. We take action wherever and whenever it is needed." Prime Product Manufacturing's primary toolbox January 10 www. bus- ex. com 53