Global Package’s Erica Harrop Makes Annual Inspection of China Glass Factories October 04, 2016
At least once every year, Erica Harrop, founder and CEO of Global Package LLC, travels to China to inspect the glass factories, from which she has purchased wine and spirits bottles for over 7 years. She also regularly visits factories operated by her European suppliers, with whom she has relationships lasting as long as 30 years. In China, it’s well known that building trusting relationships is key to doing business, and her regular visits to the offices and shop floors of her suppliers have cemented these strong alliances.
“In-person contact with all our suppliers is critical to confirming that US- required quality standards are being precisely followed,” she says. “Having worked for 11 years inside a glass factory environment has give me a respect for the limitations of manufacturing, and also the ability to communicate with owners and workers in a constructive way.”
Customized glass packaging in the US lags behind both Europe, which specializes in high-end decoration and smaller glass plants that have greater flexibility, and China, which has taken off due to Baijiu, the world’s largest selling spirits products made in China and priced at thousands of dollars. “Understanding the uniqueness of customization and the reasons for variations between factories is important for us to know, which lets our customers reap the benefits,” Harrop stresses. “European glass remains at the top of the premium market,” she adds, “but Chinese glass is closing in terms of quality, with the added plus of value. Our specialty is that we work with all factories and know all of their unique capabilities. We have personal connections with all of them.”
Harrop’s intensive factory inspections include tracking ISO quality controls, from selection of raw materials through all production processes, including automated production lines and the design of molds, as well as warehousing of the finished product, and shipping procedures. Together with her partner company, Estal Packaging and their Asian office, she works directly with product development personnel at the factories to ensure customized products meet customers’ and quality conformance requirements. Within these stringent quality demands, Global Package’s alliances with both European and Chinese factories also focus on production efficiencies, which allows the company to control costs and pass on savings to customers.