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Achiving Perfection Under Stringent Japanese Standards

Our unwavering commitment to the Japanese tea market, delivery of exceptionally high quality standards and the ability to quickly adapt to meet operational challenges have been key success factors in growing both ours and our clients’ businesses.

Background
In the eighties, our Japanese customers shared their vision for the quality of teas they wished to use in their brands: Tea was to be treated as a food item that needed to undergo the same safety and cleaning procedures that other food items in Japan went through. The message they wanted to convey was that “imported teas in Japan are free of impurities and are the cleanest in the world”. This unique quality requirement came over and above the ISO, HACCP standards that we had already obtained for our plants to cater to the Japanese market.

Challenge
Preparing for this new requirement meant planning for several challenges:

  • Setting up the proposed cleaning facility required significant investment.
  • Sri Lanka lacked the requisite infrastructure and technical know-how to develop such a plant.
  • Our research indicated that it would be decades before other developed tea consuming countries would request such high quality standards and in effect, the plant would be servicing only Japanese clients for a very long time to com

Solution
Undeterred, we took the bold step of making a multimillion dollar investment and
set up an “automated tea cleaning and blending facility” in Singapore in 1988, which was moved to Sri Lanka subsequently.

A State of the art cleaning facility
The plant from the onset had a series of unique cleaning measures in place, including adopting external and in-house treatment methods such as staff quality circles, fly treatment and other insect traps, double door entry with air showers and the use of antimicrobial epoxy paint in the production area.  Simultaneously, we conducted a series of training sessions for our staff to educate them about quality issues and inculcate a discipline of maintaining a “clean environment” that would ensure high hygiene standards.

Continuous reinvention to make Tea Tech “the future” of tea processing
Working closely with our Japanese clients and through the conscientious effort and commitment of our staff, we have made several improvements to our processes and equipment. This has ensured that we continue to deliver on the high quality standard expectations set by our Japanese customers.

 

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