Traceability & Testing: Why it Matters to You
19th Jul 2021
There are so many differences between vapor manufacturers: their flavor selection, their blends, their customer service, their after-sale support. One of the most important differences, however, is also one of the most difficult to show you, and that's quality control. When done correctly, quality standards are entirely invisible: you simply get the best juice, correct every time, your customers are always satisfied, and everything is awesome. When we get it right, you'll never notice - and you know we get it right!
So today we're going to put a spotlight on the quality process we use for the MEL brand - our PMTA-submitted vape juice line - and specifically, we're going to talk with you about traceability and testing, and how important they are to you and to your customers. A lot of this information has never before been made publicly available, simply because our system is so effective we haven't wanted the competition to know how we do it! But in the rapidly approaching post-PMTA world, traceability and testing are going to be two of the most important characteristics of a truly high-quality manufacturer, so we want to make sure you know how we do it. We're going to cover how we trace our raw materials, how we test them for verification, and most importantly, why it matters to you and to your customers.
Want to learn more about the quality process for MEL? Check out this video featuring Christopher Knarr, the Quality Manager at Mister-E-Liquid!
Traceability really begins when raw materials arrive at our manufacturing facility. As any raw material is brought in, it is assigned a lot code and received directly into digital and physical quarantine which prevents it from being used until all necessary testing is complete. This dual quarantine process means that even if an error occurs that allows the material to be moved out of physical quarantine, it can't be used in production because the digital quarantine will prevent the mixer from using it - as you'll see in a moment.
Once the product has passed its testing, the parameters of which vary depending on what type of raw material it is, it gets released from digital quarantine and moved from our physical quarantine area into our production area, where our mixers begin the process of turning it from raw materials into finished MEL vape juice.
Our mixers then enter a set of required values into our batch verification system, which ensures that all of the entered information is true and accurate. The batch verification system will then either approve or reject the batch information as entered - basically telling the mixer if they're allowed to mix those materials into finished products. If the batch is approved, this verification system will then produce a set of testing parameters for the mixer, giving them all the measurements they need to take. If every one of these measurements is determined to be accurate and within our desired parameters, the mixer scans a tracking barcode that's generated by the batch verification system, thus storing all that batch information and tying it forever to that product.
This means that at any point in time, we can take a finished lot number and look back at all the information gathered so far: which materials make it up, when we received them, what the testing results were, how much of each product was used, which scale was used to verify how much was used, who actually performed the mixing, and where. All of this information is available at any time for any lot of MEL, simply based on the lot number printed on each bottle. This lets us not only back-track the source of any error, but also then follow that production chain forward again to know which, if any, other batches were affected.
That's not the end of testing, though: even after all the testing that takes place at every step of production, our quality control department follows a national quality standard to determine how many randomly selected bottles will undergo a separate visual inspection and verification, making sure that there's nothing wrong with the bottle or its tamper-evident cap, the liquid inside, or the label on the bottle. Then the finished product is subjected to a series of identity tests to verify that what's in the bottle is within our acceptance criteria. This will additionally include nicotine concentration testing so that we can verify that the customer is getting the nicotine strength they ordered.
Because at the end of the day, that's what traceability and testing are all about: it's about protecting you, and your customers, from anything going wrong, and it's about reducing the possibility of anything going wrong in the future. The result of all this quality control is a constant pressure toward improvement, a cycle of feedback that lets us get better and better, to not only track errors, but proactively prevent them.
We know you have a lot of choices right now, and while those choices are going to narrow a lot in the post-PMTA landscape, we want to give you the best possible reasons to choose us over any other manufacturer. There are so many different reasons to choose Mister-E-Liquid, MELWholesale, and our new MEL line, but maybe the most important one is the level of care and attention we pay to quality control, and what that surety means for you and for your customers. MEL is the quality choice!