Helping JDS Foods to go Global
JDS Foods makes a phenomenal 1 million authentic handmade pappadums every day at its base in Chennai, India. Employing around 550 artisans enables JDS to supply the finest quality pappadums to major retailers and food brands such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Pataks. ISO 9001 and HACCP certification from NQA played a key role in helping JDS to build its production capabilities and achieve a 50% share of the global premium pappadum market.
JDS’s journey from rural beginnings to award winning exporter of the finest pappadums is a remarkable success story. It demonstrates that passion for sustainability, social inclusion and empowerment is directly linked to product quality, innovation and growth.
“It is not about making lots of money. It is about values and continuous improvement. Our company motto is ‘Together We Grow’ and NQA has helped us considerably in that process.”
Established in 2007 by husband and wife team Devdas and Bhuvaneswari Reddy, JDS was set up in response to the rise of machine made pappadums. Devdas believed that mass production led to a decline in quality and taste and was confident that consumers would prefer traditional handmade sun-dried pappadums.
In distinct contrast to the manufacturing trend where factories were located in the big cities to capitalise on an abundant labour pool, the Reddy’s decided to set up in a rural location. “Kancheepuram is a very rural city steeped in the tradition of pappadum making,” Director Viji Babu explains.
The Reddy’s also challenged the belief that women are just homemakers and encouraged them to work. Mrs Reddy became an ambassador for women and now a remarkable 90% of their 550 staff are women.
Tradition meets innovation
NQA helped JDS along its journey as Viji Babu explains: “It is not about making lots of money. It is about values and continuous improvement. Our company motto is ‘Together We Grow’ and NQA has helped us considerably in that process.”
JDS had to put in place effective and efficient production process, particularly considering the labour and time intensive nature of the product – from mixing, cutting and drying to checking, packing and shipping. ISO 9001 provided the framework for this and the result has been transformational with production at an all-time high.
“When we started there was an all-hands-on-deck type attitude,” explained Viji Babu. “Now, people are fully aware of their responsibilities, which ensures there is no break in the production line. It also helps with food safety and hygiene which is critical.”
Certification for international growth
ISO 9001 certification crucially helped JDS access the international market. “We had everything set up but no real idea how to reach international markets,” commented Viji Babu. “We spoke to NQA and they recommended us to implement international standards such as 9001 and HACCP.”
“Once we gained certification to ISO 9001 doors suddenly started to open and clients immediately recognised the standard. Although we knew we had a premium product the certification proved our authenticity.”
“The audit process also brings about continual improvement across the business as it creates a new way of looking at something. This carries on throughout the company. It guides you to continual improvement.”
Improvement is a key concept of ISO 9001 and the standard has helped JDS to build on the original product. The pappadum is traditionally a snack food which can often be quite salty. JDS now make a low-salt version for the UK market and have created smaller snack size versions – similar to crisps and tortilla chips.
Recognition for success
Since implementing ISO 9001, JDS has received accolades including the ‘Gem of India’ award for its work in nation building and empowering women in rural areas. It also proudly received the British Business Group award for “Most Innovative Indian SME supporting the UK”.
“NQA has helped us to fuse traditional Indian methods with international standards to improve our business and increase exports. It is a partnership that truly reflects our motto: Together We Grow.”