Hiland, Alqueria take top honors in dairy excellence, plant performance and marketing.

With a focus on “People, Purpose and Passion,” the 2010 QCS conference was a mixture of education, motivation and recognition for its member and supplier community.

Key dairy supply services, a supplier trade show and educational workshops highlighted the fifth-annual Leadership Conference in Texas, held April 11-13 at the Hyatt Regency Dallas. Conference attendees included members and suppliers of QCS Purchasing partners Quality Chekd Dairies, SECO and Allied Purchasing.

“Our members understand and appreciate that their success depends to a great extent on the commitment and quality of their people,” said Peter Horvath, president of QCS Purchasing, Quality Chekd Dairies and SECO. “Our leadership conference emphasizes this critical workplace element so attendees may learn and take back to their companies’ action items that can have a significant impact on their operations.”

The annual Quality Chekd awards and recognition ceremony honored the winners of the Irving B. Weber, Wayne Gingrich and Harlie F. Zimmerman awards. “This awards program calls attention to the commitment of Quality Chekd Dairies and its membership to continued excellence and quality in products, manufacturing and promotion,” Horvath said.

Hiland Dairy Foods Co., Springfield, Mo., was honored with the Irving B. Weber Distinguished Award for Quality Excellence that included both a trophy and $25,000 check. Hiland was recognized as having achieved the highest combined annual score of any Quality Chekd member in leadership, customer satisfaction, production quality, marketing communications, staff development and overall business ethics.

Dairies that compete for this award, named for Quality Chekd’s first board president, go through an extensive, year-long process that includes on-site assessments, monthly finished product testing, a quality compliance evaluation and leadership questionnaires.

The 2010 Wayne Gingrich Award, which recognizes the best single production plant within the Quality Chekd membership, was awarded to Hiland Dairy in Fort Smith, Ark. This fluid milk operation produced the highest-quality product, received exemplary scores from on-site evaluations and achieved manufacturing excellence that surpassed all other member facilities.

Named in honor of Quality Chekd’s co-founder and first production director, the Gingrich Award acknowledges top production and total quality at a single plant. Selection criteria for this award includes results of plant visits, an evaluation of a plant’s process and systems for assuring product quality, customer communications, quality standards and laboratory test scores.

The 2010 Harlie F. Zimmerman Award for marketing excellence and best communication of its brand was presented to Alqueria Dairy of Cajica, Colombia. Named in honor of Quality Chekd’s inaugural managing director, this award recognized as “Best In Class” Alqueria’s clearly defined marketing objectives and strategies, creative execution and measurable results. In recognition of its efforts, the company was presented with a $2,500 scholarship.

The Plant Assessment of Excellence award was presented to 30 member plants, each of whom reached 95% or higher in the annual plant audit. Each recipient was given a wall clock and plate depicting the year in honor of their achievement. Additional Merit of Excellence Awards were given to Quality Chekd members for distinction in the areas of production and marketing.

To honor their members’ commitment and highlight the achievements they have made through out the year, QCS Purchasing developed two awards that were presented at the conference.

The QCS Leadership Award recognizes members who make significant contributions to the QCS community, highlighting those who provide innovative programs, solutions and features that provide additional value to the QCS membership. Alpenrose Dairy of Portland, Ore., was the 2010 recipient this award.

The QCS Participation Award was presented to two members; Prairie Farms of Carlinville, Ill., and Stremick’s Heritage Foods of Santa Ana, Calif. This award exemplifies the spirit and purpose of member participation and recognizes the members who made the largest year-to-year increase in dollar participation in all QCS programs.