Submitted by Quality Chekd Dairies

Alqueria Dairy (Palmira, Colombia), Hiland Dairy Foods Co. (Springfield, Mo.), Prairie Farms (Anderson, Ind.) and Umpqua Dairy Products Co. (Roseburg, Ore.) took the top Quality Chekd honors in dairy excellence, plant performance and marketing, respectively, at the 2015 QCS Leadership Conference at the Red Rock Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

Alqueria Dairy receives the Irving B. Weber Distinguished Award for Quality Excellence

Long considered a highlight of the conference, the annual Quality Chekd awards and recognition ceremony honored the winners of the coveted Irving B. Weber Award, Production Excellence Awards and Outstanding Marketing Achievement Awards.

“The awards program spotlights the Quality Chekd community’s commitment to superior product quality and customer satisfaction for one specific plant,” said Peter Horvath, president and CEO of QCS Purchasing, Quality Chekd Dairies and SECO.

Quality Chekd honored Alqueria Dairy with the prestigious Irving B. Weber Distinguished Award for Quality Excellence. In capturing the Weber Award, Alqueria Dairy achieved the highest combined annual score of all Quality Chekd members for their Palmira plant in the categories of leadership, customer satisfaction, production quality, marketing communications, staff development and business ethics.

Named for Quality Chekd’s first board president, the Weber Award is modeled after the esteemed Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Dairies competing for this award undergo an extensive 12-month process involving on-site assessments, monthly finished product testing, a quality compliance evaluation and leadership questionnaires for one plant location. The finalists for the Weber Award were Alqueria Dairy (Medellin, Colombia), Hiland Dairy Foods Co. (Fort Smith, Ark.) and Umpqua Dairy Foods for their company-wide commitments to improving overall business practices.

Umpqua honored for excellence in ice cream; Prairie Farms for milk

Two 2015 Production Excellence Awards in the Cultured Products and Ice Cream categories, honoring the best single production plant within the Quality Chekd membership, was awarded to the Umpqua Dairy Foods. This member plant was judged to have produced the highest quality product, received exemplary scores during site evaluations and achieved manufacturing excellence surpassing all other Quality Chekd member facilities. In recognition of its commitment to production excellence the Umpqua Dairy accepted the award for their dairy.

The Production Excellence Award in the Milk Fluid category went to Prairie Farms of Anderson, IN. This award honors one member’s commitment to superior production and total quality at a single plant. Selection criteria for this award includes facility inspections, an evaluation of a plant’s process and systems for assuring product quality, customer communications, quality standards and laboratory test scores.

Finalists for the Production Excellence Award-Cultured Products Category were Quality Chekd members Prairie Farms (Quincy, Ill.) and Hiland Dairy Foods Co. (Norman, Okla.). Selected as Production Excellence Award-Ice Cream Category finalists this year were Lochmead Dairy (Junction City, Ore.) and Hiland Dairy Foods Co. (Norfolk, Neb.). Finalists for the Production Excellence Award-Fluid Milk Category were Alqueria Dairy (Medellin, Colombia), Alqueria Dairy (Palmira, Colombia), Smith Dairy (Orrville, Ohio) and Hiland Dairy Foods Co. (Fort Smith, Ark.).

Additionally, the Plant Assessment Excellence Award was presented to 48 member plants each of which achieved a total score of 95 percent or higher in the annual plant audit. During the annual conference additional Merit of Excellence Awards were presented to Quality Chekd members for distinction in the production area.

Umpqua Dairy Products, Hiland are first-rate in marketing

The 2015 Outstanding Marketing Achievement Award in the category Best Single Product Campaign was presented to Umpqua Dairy Products for superior marketing achievement and top communication of its brand.

Hiland Dairy Products won the 2015 Outstanding Marketing Achievement Award in the category Best Integrated Marketing Campaign. This award is a tribute to Hiland’s well-defined and highly-focused marketing objectives and strategies, targeted execution of programs and quantifiable results.

Entries for the marketing achievement awards are judged by an independent panel that reviews each dairy’s product plan, marketing plan, promotional materials, merchandising programs, ability to enhance brand awareness and generate positive sales results. The other finalists for these awards included Upstate Niagara Cooperative (Buffalo, N.Y.), Hiland Dairy Foods (Springfield, Mo.) and Umpqua Dairy Products.

Hiland has the best vanilla ice cream; Galliker Dairy the best chocolate

There were four Product Judging Award winners. Products are reviewed and taste-tested by an official panel of judges. Hiland Dairy Foods (Springfield, Mo.) won for best vanilla ice cream. Galliker Dairy Co. (Jamestown, Pa.) won for best chocolate ice cream. Hiland Dairy Foods (Wichita, Kan.) won for best cottage cheese and Umpqua Dairy Products won for best sour cream.

The annual QCS conference provides its members and supplier community with opportunities for education and motivation, while recognizing outstanding achievement in a few key categories. This year’s gathering was held April 19 to 21 and included key dairy supply services, a supplier trade show and educational workshops. Members and suppliers of QCS Purchasing partners, Quality Chekd Dairies, SECO and Allied Purchasing attended this year’s conference.

To recognize member and supplier commitment and highlight the achievements made throughout the year, QCS Purchasing presented the QCS Leadership Award to two members during the conference: AMPI from New Ulm, Minn., and the Lion Brewery of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and one supplier: Cargill of Minneapolis. These awards provide recognition to a member or supply partner for making significant contributions such as innovative programs, solutions and features that provide additional value to the QCS Community.

“Our membership, as a whole, strives to achieve and maintain only the highest quality standards in every aspect of their operation,” said Horvath. “This annual leadership conference not only honors those members who distinguish themselves in key areas of importance, but also allows every attendee the chance to collect new ideas which they can then take home and integrate into the various segments of their daily operation.”