27. July 2019
isi introduces its worldwide field partners

"Whether Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Mexico or anywhere else in the world, we offer our customers quality-tested field partners for international projects. The work with our partners is based on trusted partnerships built on mutual exchange and open communication," explains Robert Röttgen,  isi’s network manager responsible for contact with isi field partners worldwide. His own stays living and working abroad, including in Malaysia, have taught him the core importance in this kind of work of having a high level of sensitivity to different cultures.

isi is presenting its international network of field partners at the Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium from 28 July to 01 August 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

"Whether Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Mexico or anywhere else in the world, we offer our customers quality-tested field partners for international projects. The work with our partners is based on trusted partnerships built on mutual exchange and open communication," explains Robert Röttgen,  isi’s network manager responsible for contact with isi field partners worldwide. His own stays living and working abroad, including in Malaysia, have taught him the core importance in this kind of work of having a high level of sensitivity to different cultures.

 

isi Quality seals ensure high standards

Robert Röttgen ensures that the high isi quality standards are met by its field partners. isi quality seals for field partners are only awarded after thorough on-site testing. "We don’t simply present our partners with a quality catalogue, which they have to work through, but work with them to develop a way in which the standards are properly implemented in the conditions available to the respective field partner. The exchange helps us to understand local conditions and peculiarities, and it helps our partners to optimize quality management," emphasizes Röttgen. In some cases, isi also acts as a development coach. For example, Solutions Terrain, based in Toulouse, France, expanded with the support of isi, rented suitable premises and hired new staff. At the end of the process, the company received the isi Seal of Quality for a Central Location Test (CLT) facility.

"Since we cooperate with a large number of field partners worldwide, we can respond flexibly to the wishes of our customers," reports Robert Röttgen. isi knows which field partner & location fits which project. Carefully selected new partners are constantly being added. Robert Röttgen makes sure of this on his exploratory trips.

Cultural peculiarities at a glance

It is important to understand the special features of any given country and to include them in the standardization of sensory tests. For example, in some countries such as certain parts of Africa, a high level of illiteracy must be taken into account. So how do you recruit subjects for sensory testing when a large proportion of the potentials cannot read ads? "We find the answers to these and other questions in close collaboration with our local partners," reports Röttgen.

On-site visits are important

In Saudi Arabia, for example, it is common for recruitment to take place through door-to-door visits. In order to take these aspects into account, to communicate them to the isi project managers at isi headquarters in Göttingen and to isi customers, a visit to the site is necessary – trips that Robert Röttgen loves undertaking. During one of his last trips, he sat with isi cooperation partners in a meeting room in Saudi Arabia's Jeddah and shivered. The air-conditioning had cooled the room down to 17 degrees, a temperature three to four degrees below most Germans’ comfort zone. For the people in Riyadh, however, this is exactly the temperature they prefer at home, in shopping centers and in public spaces. The usual target for room temperature in sensory laboratories is 20-21 degrees. "I realized that we had to talk to our Saudi Arabian colleagues about room temperature in sensory tests. "Should we keep the higher temperature to compare the results with other countries, or is it better that the test persons feel at home when testing the product? Instead of providing set answers to these country-specific questions, isi responds to these issues flexibly, project-related and in close consultation with their customers.

Making field partners more transparent

"I think that there is not a huge awareness among some of our customers for just how intensively we work with our field partners and how we ensure the high quality of our partners," explains Robert Röttgen. "That is why we have decided to use our stand this year at the Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium to point a spotlight on our cooperation with field partners and make it more visible and transparent. I am really looking forward to meeting visitors to our stand and answering their questions, which nearly always lead to great new ideas for us and help us refine our quality systems".

 

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