Special thanks to SafetyChain's VP Food Safety & Quality Assurance Applications, Dan Bernkopf, for his contributions to this blog posting.
“Audit” is one of the most painful words in the F&B industry. Why? Well if we look at the various types of audits – such as USDA, FDA, GFSI and customer audits – it’s not improbable that suppliers and manufacturers could have one or more audits per month. Additionally, audit preparation today is a mostly manual process – often completely disrupting daily FSQA activities. And of course there is the overall priority – and associated pressure with – passing the audit.
Add to this the trend toward unannounced audits – and end-retail/services customers’ increasing call for supply chain transparency – and you have a good business case for emerging FSQA software innovations that can help you be audit-ready “on demand.” Look for features such as the ability to:
- Electronically collect and time/date stamp – in realtime – food safety and quality information from suppliers, labs, testing equipment and finished product test results.
- Store and manage – in a single common electronic document repository – HACCP and all prerequisite programs like Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPS).
- Automatically schedule tasks associated with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), internal policies such as supplier approval, allergen control, raw material receiving and other tasks that may require annual reviews for accuracy and effectiveness.
- Transform forms and records that support and verify SOP or policy task activities to be accessed not only by a computer in a plant, for example – but also from anywhere, at any time, with a mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet.
- Electronically evaluate records – in realtime – against SOP and policy specifications.
- Automatically generate email or text alerts for non-compliant results so that corrective actions can be taken in the fastest manner possible.
Most important, look for the ability to have every electronic document, every record and all data management elements have an unalterable date and time stamp to add an even higher level of efficacy to present to your regulatory and non-regulatory auditors – as well as your customers. This, added to the previously mentioned features, can turn audits from a department-straining nightmare into a fast, effective and accurate on demand process.
Tell us about your audit challenges and continue the conversation.