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FSQA Technology Saves Time, Saves Money and Increases Efficiencies in Safety & Quality Compliance

Posted on April 24, 2018 by Brian Sharp
  1. Food Safety & Quality Assurance (FSQA) folks understand that vulnerabilities in the supply chain are only going to get worse.
  2. There are many emerging technologies that can keep non-compliant (regulatory, non-regulatory, customer-driven) ingredients/finished goods from coming in or going out.
  3. But the FSQA community still struggles to get funding for new technology solutions in the low-margin F&B industry.

food-cost1These three points really struck me at the recent Food Safety Tech conference in Schaumburg, IL – a very engaged and vocal gathering of professionals seeking solutions for food safety & quality assurance (FSQA) vulnerabilities in the supply chain. So how do you get buy in to spend dollars for emerging FSQA technologies? You need to show a Return on Investment (ROI) based business case – with hard-dollar savings.

Think of the F&B technologies in mainstream use today – most are around supply chain and manufacturing. The business case for these solutions was simple – they saved time, they saved money and increased efficiencies. The new generation of technologies that enforce safety & quality compliance have the same business case: they save time, they save money and they create efficiencies. FSQA technologies – especially those that gather and analyze safety/quality data at every point in the supply chain and analyze to specs for realtime loss prevention – have hard-dollar savings associated in the five main categories: I’ll discuss each at the 3,000 foot level:

  • Time and labor: Are your FSQA experts entering – vs. analyzing safety and quality data? How much time can be saved if information was entered electronically by suppliers, directly from testing equipment and/or sent automatically to customers to speed throughput? Time = money and efficiencies.
  1. Reporting and analysis: Less than 5% of all FSQA data requires action. How much time is spent going through hundreds of tests to find the few that are non-compliant? How much time is wasted holding product prior to release? How much inventory is lost to spoilage or inability to re-work? What if the right people received the actionable items in realtime? How would that speed throughput? Again, time = money and efficiencies.
  2. Materials and yield: Most recalls aren’t the ones in the headlines – they’re internal. FSQA testing results weren’t caught in time … the commodity was used in product and can’t be re-used or re-worked. But what if test results were analyzed in realtime – even from hand-held devices in the field? Problems caught early can be corrected (a re-work for a quality issue, for example). And if it’s a safety issue – the problem is caught before the commodity contaminates other product – increasing yield and reducing waste.
  3. Compliance risk mitigation: Government, non-regulatory and customer audits are going to to increase – along with the time/cost associated with audit prep. Imagine if all safety and quality tests/information were electronically scheduled – with results time and date stamped and sent in realtime to relevant individuals along the supply chain. Technology can help you be audit ready every day.
  4. Withdrawals, rejections and retrievals: The sooner problems in the supply chain are detected, the sooner losses are prevented in realtime – loss of loss of inventory, revenue, customer confidence, consumer confidence, and, ultimately, market value and brand. Because so many FSQA innovations are cloud-based for easy access by all participants in your supply chain, the prevention of just one internal or external recall … or one rejection by a customer prior to shipment … or one retrieval from a customer compliant after shipment – can often pay for the system. And after achieving return on investment, future costs = hard-dollar savings.

Most vendors have tools to help you calculate ROI – call your vendors. That hour spent today can save thousands of hours – and hundreds of thousands of dollars – sooner than you think.  Looking forward to having you share your thoughts on this topic.