Cultivating a food safety culture has always been critical to successful operations in F&B companies. Now, however, the need for a strong culture surrounding food safety is not only key to making your plant run efficiently — it’s also a matter of compliance. Governing bodies like the FDA and food safety organizations like GFSI are rolling out directives in 2020 and 2021 that callout specific requirements for food safety culture, and for the vast majority of companies, some adjustments will need to be made to accommodate these changes.
Statistical Process Control (SPC) is a type of quality control practice which uses statistical methods to monitor and control a process. It allows manufacturing facilities to observe and manage behaviors, uncover bottlenecks, and discover solutions for production problems.
In July of 2020, the FDA released “The New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint” with the goal of creating a safer, more transparent food system. This new approach to food safety comes on the heels of the COVID-19 crisis and at the cusp of what the FDA calls “a food revolution,” as production methods are evolving and manufacturers are embracing digitalization. It calls for a heavier reliance on technologies to modernize, enforce traceability, and drive efficiency across the industry. The push also encourages food and beverage companies to not only leverage digital solutions, but to weave them into their culture as a means of keeping the American food supply safe.
In many areas of the U.S., businesses are reopening and companies are finding ways to adjust to new operational norms in this second phase of COVID-19. For food and beverage companies, there are many complexities to consider. While many things within manufacturing companies are changing, priorities such as safety and quality remain as important as ever.
To balance these priorities while adjusting to the evolving expectations of customers and employees, many companies are embracing remote operations. Although there are aspects of manufacturing which can’t be conducted offsite, with the right technology, a significant portion of business can be taken out of the facility. With this approach, companies can minimize the number of people entering and exiting the plant to control risks, keep employees satisfied, and respond to customer demands through new, automated solutions.
Modern manufacturers are facing a unique dilemma. Although there’s a wealth of data flowing throughout their facilities, the insights needed to make strategic decisions are often obscured, buried by the day-to-day processes needed to simply keep operations running smoothly. While each machine, shift, and line has information waiting to be leveraged, the challenges lie in tapping into this data and analyzing it on a consistent basis. Production tracking software addresses these challenges.
Recently, GFSI updated its stance on the use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) in the audit process and is now allowing part of its certification audits to be conducted remotely. Here’s a summary of the events leading up to this change and a breakdown of what it means for food and beverage manufacturers.
Cook to chill, sometimes also referred to as the “cook-chill method” or “cook to cool,” is a food preparation process by which cooked food is rapidly cooled to ensure food is safe and free of pathogenic or spore-forming bacteria and other microorganisms. It requires food to be cooked, then cooled, to specific temperature ranges within tight windows of time and must, therefore, be closely monitored in food manufacturing and processing facilities. We created a quick video to show you how SafetyChain software helps food and beverage companies satisfy this critical requirement for USDA programs and PCQI operations.
In challenging times, every little bit of continuous improvement adds to the bottom line. In 2020, we're seeing more and more F&B companies doubling down on data and leveraging SPC and OEE to boost margins and profits.
Originally developed by Bell Laboratories about a century ago, Statistical Process Control (SPC for short) is a quality control method which employs statistical methods that monitor and control a process to ensure it can meet specifications. We created a quick video for those in the food & beverage industry that want a high-level overview of SPC. In particular, it covers what SPC is, and how using specific metrics like Ppk, SPC, Cpk, Control Limits, Spec Limits, and Run Rules can help users understand and manage variability in a process.
Across all food and beverage manufacturing environments, there’s a push for greater efficiency and reduced downtime, both of which are essential to maintaining and increasing profits. While most manufacturers have a general idea of how to drive production improvements, drilling down and understanding the true barriers to efficiency isn’t always clear. In fact, there’s often little visibility into the root causes of production disruptions, whether they stem from drawn-out changeover processes, faulty equipment, or other hidden bottlenecks. For this reason, many manufacturers have turned to OEE data collection software to increase productivity and improve yields.