Our recent Tools for Success webinar featured a lively presentation and discussion with Jill Bender, SafetyChain Software’s VP Marketing and Dave Detweiler, VP Sales. If you missed the session, our co-presenters had some great insights to share about the intersection of technology with food safety and food quality management.
Challenges and Barriers
One of the first challenges addressed by Jill and Dave was coping with requirements. Dave acknowledged that these can encompass a range of types, including customer requirements, certification requirements, and regulatory requirements, compounded by the challenges of managing suppliers and the ongoing challenges of inspections, inquiries, and audits. Requirements increase in complexity when you multiply this process across all of the tasks in an organization. Realistically, the number of requirements that companies already have to comply with today will never be reduced, and most likely will increase over time, requiring food companies to capture more and more information, data, and documents.
Adding to this complexity is the fact that, from a food safety and quality standpoint, the function of meeting requirements does not happen from behind a desk. Dave pointed out that the oversight and execution of documentation and recordkeeping, which can include grind logs, supplier documents, sanitation logs, and more, takes place everywhere, and depending on the organization, may take place in multiple facilities. The risks of loss or misplacement of records are great, and can include, among other costly issues, line shutdowns, shipping delays, waste, rework, customer complaints, and recalls. The biggest risk of all? Both Dave and Jill agreed—damage to your brand.
Dave went on to describe how the process of successfully meeting these challenges is burdened with problems in a pen-and-paper system of management. A paper-based system is outdated and error-prone, with a high risk of loss due to disaster. The absence of a centralized system of managing all of the paper means that data is not readily accessible.
How Technology Can Help
Dave and Jill continued the discussion by citing the advantages of incorporating technology into food safety and quality management programs. First and foremost, in a robust technology solution, automation is based on role-based task assignment with alerts and workflows to ensure program execution and compliance, 24/7. With real-time data analysis, companies can catch issues earlier and execute on requirements with mobile apps, online portals for suppliers, and automated equipment data extraction (from scales or thermometers, for example). Centralized record-keeping makes access easier for inquiries, inspections and audits. Since data is set up to work for you, it is trackable with program dashboards and data visualization across any time frame; hourly, daily, or by time of day. This enables you to review trends and act on that knowledge to improve performance in your organization.
Results and Return on Investment
One example Dave cited for ROI was that of a dairy processor who leverages SafetyChain’s CIP Sanitization solution, which provides real-time monitoring of automated and manual cleaning by capturing data from programmable logic controllers (PLCs). By understanding when water was or wasn't being used, when washes failed, and the frequency of rewashes, the company was able to reduce water and steam consumption by more than 10%, realizing an annual savings of over 1 million dollars. Customers often talk about sustainability initiatives when evaluating technology solutions, as they need to meet the challenges of complying with programs for water and electricity usage.
Other examples of ROI include reduction of hard costs, which can include supplier non-conformances and chargebacks, reworks, withdrawals, product returns and recalls, and delays in production or delivery. There are soft costs to recoup, as well, including the time employees spend chasing after documentation, collecting and reviewing data, analyzing and reporting program data, and preparing and managing inquiries and audits.
And There’s More!
Access the full session recording to hear more of our presenters’ perspectives and a discussion of key questions to think about when evaluating whether a technology solution could help your operation.
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