Quality and safety standards for the food and beverage manufacturing industry have been shifting as the world experienced unprecedented supply chain disruptions through the pandemic. From this disruption, the FDA and other regulatory bodies have adapted some compliance requirements to ensure a steady supply of safe and quality food while developing new regulations. It is crucial that manufacturers understand, prepare for, and implement policies to comply with these changing standards.
Most organizations understand the value of performing internal audits. The objective of auditing is to gain insights into your processes, help you maintain conformance, mitigate risks, and improve your operational excellence.
However, there are best practices you can incorporate into your audits to make them more effective, insightful, and useful to increase the likelihood of continual improvement.
For some companies and departments, the ‘a’ word is dreaded and met with suspicion or even resentment. But audits, especially internal audits, are tools managers can and should use to drive improvement and support positive change. There are many reasons that a company should perform an internal audit. In the food and beverage industry, GFSI standards require internal audits. In other industries, companies may have internal requirements, and internal audits are a great way to perform health checks regarding quality and safety systems.
The benefits of performing internal audits are numerous, from identifying gaps in lines and processes to highlight training issues to uncovering culture gaps within the system. By identifying these issues, manufacturers are better able to prepare for external audits. However, internal audits are only valuable tools if companies can incorporate the 3 C’s of Internal Auditing: Communication, Culture, and Coordination. Let’s dive into ways to make internal audits more successful.
Manufacturers perform internal audits to identify potential improvement and growth areas and check for company and industry compliance in processes and products. However, many companies conduct internal audits without creating improved systems in cost-effective ways. Despite the universality of internal audits, many manufacturers are still making avoidable mistakes that can be costing them time, money, and morale. Here are the top 10 mistakes that I have identified over my 15 years of experience as both a QA manager and an Auditor. These ten mistakes are:
In uncertain times, it’s important for Food & Beverage companies to reassure their customers that food and safety standard are being met consistently. Yet, COVID-19 has introduced unique challenges for undergoing and performing audits, from social distancing to risks associated with travel. Unfortunately, waiting until the threat of the virus is completely gone to have an audit performed could cause your certification to lapse, which could risk the loss of important customers.
Internal audits — if conducted the right way — aren’t merely stepping stones to higher-stakes external audits, they’re strategic tools used by the most successful food manufacturers to measure continuous improvement and validate their entire food safety system.
Jeff Strout from Mérieux NutriSciences recently shared his advice in the recorded webinar, “The Magic of Internal Audits: Mistakes, Insights, and Advice from the Experts.” If you asked questions he could not get to during the webinar, here are the answers you’ve all been waiting for! If you want to see what you might be missing in your internal audits, check out our blog post, Best Audit Practices: The Top 10 Auditing Mistakes Manufacturers Make.
For many food and beverage companies, paper documentation, binders, and filing cabinets cause frustration and waste valuable time. Chelan Fruit, the largest fruit packing co-op in the US, felt the challenges of using a paper-based system firsthand and sought a more efficient way of doing things. Here, discover how their company successfully transitioned its entire food safety program to a paperless system using SafetyChain.
Achieving audit-readiness and regulatory compliance are two of the most complex challenges the food industry faces. For Sokol and Company, a food products supplier with a vast product line, keeping up with new FSMA regulations and preparing for audits was daunting, and introduced a need for a new food safety management solution.
With SafetyChain LINK Auditor View, now it’s easy for food companies to build better relationships with their auditors, including giving auditors access to critical documentation, remotely.
Emerging Technology that Revolutionizes Food Safety Audits
Face it: food safety audits can be stressful, taking weeks if not months of preparation time. When the time comes, the more organized, prepared, and transparent a food manufacturer can be, the faster and easier the audit becomes for both the company and the auditor. As a result, both can focus more time and energy on finding productive ways to improve processes rather than plowing through piles of paper.
Now, SafetyChain LINK Auditor View makes it easy for food companies to share all records and information required within the purview of an audit, without overwhelming their auditors with unnecessary or extraneous information.
In the world of food manufacturing, audit compliance is among the most critical elements to a company’s success. Yet, it is also one of the most challenging aspects of food quality and safety management. Here are a few of the ongoing obstacles organizations must overcome.