Food safety is a priority for every food company, no matter how large or small the firm may be, or where the provider fits into the supply chain. When tainted foods become public knowledge, failure to meet safety standards can literally put a company out of business.
Explore this issueJune/July 2016
But no food company works in isolation. Even if the firm has excellent safety processes internally, it’s still at risk if any tainted foods come from outside providers.
Consequently, a number of certifications have been established worldwide to ensure food companies can prove they have ongoing food safety processes in place. These certifications may seem challenging to implement at first, but certified safety processes are more than worth the effort—especially in the food industry.
Three common scenarios are the reasons why.
- The potential for a food recall is a significant risk for every food company.
- Food safety compliance audits can be expensive, especially if the company’s quality controls and reporting processes are deemed inadequate.
- And most importantly, unlike the majority of manufacturing companies, spoilage and contamination are very real concerns for food companies.
In the scramble to meet compliance standards, however, the ability to view certification as an opportunity to improve production and profitability often gets lost in the shuffle. The good news is that all compliance schemes can enhance a company’s ability to achieve key performance indicators (KPIs) and business goals—not just protect it from safety violations.
The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a perfect example of how, when customized to meet a company’s own specific needs, certified safety compliance can serve as a major catalyst to increase production and profitability.
GFSI is an industry-driven collaborative platform to promote food safety on a global scale. Consider for a moment what globally certified safety compliance offers a food company from a bottom-line perspective:
- It mitigates risk by confirming the ability to produce the safest food possible;
- It establishes a consistent food-safety management system which, in turn, streamlines productivity and avoids unnecessary waste;
- Third-party inspectors use GFSI schemes as an agreed-upon standard for judging food safety;
- It simplifies migration to new regulations such as the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA; and
- Last but not least, proof of compliance makes a company far more competitive, whether it’s a leading industry brand or a small, regional operation.
This doesn’t mean that all GFSI implementation programs are created (and managed) equally. Nor does it mean that one GFSI solution is as effective as another. The difference lies in the company’s ability to integrate GFSI into real-time processes that drive its primary KPIs.
How to Leverage GFSI as an Active Growth Engine
GFSI compliance is straightforward. It requires food companies to do three things transparently.
- Say what you’re going to do to ensure quality and safety.
- Do what you say you’re going to do.
- And finally…prove it.
The optimal way to achieve all three requirements is not to manage GFSI in isolation, but to fully integrate it into the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system. In fact, it may be the only way to ensure safety compliance is traceable at all times enterprise-wide.
Seamless GFSI/ERP integration provides food companies with real-time, actionable data that enables managers to trace what has happened in the past; understand what is happening now; and control what will happen in the future.
The benefits of real-time integration far outweigh the costs. With real-time analytics, users can drive continuous food safety improvement by identifying which processes are working, which ones aren’t, what needs to be changed, and where the company’s focus must be to improve quality on an ongoing basis.