The facility risk-level can be determined via an onsite audit and review of its standard operating procedures and quality processes. If any issues are identified during this initial visit, it is important for the company’s auditor to share this feedback with the supplier sooner rather than later to ensure corrective actions or preventative actions (CAPAs) are implemented before the first order is produced and shipped out. This guarantees that both parties are working together to provide the best product possible for consumers while ensuring brand protection and profitability for each party.
Service performance will also need to be part of the scorecard because it provides clearer visibility into a supplier’s ability to provide the right quantity of product, at the right time, within the set specifications. Delays in production can severely impact a company’s ability to meet retailers’ orders and ultimately may prevent consumers from switching brands.
Finally, cost should be the last part of the equation. What good is the cheapest priced ingredient if it results in a multi-million dollar recall or the demise of your brand?
Proactive Risk Management
Managing documentation requirements, audits, complaints, incidents, corrective actions, and change management internally can be challenging enough. When you increase the quality management footprint to hundreds or even thousands of suppliers and partners, it can be even more overwhelming for a small internal team handling the process.
It’s crucial that companies upgrade their current paper-based records or spreadsheets documents to some sort of automated system so they have the ability to actively, and more quickly, connect with suppliers to verify product testing and standards are in compliance with the established partner agreement, and that CAPAs are being addressed in a timely manner. The ability to track and identify trends earlier in the process—whether through complaints, audits, or incidents—supports proactive risk management through the use of analytics tools.
This can explain why many food and beverage manufacturers are beginning to update their manual quality processes with an enterprise quality management system, such as TrackWise from Sparta Systems. Such solutions not only provide manufacturers with a central repository of all quality processes taking place and data that meets compliance requirements, but it also integrates with existing enterprise IT systems, such as ERP and CRM systems, to share master data or capture complaints in real-time to provide greater transparency to issues earlier on in the process.
Such automated solutions can also provide the transparency and visibility into supplier quality management so companies can ensure that products meet required specifications, and that incidents can be assigned to the responsible parties to expedite resolution and corrective actions. In the event of a regulatory audit, you have a central repository to provide proof of compliance for both the company and your vast supplier network.
Food fraud is a global problem affecting millions of consumers worldwide—whether they are aware of it or not. We’ve examined what manufacturers can do to prevent this fraudulent crime, but consumers can take matters into their own hands as well by being smarter about their food purchases. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Kuchinski is VP of product marketing for Sparta Systems. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.