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Explore This IssueOctober/November 2013
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The best way to optimize quality and minimize risk for prevention is through fully-integrated, end-to-end software capabilities.
3. Predictive analytics allow problems to be corrected before they occur. Real-time, predictive analytics are vital to understand what could happen, based on trends, or to foresee issues before an event occurs. Advanced software with predictive analytics may leverage robust modeling engines and multivariate analysis to preempt alarm and failure events based on historical models, enabling “active avoidance.” This protects quality and food safety.
For instance, high pH readings in a key processing step can compromise product quality. If the pH level starts deviating toward a critical condition, predictive analytics software can determine that a critical condition is likely to occur by using a process model built on past scenarios and process data. This model can identify the causes for the pH deviation, alert the operator, and give him or her information to make the correct, immediate decision to adjust the process to prevent the critical condition. And the operator’s actions can be captured to further enhance the process model.
A U.S. dairy company used predictive analytics software to reduce spoilage in its dry baby formula product. By looking at content moisture, dry time, and several other parameters, it could predict the moisture content of its product and reach the desired state faster and more successfully while providing more consistency for the parameters that reduce spoilage.
4. Standardized work processes minimize inconsistencies. The centerpiece of any good safety program is standardized operating procedures (SOPs), which help operators consistently adhere to recipes and comply with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). Workflow software enables manufacturers to digitize manual and automated work processes, replacing static paper trails or binders at an operator station. Addressing the need for better operator guidance, digitization helps them follow SOPs and instructions with greater precision and fewer errors.
Through validated entry, workflow software captures data for analysis and historical records. It can help automate and manage HACCP monitoring, integrating production work processes with real-time HACCP testing to enable faster response to compliance issues.
For example, workflow can help manage a HACCP plan by automatically triggering HACCP sampling based on
production events or elapsed time. This gives operators work instructions that connect production actions with real-time quality data. Such capabilities enforce HACCP and other SOPs and mitigate risks for inconsistent actions that could lead to quality problems and recalls. Furthermore, workflow software with mobile alarm response management enables operators to automatically and dynamically respond to production problems and events while monitoring alarms and out-of-spec conditions from multiple systems. It can track HACCP data in real-time and automatically adjust work processes to meet specification requirements, improving production processes for increased food safety.
5. Traceability enables tighter controls across the supply chain. Many variables can affect the availability and reliability of data on the plant floor and throughout the supply chain, which can be difficult to track and trace. Traceability has often been applied solely to minimize the impact of recalls and aid customer complaint investigations, but using it to improve food safety can virtually prevent recalls.
Software that offers rich traceability capabilities can trace a product throughout every step of the manufacturing process, identifying its exact materials and quality characteristics. It allows the flow of the product to be controlled between equipment and managed in-process inventories with greater transparency, and, hence, mitigation of cross contamination between production orders.
This type of software can leverage raw material intelligence and integrate the data to trace complex batches, continuous processes, sub-processes, and components or by-products. The origin and destination of all incoming materials and outgoing finished goods are known, improving food safety. By tracing raw materials to finished product, tighter controls can be put into place to safeguard the supply chain.