In an evolving world where supply chains are becoming more dynamic by the week, simplifying food safety within the supply chain has never been more important. Food manufacturers must pivot between suppliers and have the flexibility to source ingredients to meet production needs because food safety cannot waiver. To manage all these complexities and ensure your facility is always audit ready, here are four tips on simplifying food safety within the supply chain.
Streamlining the collection of documents can be achieved through automating your document management. QA departments are being pulled in every which way, and there isn’t enough time in the day to constantly check a spreadsheet for what documents are expiring. Automating your facility’s documentation with software like Document Compliance Network will make managing your supplier’s documents so much easier.
A software management program can track the expiration dates and reach out to the company for expiring documents automatically, ensuring that you always have the most recent document version. This will also aid during an audit or a traceability exercise. Having all the documents needed for these in a searchable and assessable place will improve confidence in those situations. When a document is requested, you can search for it confidently and get it within a few clicks.
Utilize reliable partners for purchasing and sourcing
If you want to produce quality food, you have to start with quality ingredients. Ensuring you have reliable suppliers that provide safe and quality ingredients is an important step to ensuring food safety. Quality and procurement departments must work in tandem to onboard suppliers and vendors. Succeeding in your supply chain management starts with everyone being on the same page.
By utilizing FSVP-compliant and audit body-certified partners, your facility can have more peace of mind that there is more of a commitment to food safety and traceability.
Review Specs & Supplier
Having the expectation set that your suppliers must provide a set list of documents is important in the making sure your supply chain is secure. This could include a GFSI audit (such as SQF or BRC), a Certificate of Analysis, an ingredient statement, an organic/Halal/Kosher audit, and even more product specific. Having a supplier that provides all your required documentation upfront makes it easier for you to know the ingredient is safe to use and makes them a reliable company for purchasing additional ingredients from.
The supplier's risk level is another consideration when requesting and reviewing documents. Certain ingredients in your supply chain carry higher risk depending on its risk for food safety or quality event. Those suppliers will need to have their products reviewed to a stricter standard. What does this mean for your documentation? It means that you might require additional testing that the product is safe to consume or need additional documents to prove that the storage and transportation were not harmful to the product. Please communicate these requirements to your supplier to ensure a seamless handoff of information.
Communicate, communicate, and communicate
Lastly, making sure everyone in the company, from the receivers to the admin, is on the same page regarding supply chain requirements is important. Having a system in place that documents and stores information on your ingredients and products will make keeping your supply chain food safety better. This can look like automated documentation software like Document Compliance Network. However, having the QA department on it won’t be as effective. Involve your receivers and let them know that if they search for the PO and COA for the load and it is not approved then they need to call QA and stop the shipment from entering the facility. Allow the procurement team to start the supplier approval process to prevent an ingredient sourcing from an unapproved supplier. If there is a system and procedures to handle all the information, managing your supply chain will become more accessible and more of a team effort through developing a food safety culture.
In conclusion, while supply chains have gotten more complex, food safety doesn’t have to. By utilizing an internal system such as Document Compliance Network to track, store, request automatically, and share documentation with suppliers, customers, and your team, your facility will ensure traceability and compliance without manual tracking and outreach. Next, developing a standard for suppliers and ensuring all suppliers and partners that the facility buys ingredients from meet them via a straightforward approval/compliance process. Being clear about the supplier requirements upfront and communicating the requirements ahead of time will simplify food safety within your company and the supplier relationship. Lastly, prioritize developing a food safety culture where all departments from sales, procurement, production, admin, and quality assurance are all on the same page and aware of the requirements. All of these strategies can be effective in simplifying food safety within the global supply chain.