Three Essential Tools for Traceability and Food Safety in Manufacturing

Brent Whittaker
By Brent Whittaker | June 29, 2018
Global Account Executive
food safety in manufacturing prevents exorbitant costsAccording to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, 77% of companies that have faced a recall in the past five years estimate that the financial impact can be upwards of $30 million, with 23% reporting even higher costs. That does not even account for the exponential losses as result of damages to brand reputation, which can make it difficult to regain consumer trust and dollars. The main culprit behind these exorbitant costs? Lack of traceability in food safety manufacturing.
Without clear traceability, food and beverage manufacturers can’t implement quick and effective corrective actions, such as a targeted product recall. They should be able to easily trace a quality issue back to its source, then isolate and pull just the contaminated products from the market, rather than take a huge loss by recalling everything from that lot, line, or facility in an attempt to prevent affected goods from reaching consumers. Further, traceability helps manufacturers pinpoint which stores received the products so they can communicate with consumers about checking their pantries and refrigerators. This not only minimizes food safety risks, but also prevents lost sales through damages to brand reputation.
It is important to note that traceability goes beyond the ability to track raw materials that went into the finished goods. In order to ensure complete food safety, organizations should identify the source of all food inputs, including additives and packaging. In fact, there are nearly as many quality concerns with the packaging and labeling of food and beverage items as there are with the processing of it. Common mishaps can be as simple as missing an ingredient on the label or ink seeping through the packaging.
To help food and beverage manufacturers improve their food safety protocols, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) developed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to establish preventive and traceable measures within the food manufacturing industry. But, how can manufacturers maintain compliance in a cost-effective way while upholding high-quality standards?

A Centralized Data Repository

Identifying and solving problems upstream in the production process is much harder when monitoring multiple data streams across lines, plants, and suppliers. Centralizing product quality and process data in one place increases visibility throughout the entire enterprise, making it quick and easy to identify any source of issues and affected products.

Real-Time Statistical Process Control

With SPC data and control charts that update in real time, manufacturers can be more proactive and catch potential problems before they result in ruined or contaminated food. What’s more, as the data are collected and stored in the cloud, they can be leveraged at the C-suite level, where executives can run historical analyses to find areas for global quality and cost improvements.

Cloud-based Quality Management

Cloud-based quality management technologies offer distinct benefits for food and beverage manufacturers. With an enterprise-level view of data, manufacturers can make sure that suppliers and packaging providers remedy any issues before components arrive at the manufacturers’ facilities and are incorporated into the final product. Data visualizations and reports provide quick and easy proof of compliance in the event of an audit. With a quality management solution, food safety risk prevention and traceability become an embedded part of the manufacturing process.
Powered by a centralized, real-time view of quality, manufacturers can be proactive about food safety and drive enterprise-wide process improvements. In the event of a food safety risk, they can trace the problem to its source, effectively removing only the affected goods from the marketplace, ensuring consumer safety, and minimizing the financial impact of a product recall.

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