For the Common Good

Brent Whittaker
By Brent Whittaker | March 21, 2017
Global Account Executive
Have you ever been to an event where everything just clicks? Where you walk into a discussion or a panel or a speech and you feel like “this is exactly what I wanted to see/talk about/listen to?” Well, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) 2017 conference, in Houston, TX, was like that for me. 

This conference was packed. All the heavy hitters in the global food and beverage industry were there: Coca-Cola, Cargill, McDonald’s, Wegman’s, to name just a few. Name a food or beverage giant, and it was probably represented in some fashion at this great event.

The way I see it, food safety management is something that should be near and dear to all of us. It’s in all of our best interests to work together to keep food safe for everyone on the planet. And the Global Food Safety Conference seems to cover the entire international scope of the food industry. It’s awe inspiring; it really is. What’s important — what each and every attendee can take away from an event like this — is that the industry recognizes that food safety is not something to be used as a competitive advantage. It’s a global initiative that impacts all our lives, whether we in the public realize it or not. And the global participants at this event were there to collaborate and discuss.

A Clear Message
Trust and transparency were recurring themes at the conference; these topics seemed to pop up all over the place. One session particularly caught my attention: Transparency & Visibility in the Supply Chain – Key to improving food safety from farm to fork. Speakers representing Alimentaria San Francisco, Greenfence, Ahold Delhaize, and Supply Chain Information Management discussed how transparency impacts global food safety. They spoke about how companies can educate, train, and hold their supply chains to a common standard. They discussed the challenges and benefits of transparency, what it means to them, and how they use it to better manage and communicate food safety. And these speakers made it clear that the themes of trust and transparency are inherently tied to food safety.

This session really got me thinking. Visibility in the Supply Chain means a lot to me because it is something we focus on here at InfinityQS. We strive to help organizations achieve Enterprise Visibility — giving them the power to use the data they already collect from their quality processes and Quality Management systems to gain valuable insights into their production processes and head off quality problems before they begin. When you expand that visibility across all products — and the supply chain — you can work real magic that begins a business transformation.

InfinityQS: Visibility Throughout the Enterprise
Lack of visibility into all aspects of your organization — including suppliers and throughout manufacturing operations — is a stumbling block in continuous improvement efforts. If your organization doesn’t have in place a Quality Management solution, like what we offer here at InfinityQS, then you’re probably storing your data in silos — product-line checklists, spreadsheets, and the like. The first step into the world of enterprise visibility is to gather the data you already have in a single, centralized, unified data repository.

When your data is unified, you can gain what we call Operational Insight. You uncover information that enables your teams to identify cross-line or cross-plant improvement efficiencies and waste reduction opportunities, and increase your overall profits.

When you’ve gained the necessary insights, your organization is primed to experience what we refer to as Global Transformation. You begin to prioritize and deploy global improvement initiatives that impact your corporate quality performance and organizational competitiveness.

And it all starts with transparency and visibility. You see it; you see what you can do with it; and you make the necessary changes to improve quality. This concept is a radical shift for many organizations, but it’s a critical one. Your ability to adapt, grow, and compete depends on how well you use your existing resources along with new technologies. Gone are the days when you could think about quality as the last check box in a series of processes and procedures.

The participants at the Transparency & Visibility in the Supply Chain conference session obviously agree that transparency and visibility impact the global food industry; but transparency and visibility also impact your organization’s ability to improve and change. See it all; be it all!

That’s all for now. I’ll share more about other GFSI Conference sessions that piqued my interest in upcoming blog posts. 

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