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Food safety and quality: one of the fundamental principles of the food industry

Food -quality -and -safety

These days, it's the consumer who leads the way. They pose a number of questions to the food industry and want to know if all the food they consume is truly healthy, clean, safe and of premium quality. Moreover, they keep a close eye on where products come from (ABN Amro, 2017). Where are ingredients sourced, and who is responsible for what? The question now is how you as a food company organise this process...

Monitoring and keeping track of your food quality

Food safety and quality are one of the fundamental principles of the food industry. Not only for the end consumer, but also for every company in the value chain. An increasing number of consumers place ever-higher demands thanks to public attention for healthy food and enhanced transparency throughout the chain (Rabobank, October 2016). Food scandals, also those just behind us, have had a serious impact on consumer confidence in the company in question and sometimes in the rest of the companies in that sector. Consumers increasingly use social media to file complaints. Monitoring and keeping track of food safety and quality is therefore absolutely vital. Schouw Informatisering offers various fully-integrated ICT solutions to support food companies in this effort. You can monitor your quality system (HACCP, IFS, ISO9001/22000, etc.) and you have and keep the quality of your products top of mind through tracing, shelf-life, product specifications and quality control.

Traceability throughout the chain

SI Foodware, Schouw's company-wide software solution, helps companies by providing insight into the quality of their products. Control over product batches is fully integrated throughout the company with the help of this ERP software based on Microsoft Dynamics; tracing takes place from the supplier through to customer delivery. This also provides insight into which batches of raw materials and semi-finished products are ultimately used to make the end product batches. In the event of a recall, this facilitates rapid traceability throughout the chain. In this fast-moving, digital world, it is of crucial importance that this process is set in stone and that immediate action can be taken.

Monitoring shelf-life during delivery

The minimum shelf-life date for both procurement and retail can be entered into SI Foodware. This can also be done for the shelf-life calculation during production. If so desired, individual customers can deviate from the minimum retail shelf-life date. This means you can optimally monitor shelf-life date in the customer delivery process and you can safeguard the quality you promised by guaranteeing proper delivery of the products way before the preset shelf-life date.

Apply inspection status to safeguard quality

It is possible to apply an inspection status to your product inventory to facilitate insight into availability and to safeguard product quality. The checked inspection status determines if the batches are blocked or not for one or more transactions within the company, e.g. retail, pick, use, calculation of Production planning (MPS/MRP), transfer shipments and procurement invoicing. This gives the quality assurance manager ongoing control over the batches. They cannot be sent or used for production if they contain defects.  An inspection status can also be automatically preset for a transaction, for production output or return delivery of sold product, for example. One of the options of the inspection status can be mandatory quality control setting. This means you can deliver premium quality.

Quality registration in SI Foodware

It is possible to preset quality control (QC) specifications in SI Foodware for item categories and/or characteristics or specific articles. This subsequently enables easy compilation of QC registration. QC registration from warehouse documentation can be made when presetting checks and balances during product receipt or shipment.  Only when the warehouse documentation has been released for billing purposes and the QC registration has been closed can the warehouse transaction be executed. This means you can be sure that nothing is delivered to your customers without prior control - and that you can monitor your suppliers with respect to quality assurance.

It is possible to preset various kinds of QC registrations automatically, with numerous checks and balances on a single production line if so desired. These checks and balances are executed by the operators themselves when starting up the system, after a disruption, during the process control process and when entering output information. You can make use of tablets, for example, to which images can be connected. The quality module offers the possibility to register this equipment and the calibration results to be recorded, thanks to the calibration registration system.

What is a product actually made of?

Since consumers increasingly consider precise product specifications important, we must not forget that product specification calculations must demonstrably comply with requirements. This is one of the most important product-related documents. Specification control is often undertaken in complex Excel sheets or in external systems that are not connected to a company's network. This can lead to duplication of effort with all potentially conceivable errors. SI Foodware integrates your product specifications throughout the organisation. You gain immediate access to information pertaining to nutritional values, allergens and ingredients. This information is valuable for both internal reports and labels, consumer packaging and third party product information. Moreover, you comply with European legislation.

Registration and analysis of complaints by customers and suppliers

Should a complaint arise, it is of the utmost importance that the software records the information correctly, so that the situation can be dealt with adequately. SI Foodware has developed a range of options to deal with complaint registration. Retail return assignments and credit notes are easy to produce with the help of a complaint from a customer or supplier. Moreover, there are user-friendly alternatives to analyse the history of a complaint, so that you can take effective measures to prevent future repetition. 

Data integrity is of the utmost importance

Guidelines have been established for data integrity thanks to increasing violation of the Current Good Manufacturing Process (cGMP) with respect to data integrity violations recorded by the Food and Drug Administratrion (FDA) and non-compliance reports by European watchdogs.  Microsoft Dynamics and SI Foodware enable workflows to be established and the separate registration of individual users in the software system.

Is your food company ready and waiting to move forward?

It is of the utmost importance that food companies comply with the requirements and requests of third parties including governmental authorities. Do you too wish to be able to respond to consumer questions? We would like to discuss the opportunities with you to see where we can add value to your food company with respect to quality and food safety.