Becoming certified with a GFSI scheme is a great accomplishment for any food manufacturing company, especially when one thinks about the amount of effort that goes into achieving compliance. Gathering the required documentation alone can be a daunting task. If your company is like a lot of food manufacturing companies out there, you probably store all documentation in a file cabinet or some sort of shared drive. But that makes it tough to search for, analyze, and maintain required information for continued auditing against your GFSI scheme. There is a way to make this a heck of a lot easier!
A few TraceGains customers recently gave examples as to how the software helps keep them in compliance with their chosen scheme, and how it can make getting certified much simpler.
Bill Besson of Jiffy Mixes (Chelsea Milling) goes into detail about how TraceGains helped them achieve compliance with the FSSC 22000 Standard.
Examples of requirements for FSSC 22000:
- Incoming materials shall be inspected, tested, or covered by COA
- Delivery vehicles shall be checked to verify that quality and safety of the material has been maintained
- Assess and monitor supplier performance
Challenges in Certifying to FSSC 22000:
- Manually intensive and error-prone process to check supplier-provided data (each attribute for each ingredient lot on each incoming shipment) against ingredient specifications. Besson follows up with saying that they literally had a person down at receiving checking COAs to make sure the lot was in spec. “I’ve been to companies where they actually pay a person to sit in a room and all they do all day long is check COAs and then they file if it’s correct," Besson stated.
- There can be a myriad of supplier provided COA formats (PDF, Excel, Word, faxes, etc.) from different vendors
- Manual records make for an intensive process to retrieve documents and data, collect up-to-date supplier information, and to assess suppliers' ability to meet compliance requirements
Automating FSSC 22000 Tasks with TraceGains
- The system runs 24/7, ensuring that whenever suppliers submit COAs, they are automatically checked. So if you have a COA come in at 3:00pm or 3:00am, it doesn’t matter. It’s checked.
- 100% of all supplier lots and COAs are automatically checked for compliance with specifications
- Loads are not accepted unless you have received a COA and it has been checked by the system
- Effortlessly look up past COA data and truck inspections. Instead of sifting through file cabinets for certain documents, all you need to do is type in that lot number or shipment number and you can easily find what you’re looking for.
- Automatic eNotifications are sent to suppliers requesting updated critical documents prior to expiration, ensuring you are always up-to-date
Not only do you have the benefits listed above, but Besson also talked about how, with the culture change, his ingredient technician can now spend their time do other things like testing or helping out with other food safety initiatives within the company, rather than spending time checking COAs against specifications.
Greg Rowe of Ottens Flavors also talked about how TraceGains helped them achieve compliance with the BRC for Food Standard.
What BRC Covers:
- Senior Management Commitment and Continual Improvement
- The Food Safety Plan (HACCP)
- Food Safety and Quality Management System
- Site Standards
- Product Control
- Process Control
Challenges in Certifying to BRC
- Documentation control was an issue with roughly 300 vendors and 1500 active raw materials, giving Ottens about 60,000 documents to track. Yikes! To cope with the problem, Ottens hired more personnel, but realized that couldn’t be a long-term solution—they needed something that could automate the process.
- Management of suppliers, raw materials, and packaging was complicated. Ottens needed a whole supplier compliance program to be easily monitored with improved communication.
- There was a lack of control with non-conforming products. For example, A COA was received and correctly stated, but was out of spec. The broker didn’t catch the error and neither did the QC department, which meant they ended up making out of spec product.
- Manual receiving documents were used that circulated throughout the organization, making this a more labor-intensive job than it needed to be.
Benefits with TraceGains
- Huge help in tracking documentation. All documents are easily accessible, alerts are sent out when certain documents are close to expiring, and there’s one location for all documentation.
- Ottens can now run GAP analyses on documents and send notifications to vendors when items are missing—taking a more proactive approach.
- Easily monitor and communicate with suppliers on a quarterly basis, and share their scorecard with them. This helps to educate the suppliers on where they might be lacking or where they might need improvement.
- It’s a proactive system. You can decline or accept a lot shipment before it reaches shipping docs.
- Receiving information can be entered into TraceGains and if non-conformances are found, an alert will be sent to the appropriate person. You can easily search for PO numbers, product numbers, and carriers in one location.
Better and Automated BRC Compliance with TraceGains
“TraceGains has been very flexible with our business needs. You need a service provider who is flexible because guess what? The game keeps changing—and it going to continue to change. Standards will continue to change. And if you don’t have an organization and a package that’s not flexible, you’re in trouble," states Rowe.
TraceGains helps companies achieve, maintain, and advance compliance with their chosen GFSI scheme.
First, all GFSI-approved schemes have stringent upstream documentation requirements, which are significantly eased and aided through TraceGains’ Supplier Management (SM) and Supplier Compliance (SC) products.
SM is a supplier relationship management solution that helps assure suppliers are compliant with a company’s business requirements. SC helps assure that the goods purchased from suppliers are compliant with a company’s own ingredient specifications.
Additionally, TraceGains Quality Management (QM) has built in all the GFSI compliance requirements—point-by-point, for each scheme—to help guide the compliance process, and also delight auditors.
Let us know if you'd like to learn more about how TraceGains can help you get started with your GFSI journey.
Subscribe to Our Blog
Enter your email address below: