For many manufacturers in the food, CPG, and supplement industries, advances in transportation and communication, as well as new consumer preferences, have forever changed the food supply chain. Companies now produce more complex and diverse products than ever before, resulting in longer, more globally dispersed processes required to fulfill demand. For today’s food manufacturers, what does transparency mean?
Transparency and FSMA
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requires companies to take a proactive approach to food safety. Overarching regulations such Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP), Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food, the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Control (HARPC), all exist to improve the integrity of the global food supply chain. Industry-wide, this is commonly known as supply chain transparency.
Expectations for Transparency
Transparency reduces risk across the supply chain. Companies need real-time visibility into the full electronic pedigree of ingredients that contribute to the products they produce. FSMA requires transparency from companies with mandates for detailed record sharing, supplier and item verification, and process controls.
The Problem with Track and Trace
Today, the term “track and trace” refers to a company’s ability to trace the lifecycle of an ingredient within a given product back to its origin and then track the impact of that product through consumption, after it leaves your facility. Though following a product through consumption is not required, the ability to trace an ingredient back to its source of origin is. This expectation, though simple in its definition, is often challenging to accomplish in practice. Most of the information needed to trace an ingredient to its source resides outside the four walls of your organization. Data is siloed among multiple companies, defragmented, and often doesn’t exist in a digital format ready for consumption.
For example, cashews are primarily grown and harvested in Africa, shipped to Vietnam or India for processing (i.e., deshelling, cleaning, and sorting), and imported into the United States to apply a “kill step.”
Only then can they be sold to a distributor or manufacturer for raw materials inclusion or direct consumption. It is a requirement for both the distributor and manufacturer to obtain all documentation of the activities and locations listed above to minimize contamination potential.
In addition to meeting regulation requirements, companies must also respond appropriately to consumers who require increased transparency. The rise of social media has given consumers the ability to provide real-time feedback to companies, with many opting to push for healthier, environmentally conscious, or mission-based products. With so many options on the shelf these days, buyers can make very granular decisions about the type of values with which they align themselves. Today, customers aren’t celebrating companies for the actions they take; they’re holding them accountable for the actions they don’t.
Transparency Through Technology
TraceGains Supplier Management allows companies in the food, supplement, and CPG industries to establish a foundation for supply chain transparency. Supplier Management can automate document collection and workflow, collect and digitize supplier and item-level documentation, and send automatic alerts when necessary documentation is missing, about to expire, or incomplete. Find out how TraceGains Supplier Management can help you establish supply chain transparency today here.