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    The Qualities Needed for Food Quality Managers

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    The vast SKU proliferation much discussed in the past year has yielded more than a million new food products in assorted sizes, shapes, colors, packaging configurations, and each has introduce another opportunity to contaminate food safety.

    The result of all these permutations is the increasing demand for Quality Assurance food safety experts combined with the vast food safety and quality regulatory demands introduced by FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act).

    While each food manufacturing plant has varied specific requirements of a QA Food Manager, some of the characteristics requested of these well-seasoned professionals are remarkably consistent.

    Leadership

    Most candidates are asked to lead the quality assurance and food safety programs of the entire organization. This directive is required to protect customers, brands, partners, employees, shareholders, and our the company’s security by developing and implementing a comprehensive quality and food safety system across all company-owned and co-manufacturing facilities in accordance with the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), the 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), cGMPs, and Company Best Practices. This knowledge and experience must be combined with the ability and identifying productivity initiatives together with operations to contribute to the company’s profitability.

    Compliance

    This job function requires the winning candidate develop and implement audit schedule across a corporate QA department, often assigned by company-owned and co-packer food and support to personal care facilities, including dietary supplements, over-the-counter (OTC) and drugs to assure compliance with Quality and Safety Systems Programs, as required based on risk assessment.
    Depending on the size of the food manufacturer, the QA Manager will often assign additional QA staff to maintain Supplier Audit Program, by completing periodic ingredient supplier audits and finished good mock recalls based on business risk and volume. This is a key area when document supplier management can be a critical time and cost-saving element.

    As the rules and regulations of FSMA are becoming clearer nearly 3 years since signing, QA Managers must assess and implement relevant quality and food safety regulations by working together with Operations and manufacturing facilities.

    Communication and Beyond

    Often part of the lean manufacturing leadership team, QA Managers are expected to maintain and communicate updated Quality and Food Safety Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)’s in accordance with FSMA to all company-owned and co-manufacturing facilities. Due to the aforementioned SKU proliferation, QA Manager in the food industry are expected to direct quality assurance for new product development by working together with Corp QA staff, Purchasing, R&D, Regulatory and plant QC during the commercialization of new products, including auditing and qualifying new potential co-packers, specification development and documentation.

    Continuous Improvement & Brand Maintenance

    The reputation and image of the brand has never been more reliant on Food Quality leadership. Candidates for these management roles are asked to direct QA staff in working with Consumer Relations to identify key performance indicators for top brands, track complaint data, and developing corrective action plan with assigned co-packers and manufacturing facilities for quality improvement initiatives (in an effort to reduce top complaints identified by the company.)

    Compensation for QA Food Mangers

    Given all these duties and responsibilities, the compensation for QA Food Managers varies depending on a number of factors, including industry, company size, location, years of experience, and level of education. As of October 2014, the Salary.com team of Certified Compensation Professionals analyzed survey data collected from thousands of HR departments at companies of all sizes and industries to present this range of annual salaries for people with the job title Quality Assurance Manager in the United States. The median expected annual pay for a typical Quality Assurance Manager in the United States is $95,091 so 50% of the people who perform the job of Quality Assurance Manager in the United Sates are expected to make less than $95,091. Those in the top ten percentile earn $123,333 or more annually.

    Guest Author Profile: 

    TR-Cutler,-Manufacturing-Journalist-Headshot_smallThomas R. Cutler is the President & CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based, TR Cutler, Inc., (www.trcutlerinc.com). Cutler is the founder of the Manufacturing Media Consortium including more than 5000 journalists, editors, and economists writing about trends in manufacturing, industry, material handling, and process improvement. Cutler authors more than 500 feature articles annually regarding the manufacturing sector. Cutler is the most published freelance industrial journalist worldwide and can be contacted at trcutler@trcutlerinc.com and can be followed on Twitter @ThomasRCutler.