Visibility and flexibility through automating quality management system

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Screenshot of TrackWise EQMS
Screenshot of TrackWise EQMS

Related tags: Quality management, Food safety modernization

Automating quality management processes can help firms meet compliance requirements and react quicker if there is a problem, according to Sparta Systems.

The firm said many food and beverage companies are still relying on paper-based records or spreadsheets to document and manage processes like audits, complaint handling and corrective and preventive actions (CAPA) or supplier management.

TrackWise enterprise quality management software (EQMS) allows automation of such processes to meet compliance requirements such as the Food Safety Modernization ACT (FSMA).

Sparta Systems’ clients in the sector include Pepsi, Hershey, DSM and Delhaize.

Meet the requirements

Kelly Kuchinski, director industry solutions for consumer products at Sparta Systems, said EQMS can ensure the company is meeting requirements under FSMA, GFSI or ISO.

“Compliance in food and beverage goes with important operational efficiencies including visibility and brand protection,” ​she told FoodQualityNews.

“For the last 10 years the global economy has slowed and companies have made changes to remain competitive, they have cut costs and now they are sourcing ingredients from global suppliers and outsourcing packaging.

“Different locations and less contact means less visibility to ensure transparency across the product lifecycle.”

Food recalls are increasing due to more global suppliers, contract manufacturing and distribution of product around the world leading to less control, said the firm.

Kuchinski said following standard operating practices (SOPs) boosts quality for the consumer.

“Spreadsheet or paper-based systems are hard to manage and hard to query to see if there is a trend in the facility or with a supplier. If you automate, it gives visibility to see if corrective actions are maintained and it closes the loop,” ​she said.

“Food and beverage firms are struggling to do more with less, with outsourcing and reduced headcount, and with paper-based records they don’t have full visibility.

“[TrackWise] gives you standardisation of processes, for example, human resources can tend to bend the rules and take shortcuts and sometimes then deviations can occur. It helps provide the tools to stay on track with a central repository of data.

“You can proactively manage your facility and supplier visibility and address situations if they occur.”

A system for small and big firms

Cloud-based systems enable firms to access something to help and gives a price point to enter the market, said Kuchinski.

“You can expand out as you move along and it is to do with flexibility and scalability so the small guys know what problems they are facing,” ​she said.

“For the big guys they also start with a pilot to test the water and we can work together to find the biggest problems and how we can help solve them.

“The analytics tool is very popular as it gives real-time and predictive analytics so you can track that against the past and forecast for the future to make business decisions.”

Kuchinski said if something is found an alert is triggered to the designated person to resolve the issue and you don’t have to wait until a recall happens to find out about it.

Corrective actions are maintained and managed and it is a central place to integrate with other systems such as ERP or MES,” ​she said.

“There are a lot of mergers and acquisitions in the sector and you can get multiple systems which operate in silos with no way to connect. EQMS pulls in data and standardises it so when a deviation comes there is a quick transition and information is put in the hands of employees so you can be proactive.

“The food and beverage industry faces a lot of challenges, my advice would be to use automation as quality is one of the most important things. The last thing you want is to be the headline in a recall event.”

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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