Audits & Analytics – Know for Sure

Emily Sohn’s column Peanut Butter’s Checkered Food Safety History chronicles the recent history and scope of bacterial contamination and recalls focusing on four food products – peanut butter, cantaloupe, ground beef and spinach.  Each food stuff has its particular problems be it the rough rind on cantaloupe or the multiple animal sources of ground beef plus their own favorite pathogen problems with Salmonella, E. coli or Listeria.

She rightly points to the large scale extended and complicated food supply chain as a major contributor to the outbreak problems we face in today’s food market. Our experience suggests that best first line defense is the current Food Safety Management System model contained in standards and regulations such as ISO 22000, the Food Safety Modernization Act and the Global Food Safety Initiative.

These depend on a well defined system bolstered by analytics and real-time role specific reporting for timely and well informed decision making. This is summarized by a three step program:

  • Know your production and quality systems
  • Know your supply chain
  • Know for sure – verify with audits and use analytics to get maximum results from audits.

In our direct experience we have observed that integrating HACCP programs and SPC improves food safety results and in the case of ground beef purchase by the National School Lunch Program results in supply chains that delivered ground beef that never tested positive for the pathogens monitored. We also believe the additional step of extracting actionable information from audits with analytics helps maximize the food safety outcome.

Will these strategies eliminate all possibility of food safety events? No. Will they give us the best chance of a good outcome? Yes.

Advertisements

Treat Metrics such as OEE as Process Parameters

Food Processors create Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to better understand what is happening in their process. One of the most common, Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE),  combines measures of availability, throughput and quality to provide a more comprehensive understanding of equipment or production line performance. However, a single OEE value provides very limited manufacturing decision support. Companies often short change themselves by using OEE as an isolated value and not looking at the statistics and trends.

That is where process based analytics come to the rescue. By using SPC and treating OEE like any other process parameter, manufacturers can extract far more value from the monitoring process. With statistically-based trend analysis they can quickly identify the areas that fall short in quality, throughput or availability. 

By coupling OEE with SPC, process understanding becomes part of the manufacturing culture. Since this is a component of the Manufacturing Intelligence model, it sets companies on the path to state-of-the-art manufacturing process management and enables them to:

  • Apply SPC to automated OEE solutions – looking at a single KPI value adds little to process management capability, but using control charts and process capability analysis will enable the company to deliver world-class manufacturing;
  • Rapidly determine where improvement opportunities exist;
  • Focus oninformation, not data – data is the raw material; information provides the decision support that improves performance levels.

Our article, Combine OEE and SPC for Decision Support, discusses this manufacturing intelligence-based strategy and how to turn KPIs into effective real-time decision support.

Analyze the Audits for Better Compliance

Swabbing floor drainJohn Surak gave his webinar, “Applying Process-based Analytics to Audit Results for Process Management and Improvement” yesterday. The recorded presentation is now available for you   and the slide deck is available at SlideShare

An important takeaway is that using analytics on the audit findings and applying the results to your continuous improvement program is an excellent way to strengthen your FSMS. This implies better performance on subsequent audits and improved compliance with GFSI and ISO 22000 standards.