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Surviving Close Encounters with the Committee

Food safety and quality management systems are a necessity if you are going to satisfy customer and regulatory requirements and meet corporate performance goals. While it is easy enough to review current best practices in food safety and quality systems and choose the options that will meet your compliance and performance needs, getting project sign off and budget approval from management committees can be an entirely different matter.

Much of that challenge comes from communication problems between two cultures, the technical and operational staff who develop the proposal and management who must understand it and sign off. The technical staff is most comfortable and fluent with the technical discussion. Management is fluent in the language of business and finance and evaluates the project in the context of corporate goals and ROI. Never were two groups more likely to have a failure to communicate.  

How do you reconcile the two groups to make the project happen?

Several proposal strategies have been used to bridge the gap and move forward to get the job done. The article “Justifying the Manufacturing Intelligence Project examines the most common strategies, where they work and how to maximize your chance of success.


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.

The Skills Needed for Continuous Improvement

Cristian Matei, Global Operational Business Improvement Manager, Alstom Power, a global power generation company headquartered in Switzerland is interviewed by the PEX Network (Process Excellence Network). Matei speaks about the skills required to drive continuous improvement and the need to develop a global view in addition to focus on individual projects.

His call for common understanding of processes throughout the organization speaks to the necessity of distributed manufacturing intelligence provided by systems such as NWA Quality Analytics Server.


Webinar – Food Safety Audits for Food Container Manufacturers


During the last year food processing and food service companies have pushed safety management certification up the supply chain to packaging and container manufacturers.  On February 15, 2011, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) launched a new packaging technical working group to review best practices and define audits in manufacturing food packaging  http://bit.ly/gfsipkg .

In the meantime, packaging manufacturers need to satisfy the supply chain safety certification their customers require. To help clarify the issue and recommend effective action, Allen Sayler, VP of Food Safety, Technology & Regulatory Solutions at H. Randolph Associates, will present the webinar “Food Safety Audits – A Business Advantage Not a Burden” on March 29, 2011.  http://www.nwasoft.com/PACKwebinar1.htm .

About Allen R. Sayler

Mr. Sayler is VP of Food Safety, Technology & Regulatory Solutions at H. Randolph Associates, Inc. (HRAI). HRAI provides technical and management solutions to companies in the areas of Quality Control, Sanitation, Food Safety, Productivity, Shrinkage Control and Preventive Maintenance. Before HRAI, he worked as VP for Regulatory Affairs & International Standards for the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). His regulatory experience includes posts with the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, the US Food & Drug Administration, and the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.

GFSI Compliant Food Safety Management Systems Webinars Now Available


Webinars investigate how food processors successfully deploy and use ISO22000 and GFSI compliant systems to enable quality operations and safe food. 

Commercial standards such as the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and ISO22000 dramatically shape how food processors run their operations.  Implementing a food safety management system compliant with these audits and standards is essential for market success. The Northwest Analytical webinar series, The Compliant FSMS enables food-industry management to design reasonable strategies to comply with these requirements and dependably produce safe food while protecting the company’s brand.

Four webinar recordings are now available:

1. Comprehensive Strategies to Protect Your Brand

David Acheson, M.D., Managing Director Food and Import Safety Practice, Leavitt Partners

Dr. David Acheson began the series with his insights into the food industry regulatory and commercial landscape. In his talk he:

  • Discussed the current pressures and challenges facing the food industry
  • Defined the changes from a regulatory and congressional perspective
  • Discussed the status and implications of pending US food safety legislation
  • Provided insights into future trends
  • Presented a forward looking strategy for brand protection.

2. Building a Corporate Food Safety Culture

John G. Surak, Ph.D., Surak and Associates

Building a culture for food safety starts with top management developing a strong commitment for food safety. In this webinar, Dr. Surak focused on using the elements of ISO 22000 to accomplish the following:

  • Linking the food safety management system to the corporate business system
  • Linking the quality policy to the corporate culture
  • Developing effective food safety objectives
  • Increasing the effectiveness of management review

3. Process Improvement with GFSI Compliant Management Systems

Tatiana A. Lorca, Ph.D., Manager of Food Supply Quality Assurance, EcoSure

Dr. Tatiana Lorca discussed the Global Food Safety Initiative and how their benchmark and recognition process drives improvement and cost efficiency. Topics presented:

  • What is the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)?
  • How the benchmark and recognition process drives improvement and cost efficiency across the food supply chain
  • How the GFSI requirements incorporate the principles of the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle into the recognized programs and thus help drive improvement within a certified business
  • Four of the most widely used food safety management systems (SQF, BRC, FSSC and IFS) and their requirements highlighted from a process improvement perspective

4. Increase Food Safety, Reduce Risk, and Achieve Operational Effectiveness and Compliance

Deborah Kacera, Industry Solutions Director, Pilgrim Software

Deborah Kacera discussed how following the process requirements of the GFSI schemes yield analytics that foster growth and compliance and support:

  • Management Reviews
  • Supplier Performance Inputs and Ratings
  • Decision-making based on predictive actionable intelligence
  • Feedback into your Food Product Design and HACCP Plans

All four webinar recordings are available for immediate viewing at: http://www.nwasoft.com/FSMSWebinars.htm .

Webinar – Increase Food Safety, Reduce Risk, and Achieve Operational Effectiveness and Compliance

Tuesday, February 8, 2011, 11 AM PST/2PM EST

Northwest Analytical brings you The Compliant FSMS webinar series to examine how food processors can deal with regulatory and commercial requirements such as ISO 22000 and the GFSI recognized food safety management systems. The series will enable food industry management to design reasonable strategies to deal with these issues and dependably produce safe food while protecting the company’s brand.

Deborah Kacera, Pilgrim Software, will discuss how following the GFSI scheme’s process requirements yield analytics that foster growth and compliance and support:

  • Management Reviews
  • Supplier Performance Inputs and Ratings
  • Decision-making based on predictive actionable intelligence
  • Feedback into your Food Product Design and HACCP Plans

Ms. Kacera is Industry Solutions Director at Pilgrim Software where she Deb Kacerais responsible for the company’s CAPA and Complaints management software products and its applications in the food and pharmaceutical industries.  She determines specifications for product enhancements, new products and third-party product integration.  

Prior to her appointment with Pilgrim, she held positions in manufacturing engineering and management at MTD Technologies, McDonnell Douglas and General Motors. She has wworked with the FDA on development of new CDRH eMDR program, providing input into eMDR document requirements to improve the efficiency of the eMDR submission process.

Registration link –  http://www.nwasoft.com/FSMSWebinar4.htm

Where E. Coli Control Works

By now, we have all read the New York Times article “E. Coli Path Shows Flaws in Beef Inspection”
and the long string of resulting commentary. The article again raises the question of effective safety and quality management in the ground beef supply chain.

One program that has shown consistent success in controlling food safety has been the USDA AMS ground beef purchasing system for the National School Lunch Program. The program actively uses methods that have been developed over the years in industrial supply chain quality management notably vendor certification, process control and active auditing.

The result of this program is that since 2003, the first year using these methods, they have never delivered ground beef to the school kids that tested positive for E. Coli O157H7.

You can read about the program at: http://www.nwasoft.com/appnotes/usdagrbeef.htm
and see videos clips from the Feast or Famine” program which featured the NSLP food safety system at: http://www.nwasoft.com/appnotes/feastfamine.htm .

The system that the NSLP developed has one of the best records in the industry. The food industry should adapt the elements of this program into their food safety efforts.