As a food manufacturer, your company probably has several documented policies, processes and procedures that address quality, from sales to customer service, from development through production to shipments. If you are like many manufacturers, you are looking to eliminate paper-based quality processes with automated food quality control software to be able to quickly and easily meet today’s strict mandatory FDA regulations and compliance standards for ISO, HACCP, OSHA, SOC and SOX.
So what type of food quality software is required to document, execute and report on all the various quality related activities performed in your food manufacturing environment?
QMS software applications, by industry definition, manage a variety of documents and quality records, including adverse events, deviations, non-conformance, and corrective actions. The application typically addresses change management, customer satisfaction, and employee training and certifications. Employing workflows, your company’s quality related documents and key performance indicators can be shared across departments.
Leading food manufacturing applications, such as BatchMaster for Food, offer in-built quality management capabilities, plus formulation, inventory management, production, lot traceability & recall, FDA compliance, planning, scheduling, and warehousing.
“So how does BatchMaster’s food quality software capabilities compare to those found in a typical QMS application?” is a common question asked.
First off, let me say that all food manufacturing applications should have Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for the food industry built into all its supported processes that could impact the quality of one’s products.
Here’s a list of quality related features and functions that are typically planned and executed by food manufacturing applications on the plant floor:
- Supplier Management – Plan and execute checklists and sample inspections against vendor deliveries to ensure procedures and collect pass/fail or numerical data (e.g. paperwork accuracy, trailer temperature, raw material QC test).
- Facility / Equipment Management – Plan and execute checklists and sample inspections against the facility physical locations equipment to ensure procedures and collect pass/fail or numerical data (e.g. room temperature, blender RPM).
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) – In addition to standard QC tests defined in one’s recipe, intermediate or finished good specification, ad hoc or customer specific quality procedures can be added to these specifications for execution during WIP.
- Reports & Business Intelligence – Quality reporting and analytics allow users to drill down into granular manufacturing data, look for trends, search and filter data, and make calculated decisions on how to continually improve quality levels. Of course, the accuracy of these reports is only as good as the accurate data captured during one’s food manufacturing operations.
Here’s a list of quality related features and functions that are addressed by both QMS and food manufacturing applications at some level:
- Deviations – The capture and reporting all changes or deviations to batch formulas and packaging BOM’s is best managed within the food manufacturing application, which is responsible for recipe management and production. Following corporate procedures, these deviations may lead to the creation of non-conformance records.
- Adverse Events – Encountered issues, including the capture and processing of internal and customer complaints, can automatically generate non-conformance records which require internal investigation, culminating with a resolution determined from CAPA follow-up activities.
- Non-Conformance & Corrective and Preventative Actions (CAPA) – These records capture the information surrounding an incident and documents the investigation activities, the findings and any changes (i.e. improvements) to the current policies, procedures and parameters stated in one’s corporate documents and configured in one’s food manufacturing software. BatchMaster’s food manufacturing application allows one to immediately drill down into inventory, batch job and quality records using a graphical lot traceability tool during root case analysis.
- Document Control – QMS software typically supports document scanning, routing, escalation and approval processes, in addition to providing document search & retrieval for audits or inspections. Food manufacturing software typically maintains, and associates documents generated from external sources to selected records, such as product and equipment certifications, then uses workflows to distribute these documents.
- Change Management – Being a document management system, QMS applications support change notifications and historical audit logs. Food manufacturing software provides version control of recipe and packaging specifications.
- Multi-level Workflows – QMS applications offer document routing, notification, escalation, and approvals across departments, whereas as food manufacturing applications deliver task and record notifications to selected users for approval or execution.
- Audit Management – Retention and reporting of key documents, operational tasks, and manufacturing data in compliance with corporate standards and industry regulations is supported by QMS and food manufacturing applications.
To document, automate and manage Risk Assessments plus Employee Training & Certifications, some food manufacturers will upgrade to a QMS application, which will also manage their documented policies and procedures. Food manufacturing applications typically do not provide comprehensive functionality for risk assessment and employee training & certifications.
In conclusion, food quality control software functionality is a ‘must’ to protect one’s brand and avoid unnecessary penalties or fines. But running both a QMS application and a food manufacturing application may be redundant, as well as technically and economically infeasible. So, prioritize your requirements in terms of quality related administrative vs execution needs, then ask for a software demo!
Please click on this link to watch the video on the QC & QA functions supported by BatchMaster’s Food Manufacturing software.