Customer safety concerns and food preferences have set and redefined goals for food manufacturers. Organizations like the FDA conduct audits to verify that manufacturers are complying with relevant regulations to help protect consumers from unsafe products.
Besides customer safety and requirements, there are other reasons why an audit is done, including:
- Reassess operational priorities
- Identify and isolate problems
- A genuine desire to improve the product
There are also many reasons why a food and beverage manufacturer can fail an audit – but you can prepare for an audit to help you pass with flying colors.
Top 5 reasons why food manufacturers fail audits:
1. Human Error
Human error is inevitable, but there are ways to lessen the chances of these happening. Improve your business operations with automated data which helps minimize human errors. Humans aren’t perfect, and with a large capacity of data, just one mistake can lead to a domino effect of improper information. An advanced lot tracking system reduces the need to manually create/keep track of data and ensures accurate information is available when needed.
Having a well-trained staff and a robust food inventory management software application go hand in hand in ensuring your business operations are efficient and as a result reducing food manufacturing costs. New technologies can expedite your workflow and can help your employees as well, by taking the guesswork out of their daily tasks, less dreaded paperwork, and also reducing the chances of human error.
2. Compliance failure
The perishable food industry comes with its difficulties. It’s a fast-paced work environment that tends to be incredibly competitive. If a business owner does not stay up to code on all the safety rules and regulations, it could be the end of the business. And when preparing for an audit, it should not feel like ensuring compliance is getting in the way of the usual business processes. After all, non-compliance can equal product recalls or shut-downs.
Constant changes in compliance requirements can mean that your business practices aren’t up to date with the latest regulations. With the use of automation and cloud-based technology, you can easily identify what needs to change, spend more time coming up with solutions and opportunities, and reduce the risk of missing data for your audit.
3. HACCP Failure
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a management system that helps prevent foodborne diseases and essentially operates to protect consumer safety. Food companies, required by regulations, must review their HACCP plans for continued improvements. Failure to identify and effectively control food safety hazards at your site can have dire consequences.
Having all the documentation digitized and easy to access will make it much faster to retrieve the necessary information and make the process a smooth one, ensuring that required information isn’t missing.
All employees should know where the Food Safety Plan is located, what they are responsible for doing (e.g. updating cleaning schedules, filling out temperature logs) when they need to do it, and who to report issues. It’s common for Health Inspectors to ask for these types of documentation during a health inspection, so be sure to store them in a safe place.
Perform an internal audit of your Food Safety Plan at least once a year to verify that it is working as expected, and to identify opportunities to improve it. Once you have identified these opportunities (and you will), adjust your Food Safety Plan and implement the necessary changes.
4. Lack of Supplier Control
Food manufacturers need to make sure that their suppliers pass the audit as well.
Data mining will help identify where to find the best quality supplies and track their availability through the supply chain. Artificial intelligence is a necessary communication component that can help manufacturers stay better connected between both suppliers and consumers, resulting in an increased volume of higher quality products that can safely reach the people who are ready to buy.
In the case of a recall, an efficient lot tracking process limits its scope as most organizations ‘go wide’ as a risk mitigation strategy. Using a pen and paper or spreadsheets approach was fine when for a fledgling business, but as the business grows, so do the associated problems with a manual process, the most significant being those of time, and the many disastrous scenarios that can occur due to a small mistake.
Lot tracking software also provides you with an overview of the full supply chain in real-time. This helps your business stay organized and have traceability on all products.
5. Lack of Documentation and Organization
A key part of preparing for an audit is having all your documentation prepared and organized. And pieces of paper in filing cabinets, or individual Excel spreadsheets won’t cut it anymore. This is where automation shows yet another of its advantages. No more switching between spreadsheets or uploading data between departments. It is a single, streamlined, up-to-date management tool that allows for the following:
- Security: Tailored with today’s role-based activities and security in mind
- Configuration: Direct store deliveries and mobility configuration for workflow control
- Visibility: Route and customer information, route location, and service status in real-time
- Survey: Set up and manage Direct Store Deliveries and customer surveys
- Reporting: Developed with an advanced route and customer activity reporting
- Documents: With a single click, you can recreate route activities and customer documentation
Prepare now for your next audit
Over time, you may have noticed your files have grown increasingly complex and you are spending significantly more time searching for raw data. Does your company struggle to understand, analyze, and visualize data trends? When data drives business decisions, you need a business intelligence tool that will produce confident, actionable data reports.
HarvestERP brings advanced traceability to your warehouse. It allows you to keep much better records of all products, at all times. When traceability technology is implemented in your foods business, you can easily recall records and inventory for food safety compliance and audits. Having control over your operation can help to prevent wasteful orders, and keep up with government regulations and store policies.
Harvest Food Solutions can help institute best standard practices, get you to set strategic goals, meet benchmark standards and implement standards to help with your compliance and compete with larger retail clients. If you’re interested in finding out more, talk to us today!