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#1 CaliforniaFS

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 06:05 PM

Hello All,

I have met with a few company's that offer software and Cloud based services to manage the entire quality and food safety program (and more features) for your company. It can be managed via a tablet for example, or a computer. Basically all your monitoring is recorded with real time stamps, this includes your HACCP critical control points if you have one, sanitation etc.

It's an amazing product to bring to the table...

My question is, does anyone currently use these type of software/cloud system now. It's an investment and I want to get some feedback.

Currently everything is done with pen and paper.

with it's price tag I want to make sure it's a good step forward.

 

 


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#2 Simon

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 06:27 PM

If you have a lot of tasks and actions to control (likely in a FSQMS), your system is often out of date, regular non-conformances at customer and third party audits for poor documentation control and records; then a system that provides e-audit trails, automates some tasks and provides electronic prompts and distributes to key users may help.  Is your paper system currently broken or creaking under the strain?

 

With any investment there needs to be payback (most times), so will the implementation allow you to cut any costs, alternatively what is the price of failing a customer or third party audit - has that ever happened?  These are just some of the things to consider.


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#3 Snookie

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 06:43 PM

I don't have experience with this type of system, but I love the idea of it. Though it makes me nervous not to have paper backup.

Now I am going to put my tin foil hat on......I don't like the idea of cloud systems. I know computer security is kind of a joke these days, but just don't like the idea that my data is out on the cloud. If feels like someone else has control and just can't get on board with the data is secure.

Tin hat off.....


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#4 CaliforniaFS

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 07:01 PM

thanks guy.

Pen and Paper method is has been how I've always done it. However it is not the most dependable. There have been days where qcp's are not recorded because of how busy it gets.

With this system an alert will be made if a qcp/ccp has not been acted on.

besides that I can always print the documents weekly or monthly... I would be able to have a hard copy on file. 

Cloud system- I know, it's a little scary. However it's not finances we are talking about... I don't know what people would do with our information if they got into it. I would hope the security would be of the highest...

Our PTI company is also cloud based and it's been working out fine for us.

 

I think it will be a go... It will cut time and mistakes thats for sure. 


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#5 mgourley

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 07:14 PM

Safefood 360. 

 

Fantastic customer support, no security worries, easy to implement and use.

 

Marshall


Edited by mgourley, 20 November 2013 - 07:14 PM.

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#6 HACCP Mentor

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 02:11 AM

I think that regardless of what system you use - the key is organisation. I have seen both electronic and paper based systems when I audit at both ends of the spectrum. I think that when systems get out of control is is due to the system growing over time, documents added based on audit outcomes and changes in QA staff. The best paper or electronic system will fail eventually if you are not organised and don't understand the requirements of your HACCP system.


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#7 Melissa H

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 05:12 AM

You say that currently you do everything with pen and paper. I know there is a certain comfort level in that but with the changing times and FSMA requirements that are going to increase your workload, it will be hard to continue with pen and paper.  You will have an initial outlay of cash for a new software system, but in the end you will end up getting back your initial investment plus a lot more!

 

The system that our clients have had the best results with has been SAFETY CHAIN SOFTWARE!

 

Some of the benefits of this system include:

 

Whenever you have an audit, you will be able to print out immediately any reports that they need. You will not have to spend time retrieving boxes and going through mounds of paper to find the one report that the auditor needs.

 

If there is a question about a possible problem on the line and a possible recall, you will be able to track it all back to the original supplier and find out exactly where the problem originated, without having the potential cost and marketing catastrophe associated with a recall.

 

You will be able to track everything in REAL TIME which is a bonus in itself.

 

If you have product from a supplier out in a field, you will be able to take a smart phone or handheld device out into the fields to capture the information that you need, starting in the field.

 

Another plus is that your IT department does not have to stop all their projects and get involved in the implementation of this software. Safety Chain will supply you with your own support and they will handle the implementation for you. They will work with you and answer any questions that you have every step of the way! They are very courteous and knowledgeable and will be a delight to work with.

 

I could go on and on with the benefits but the answer that top management will want is "How much does it cost and what is the bottom line?"  Once you break down all the benefits of the system and show all the time and money that this system will save and how it will impact the bottom line and increase your overall ROI, they will wonder why you hadn't implemented this before now.

 

I sure hope that this helps you make your decision.


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#8 Simon

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 06:58 AM

I see it like the difference between a bike and car.  A car will get you there quicker and with less effort and provide you with a great performance dashboard etc. However, it still needs an intelligent and competent driver and it will need fuel, cleaning, servicing and that whole bundle takes a while to set up and costs significantly. You can still get a bell for your bike, some tools and even an on-board computer for a low price. :smile:
 

As mentioned previously I think it very much depends on the size and complexity of the organization, the resources available and how mature, efficient and effective your current system is.  Horses for courses.


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Simon Timperley
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#9 scc

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 04:53 PM

I have used software from SafetyChain and highly recommend it. You are correct that it is an investment, but the hard dollar ROI is huge. The programs really help organize all your records and gives you automated alerts when something is out of spec. I also think it is a great program because it's not a 'one size fits all'. They help you tailor the program to your exact needs.  


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#10 CaliforniaFS

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 07:04 PM

I see it like the difference between a bike and car.  A car will get you there quicker and with less effort and provide you with a great performance dashboard etc. However, it still needs an intelligent and competent driver and it will need fuel, cleaning, servicing and that whole bundle takes a while to set up and costs significantly. You can still get a bell for your bike, some tools and even an on-board computer for a low price. :smile:
 

As mentioned previously I think it very much depends on the size and complexity of the organization, the resources available and how mature, efficient and effective your current system is.  Horses for courses.

You are truly the best Admin :) Thank you!!


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#11 Simon

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 07:22 PM

Aw thank you CaliforniaFS. :smile:

 

 

Unfortunately this topic has attracted a couple of new members (likely never to be seen again) who have jumped in to extol the virtues of a particular brand of software when they are clearly affiliated to the organization and likely have no direct PRACTICAL experience of using the software.  I call it vulturism, this practice is common, but against the forum spirit and etiquette and does nothing to assist the original poster with the their quest to understand the virtues of food safety software as opposed to a hard copy food safety management system.

 

 

 

Further thoughts and practical insights most welcome.


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Simon Timperley
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Need food safety advice?
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#12 MrHACCP

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 02:16 PM

Simon - I like the bike and car analogy. The key point being that for big journeys that require a lot of distance to be covered safely you are better with a car. For small and low risk local journeys a bike is not only desirable but actually good for you.

 

In other words the scale and nature of the problems you are trying to solve are the most important issues to be thought about before deciding if a software system is going to help you.

 

Bill Gates once said "The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency."

In other words you need to have good processes for the basics of food safety and quality management systems (like Document Control, Training, Audit and Corrective Actions) BEFORE you automate them. Using a software tool without this degree of thought and planning will rarely deliver any useful benefits.

Finally, in my opinion, the industry does need to modernise (the naming of FSMA is no accident) but this needs to start with the basics of implementing a Plan, Do, Check, Act approach.


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#13 osp

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 12:43 AM

Ditto to Mr HACCP's comments. I have used 2 enterprise level eQMS systems and the resources needed to configure, implement and maintain these systems can outweigh the benefits they deliver. They are hard to justify for a small to medium sized business. These systems are only tools. As already stated, focus on the basics -  solid processes and systems first. Then think about automation later.


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#14 kaidi

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 10:06 PM

Hello!

 

sorry for hijacking this thread but my question seems somewhat relevant and I do not feel deserves a new post.

 

I have been lurking this forum during my "idle" time at work for some time, now I have gathered some courage to post/ask.  :shades:

As this is my first post here, a little introduction:

At my last position as "quality assurance manager" we had excel templates that we modified to fit the needs and printed the forms for testing, later we collected these forms and typed them into excel for processing.

I wanted some change in the environment and now I'm helping to introduce quality management into a small/medium sized bakery. That's end of introduction!

 

my question: Has anyone suggestions for easy to use/easy to set up software for (sensory) quality testing (we don't have local IT). As a start, we would like to test 30-50 products weekly but it seems bit stagnant to use paper&pen. I have been thinking about using google forms but I think there must be some better way?

 

cheers,

Kaidi


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#15 kaidi

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 10:11 PM

I don't know how to edit my previous post but I want to add that I have some previous experience with FIZZ and it seems a bit complicated for us.


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#16 fgjuadi

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 10:11 AM

 

Hello!

 

sorry for hijacking this thread but my question seems somewhat relevant and I do not feel deserves a new post.

 

I have been lurking this forum during my "idle" time at work for some time, now I have gathered some courage to post/ask.  :shades:

As this is my first post here, a little introduction:

At my last position as "quality assurance manager" we had excel templates that we modified to fit the needs and printed the forms for testing, later we collected these forms and typed them into excel for processing.

I wanted some change in the environment and now I'm helping to introduce quality management into a small/medium sized bakery. That's end of introduction!

 

my question: Has anyone suggestions for easy to use/easy to set up software for (sensory) quality testing (we don't have local IT). As a start, we would like to test 30-50 products weekly but it seems bit stagnant to use paper&pen. I have been thinking about using google forms but I think there must be some better way?

 

cheers,

Kaidi

 

You deserve two threads - an intro thread and one for this question!

 

What software would you need for sensory testing?  Are you working with seafood?   I have SOP/Score cards, but I don't keep any separate excel files, I keep those results with batch sheets /weight checks / metal detector checks etc for finished product release

 

I've had a sniffer before (I don't know what the technical name of the thing was) that detected scents in returned 5 gallon bottles, but it was a really expensive piece of equipment and always on the fritz/  Seemed like we always had a to have a couple temps smell the bottles


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#17 kaidi

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 01:20 PM

You deserve two threads - an intro thread and one for this question!

 

What software would you need for sensory testing?  Are you working with seafood?   I have SOP/Score cards, but I don't keep any separate excel files, I keep those results with batch sheets /weight checks / metal detector checks etc for finished product release

 

I've had a sniffer before (I don't know what the technical name of the thing was) that detected scents in returned 5 gallon bottles, but it was a really expensive piece of equipment and always on the fritz/  Seemed like we always had a to have a couple temps smell the bottles

 

Sorry, I was a bit vague previously. We are working with all sorts of cakes, chocolate candies (truffles) and pies. By sensory testing I mean that we would like to evaluate different quality properties (visual appearance, taste, smell) of our products.


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#18 Umeda

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 08:09 PM

I agree with a lot of the posts here on several topics...

 

1. Yes, you definitely have to have the basics down before automating.  I don't think that is your concern though, even with paper and pencil, you need to have your HACCP, SOPs, CCPs down.  

 

Software providers are only that, they provide you with a tool to make your data collection, analysis, and reporting more efficient and effective.  Before any implementations, I always tell my clients that the configuration of the software will be much much quicker and simpler when all the food safety docs and processes are organized because the software gets configured to follow the those processes. For example, limits for different tests/sampling sites/products/ingredients, frequencies tasks or tests are scheduled, etc.

 

2. Cloud-based systems: I understand your concerns, but there is a very small chance your data will spill.  Our system is not cloud-based, but I do know a few things about system that are.  Most of these software providers use Amazon or Microsoft clouds which are pretty solid, but of course there is always that small chance issues may come up.  Our system is actually installed on computers.  Clients have a choice to host their own data, or we can host at our own data centers with tight securities.  

 

3. Safety Chain is very quickly becoming the thought leader in the food safety software industry.  They've had longer presence then a lot of the other web-based data management systems.  They definitely have most modules down and may be able to manage your whole fsqa program.  And of course all this means the cost will be much higher and it will take longer to implement.  There are other providers out there that will cost a lot less and have (maybe not all) but  most of the same capabilities.  If you like I can provide you with a list of software I know of.  They all have different strengths and weaknesses as well as price tag ranges. 

 

4. Amount of data to be collected will get bigger and bigger, and let's be realistic, paper-based data collection is going to be a huge headache.  Even 1-2 plant companies are moving away from it.  At some point, that will be the norm.  

 

Simon, I am also a new user, and I hope my post was general and informative enough not to be sales-y. :)


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#19 Umeda

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 08:28 PM

Sorry, I was a bit vague previously. We are working with all sorts of cakes, chocolate candies (truffles) and pies. By sensory testing I mean that we would like to evaluate different quality properties (visual appearance, taste, smell) of our products.

 

What is the price-range you are looking at?  


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