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Trouble obtaining all raw material specs and supplier information

supplier management raw materials SQF

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#1 ChocolatesMyGame

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Posted 22 September 2014 - 06:05 PM

I am having A LOT of difficulties obtaining supplier assessments and raw materials specification information from some of our suppliers.  We have 60+ suppliers and a lot of those suppliers are managed through distributors.  The distributors don't seem inclined to aid us in obtaining food safety certification and I can't always contact the supplier directly.  We are a small manufacturing facility so we can't really use the "we won't order from you anymore" ultimatum to get any action.

 

Anyone else have this issue and have some insight on how to get what we need?  Anyone gone through an audit without a complete specification and supplier assessment program and passed?

 

Help please!


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#2 fgjuadi

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Posted 22 September 2014 - 06:26 PM

Our other location is not able to get product specifications (or COAs, or audits, basically anything) from manufacturers if they purchase from distributors.  They only had Letter of Guarantee from distributors. 

 

They just passed SQF lvl 2 with only 1 non conformance, which was totally unrelated to this. 

 

So yes, you totally can pass an audit with flying colors and not have this locked up. Their policy is literally a copy and paste from SQF code.  My guess is the auditor didn't do too much digging or asked for examples of ingredients they did have specs for, or maybe distributor only specs are A-OK for SQF.   

 

I was having similar troubles with distributors, who are used to dealing with restaurants.  I think I detailed that saga in another thread somewhere - but in the end our company  did a lot of "educating" and meetings with management until we got what we needed. 


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#3 Setanta

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Posted 22 September 2014 - 06:38 PM

Badger the heck out of them, shame them with "I have no difficulty getting this from "Brand X-competitor" and then say you need it as part of supplying Wal-Mart, Costco, whomever and it is the wave of the GFSI future.


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#4 Snookie

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Posted 22 September 2014 - 06:43 PM

I agree with above and generally speaking bypass the distributor and go straight to the company, where I generally have better luck getting what I need. 


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#5 RG3

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Posted 22 September 2014 - 10:40 PM

Our other location is not able to get product specifications (or COAs, or audits, basically anything) from manufacturers if they purchase from distributors.  They only had Letter of Guarantee from distributors. 

 

They just passed SQF lvl 2 with only 1 non conformance, which was totally unrelated to this. 

 

So yes, you totally can pass an audit with flying colors and not have this locked up. Their policy is literally a copy and paste from SQF code.  My guess is the auditor didn't do too much digging or asked for examples of ingredients they did have specs for, or maybe distributor only specs are A-OK for SQF.   

 

I was having similar troubles with distributors, who are used to dealing with restaurants.  I think I detailed that saga in another thread somewhere - but in the end our company  did a lot of "educating" and meetings with management until we got what we needed. 

 

On the other hand you can have an auditor as the one that audited one of my facilities for SQF certification. Even though I had all my raw material suppliers with 3rd party certificates and the Certificates of Conformance and Letter of Guarantee's from every packaging supplier...I got dinged under 2.4.5.5 for packaging suppliers..."Inspections for approved suppliers on both raw material product and containers made available for review however not all packaging suppliers 3rd party inspections not made available for review for 2013/2014"

 

This is to say that they need a 3rd party certification or that I have a 2nd party audit done by me.

 

Sooooo it all depends on the auditor.

 

Your best bet is to do what Snookie said, jump over the distributor and ask the manufacturer, again that's procurement not doing their due diligence.


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#6 marnac

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 07:12 PM

I have had some luck with this in the past by working with purchasing and accounts payable.  We held some payments from the suppliers and distributors until we got some action on the paperwork.  Getting purchasing help is very crucial as these are the people that have relationships with some of these companies more directly.


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#7 CaliforniaFS

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 08:04 PM

I make my own specifications for the raw material suppliers based on my supplier approval program. Each specification is different depending on region.

 

For example for a food supplier I would have my specs include a 3rd party FS  Certificate, Spray Records, etc. Some regions have no problem obtaining these specifications, however here in the states our a lot of suppliers are still behind and I will scale it back to Letter of Guarantee and Spray Records etc.

 

For Pest Management supplier I list out a twice a month visit, MSDS Binder, Map with locations etc.

For glove supplier my spec is Latex Free.

 

Hope that is helpful.


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#8 Kelly S

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 01:18 AM

Bypass your distributor and go straight to the manufacturer. I've had to do this and half the time I've had to go hunting online to get the contact info but there's always a way to contact them. 


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#9 Avila

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 07:58 AM

I agree with above and generally speaking bypass the distributor and go straight to the company, where I generally have better luck getting what I need. 

IMEX, not so easy to get directly from manufacturer if we use their products in small quantity. They usually advise us to contact their distributor/agent 


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#10 ChocolatesMyGame

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 01:15 PM

IMEX, not so easy to get directly from manufacturer if we use their products in small quantity. They usually advise us to contact their distributor/agent 

 

 

I have run into this issue where if we don't have the account directly with the manufacturer we can not obtain the specs or information required. 

 

A lot of good ideas on here though from everyone.  Thanks! 


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#11 srose

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Posted 30 September 2014 - 06:52 PM

I agree with contacting the manufacturer directly. Oftentimes they are already generating these reports and are sending them to larger customers so they already have the information.

 

You may also consider implementing a limited raw materials testing progam at your facility to help with the situation. What I did when we had this difficulty was to ask suppliers who were within our zone to train a member of our quality team (about 1 day's training) in the simplier tests for their product so that we could develop our inhouse capabilities. That way we didn't have to pay for the training and we could supplement the COA with our own testing.

 

Do you know any other company or individual who has a good relationship with the quality department of the manufacturer? You could ask them for a direct contact or some assistance.

 

Also, when you speak to the manufacturer, I have found that speaking to the Quality Department Manager/Supervisor directly is better since they are more likely to appreciate your need.

 

It's not easy but don't give up.

 


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#12 Charles.C

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 03:50 AM

Dear All,

 

I appreciate that audits are an immediate problem if no documentation for an ingredient is available.

 

However, from the broader picture POV, just suppose that yr finished product does get involved in a FS incident ?

 

No meaningful documentation means you have absolutely no defence whatsoever.

 

Rgds / Charles.C


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C






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