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Continuous Improvement, What? and How far?


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#1 it_rains_inside

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 01:49 PM

So if anything, Im just throwing this out there to see what others are / are not doing, and how they are doing it.

 

Our company has been established for sometime (we've been in continuous production since the mid 80's), but we've only been GFSI certified for the last 5/6 years. And only very VERY recently have made a full-time position for Quality Systems (Me!) That was about 1 1/2 years ago. Someone to solely focus on quality systems, maintaining and updating to current standards.

 

I've found that in digging into just about everything, that I've had opportunities to better our QS. So I've tweeked some programs, and made major changes to others. (For awhile, we were talking the talk, and not so much walking the walk - you know how that goes...but I think we are around the bend on that now)

 

Anyway,

 

I've heard that a good measure of continuous improvement is to monitor or track these intangible quality system updating activities.

How much time / money has been spent fixing a program - shows commitment, and in a very quantifiable way.

Documenting before and after figures like holds, or customer complaints shows involvement, and understanding, again in a very quantifiable way.

 

But what else should be done with these projects, if anything at all?!

 

Most of these projects are my day to day work, but at the same time I feel like I should be trending my work, and essentially validating my position with the company (not that it is needed), for the sake of documenting continuous improvement.

 

And if that is the case, should I be opening Corrective Actions on how the programs that were so far off mark in the first place? That seems like the logical place to start, (but if an auditor were to come across a major program gap through a corrective action,  it seems like a dangerous place to go)

 

Like I said, just curious to see how others are communicating continuous improvement, whether it be to internal managers or to auditors / customers, and how much they are analyzing what they are changing. 

 

Thanks in advance,

IRI

 

 


Edited by it_rains_inside, 27 January 2015 - 01:51 PM.

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#2 RG3

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 06:55 PM

Hi I_R_I,

 

   A good way to get this done is by using your daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly GMP audits whatever it may be AND your annual review of your systems and use the RCA and CARs as proof of continuous improvement. Another continuous improvement would be your audits from a GFSI/regulatory/2nd party/3rd party along with the CARs. Any physical changes you make to your processing such as a new floor, putting caulking where there was a hole for possible pest prevention, heck your pest control reports and the actions you do to attack that. Maybe you get quality reports from your chemical supplier that audit your sanitation team. I'd take some before and after pictures as proof along with dollar signs behind it. I put it all together on a PowerPoint presentation for the auditor in the beginning of our audit to show that we are commitment to continuous improvement that would be able to see visually rather than just hear it. Just a few thoughts.


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#3 straliatto

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 05:04 PM

I completely agree with Grade, some of the things he mentioned are preventive actions but that is not so important. The point is you can do the improvement trough corrective and preventive actions and it is a good way to record the improvements.
 
I work as an auditor and I often have doubts what to do when organization haven't issued single corrective and preventive action for years, because without improvement you don't have QMS. 
 
Regards


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#4 cazyncymru

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 05:17 PM

As well as utilising such things as GMP audits, Corrective actions & preventative actions, I also look at the outcomes from my internal audits, statutory audits & third party audits.

 

I collate all of these into a RAG report. I can then trend against the non-conformances that crop up time & time again. This way then we can look at what needs to be prioritised, what are the easy fixes, what are the stupid "that never should have happened" NC, and those that are long term fixes. I don't think a CI plan has to be for something "physical"; it can be document based. The one I have at the moment is around training matrices and records. we are investing on a clocking system that allows us to populate with information regarding training, sickness and will flag when a person needs refresher training etc.

 

We probably all subconsciously are implementing CI, but the auditors like to see evidence on how you address it.

 

Caz x


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#5 Amber McCreary

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 09:23 PM

Hi I_R_I,

 

   A good way to get this done is by using your daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly GMP audits whatever it may be AND your annual review of your systems and use the RCA and CARs as proof of continuous improvement. Another continuous improvement would be your audits from a GFSI/regulatory/2nd party/3rd party along with the CARs. Any physical changes you make to your processing such as a new floor, putting caulking where there was a hole for possible pest prevention, heck your pest control reports and the actions you do to attack that. Maybe you get quality reports from your chemical supplier that audit your sanitation team. I'd take some before and after pictures as proof along with dollar signs behind it. I put it all together on a PowerPoint presentation for the auditor in the beginning of our audit to show that we are commitment to continuous improvement that would be able to see visually rather than just hear it. Just a few thoughts.

I agree completely with what was said here.  Your day to day task would be a nightmare to track and tend.  You are better utilized elsewhere in that regard.  I also like the idea of tracking CONQ, Trends (defects, pest, line hygiene, etc) and Customer Complaints as a form of validation for your efforts.  If those are improving you will easily be able to show continuous improve.  Also from my experience the auditors like to see "investments" and "upgrades".....equipment, staff, servicing, etc.  They want to see the company is putting "funds" towards the process and in that case receipts will suffice.

 

Cheers and good luck with your new role.

 

Amber


Edited by Amber McCreary, 18 February 2015 - 03:07 PM.

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#6 fgjuadi

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 10:35 PM

We keep "Change Management" Documents and also a matrix of changes made.   If we install new equipment, or implement a new program, all of the department managers sign off that they approve the new policy, we add it to the change management matrix.   It's what I show auditors when they ask for improvement, along with making sure each department voices their concerns *before* we implement something new.  

I also use this when the auditor gets to the "Your process is very manual" part, because every standard I've worked with has a clause that asks you to eliminate manual steps, or hand to product contact.


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#7 RG3

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 12:36 AM

We keep "Change Management" Documents and also a matrix of changes made.   If we install new equipment, or implement a new program, all of the department managers sign off that they approve the new policy, we add it to the change management matrix.   It's what I show auditors when they ask for improvement, along with making sure each department voices their concerns *before* we implement something new.  

I also use this when the auditor gets to the "Your process is very manual" part, because every standard I've worked with has a clause that asks you to eliminate manual steps, or hand to product contact.

 

BOM Audits are always a good thing if done properly.


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#8 Mohammed Ashmawy

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 08:07 AM

thanks


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#9 it_rains_inside

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 01:47 PM

We keep "Change Management" Documents and also a matrix of changes made.   If we install new equipment, or implement a new program, all of the department managers sign off that they approve the new policy, we add it to the change management matrix.   It's what I show auditors when they ask for improvement, along with making sure each department voices their concerns *before* we implement something new.  

I also use this when the auditor gets to the "Your process is very manual" part, because every standard I've worked with has a clause that asks you to eliminate manual steps, or hand to product contact.

 

I didn't realize Dolly Parton was in the food industry, LOL!

 

Thanks bunches MM for sharing your Change log- that is a great idea! Everyone has been super helpful, but Im thinking maybe my original request was somewhat unclear. 

 

An example may better suit my intention. Supplier Management Program. After an audit of the program (against BRC Standards) I found that we weren't necessarily falling short, I mean, we met the intention of the standard (barely) but there was a lot of opportunity to clean the program up and make it more user friendly, and streamline data so that we could actually use it (and not just collect it). So I revised some forms, set up a calendar, redefined requirements and pulled it all together into a nice frilly binder, so that when auditors bring up "Supplier Management" we're no longer crossing our fingers hoping that all ingredient suppliers are in there, or that all the forms are current, etc. This project was about a month's worth of work. To me, this demonstrates part of the CI "initiative" so to speak. We had a program that was good enough, but it could be better, so we made it better. There was a lot of effort/ resources that went into this and it's changed the focus of the program from, yes we have it, to yes we have it and utilize the information that it provides. 

 

During our quarterly KPI review, it's these quality system updating activities (along with KPIs) that I'd like to share with senior management. It shows them how we are growing, but often raises the question, why did we fix it in the first place if it was "good enough"? Or how have we got along in the past if it was so unmanageable? 

And to share these updates with an external auditor as evidence of continuous improvement, it's almost like saying "When you were here to audit us last year, we showed you what you wanted to see so that we didn't get a NC, but NOW we've actually fixed the program so feel free to poke around, because now it is where it should have been all along" <- scary. 

I'm worried that highlighting a gap like that would really alarm an auditor ( I know I'd be thinking - How did this past last time if so much work was done to fix it? Luck???)  <- maybe!!

 

So as far as evidence, like Caz said, "we probably all are subconsciously implementing CI, but the auditors like to see evidence on how you address it" What if the evidence highlights something you aren't so proud to share? I sure am proud of where it is now, but how do you justify what it was before? 


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                                -Wayne W. Dyer

 


#10 fgjuadi

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 07:22 AM

Ahh, I like "During the course of the year, we found some gaps, so we did an overhaul of the program".  They know they don't see everything. Or even better - "We did a deep dive audit and found some gaps" or "We had a functional program, but it wasn't as robust s this new awesome one that works way better"


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#11 Simon

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 04:09 PM

Some games to involve and educate operators which could enhance your improvement program.

 

Source: http://nationalquali....cfm/5918/13236

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Simon Timperley
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