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Issues with traceability driving me mad!


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#1 shelleyqa

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 10:00 PM

Hi All,

 

I am a QA in a food service (bakery products) factory in the UK.

 

We produce cakes for a high street coffee chain, as well as a few supermarkets etc.

 

We are having the same issues all the time with regards to traceability. 

 

I have a few questions and I'm looking for any or all advice you can offer me!

 

questions-

              1. How do you make employees (especially those responsible for recording information for traceability) care enough to record them correctly? 

              2. Does anyone have an example of a 'team briefing' or some kind of training which can be used? I'm not sure the employees all actually understand that its not just stock control/costing etc. Its a food safety issue which could mean the difference between a huge recall which would affect our staff numbers etc due to the cost, or a small stock return of one batch from our external warehouse facility (costing almost £0 and a minor inconvenience)...

             3. How do I or how could I check and document that all information written on mixing sheets etc is correct during a production run? How do you do it?

 

Here's a description of our process flow and current procedure:

 

     1. GOODS IN- stock either arrives direct from supplier (egg etc which is in smaller batches), or from our offsite warehouse storage facility (used for multiple companies/sites within our food 'group'), regardless of where the stock physically arrives, we get a delivery note on the day it is delivered to 'us' (onsite or off). A GRN (goods received number) is generated in the format of DD-MM-YYYY-#  (where # is the pallet number of each day- IE. if 8 pallets delivered in one day its DD-MM-YYYY-1 up to DD-MM-YYYY-8).

 

     2. Sticky labels are printed out with Item Code (a 5 digit number corresponding to ingredient, for example egg 70027), GRN (IE 24-07-2016-2) and BB or use by date (ie 31-07-2016). They are then stuck to or left on the pallet of goods, and applied (supposed to be anyway!) to each box or bag as its removed from warehouse.

 

    3. Stock is requisitioned by production/mixing dept, a 'Raw Material Movement' document in warehouse is filled in with all info for each ingredient- date/ingredient name/Item Code/amount/GRN/BB date and signed by stores man and whoever is removing the stock.

 

  4. Stock is taken (with its GRN labels for each box or bag) to debox area to be decanted into ingredient tubs and passed over to production/mixing by the 'deboxer' with the corresponding GRN label and info. The deboxer has a raw material movement sheet to document what gets passed to mixers, what is stored in ingredient tubs in debox area, and what is returned to warehouse.

 

    5. When the mixers get their ingredients for each batch made, the recipe document has spaces to record the time of each batch produced, GRN and BB date of each ingredient and blank spaces for instances where more than one GRN of an ingredient is used (I DON'T think they pay enough attention and/or always record or notice a change of GRN.

 

   6. Our con bar line operators also have process control sheets which have the time, batch # used, GRN's and BB dates of raw materials.

 

Does anyone have any advice or suggestions to help have this process done correctly/completely or changes to make it more effective etc?

 

Thanks and sorry for the long post!

 

shelleyqa


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#2 Irishlass105

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 08:38 AM

Morning,

 

You need to make them feel ownership over their role. I think it is that simple. 

 

What I do is train the person and also explain how important this is and explain why it is so important and with failure to complete correctly the implications it would have on the business. Tell them if its temp base controls about how ill it could make people, how much a recall can cost, how all these steps have to be taken after this paperwork isnt completed...

 

I think these process controllers dont sometimes get told enough why they have to do it or literally how important their role is! 

 

I ran a workshop in my factory for FB awareness. We put products down in an area all staff walk through and placed metal, glass, wood and hair in the products asking workers would they eat them? Would you risk it knowing there might be something in that that would hurt you or make you sick which everybody said no, so why let anybody else eat it? You wouldnt believe the positive response we got, how many more issues were picked up during raw material intake checks, how many people informed technical when they found bones in meat, plastic of bin liners in finished product etc..

 

Empower them - it seems to work!!


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#3 GMO

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 09:33 AM

I am doing a lot of work at the moment on behavioural quality / food safety and questions like this really interest me.  I'm currently reading Frank Yiannis Food Safety = behaviour and there are some cracking tips in there.

 

Ultimately understand this, training ticks a box but traditional training doesn't work.  Here is what I would do.

 

Can you make your process simpler?  Get the team involved in looking at this, talk to them.  What are their barriers to doing things right?  What would make it easier?

When you do some training, tell stories, don't give facts and figures.  Talk to them about when traceability has failed and what impact that had, particularly if you can then say "here is a story about one individual who was hurt".  Tricky for traceability but perhaps you could do it for something where "food safety went wrong".  The story of Mason Jones who died from E Coli poisoning always gets me (I have a son).

Get them to commit to some way to do it right.  Now you could think of lots of ways to do this but you could be very cheeky and put it on your training records "I'm committed to ensuring traceability is accurate" then sign below.  Strong words and it can work...

Make sure the areas they're writing paperwork are well lit. 

Make sure your paperwork is easy to understand and read and uses really simple language.

Talk to the people and encourage your team to do the same.  When you're in an area, say hello and go and check how the paperwork is being filled in.  Ask questions and ask for their feedback.

Do quick catch up sessions.  Not briefs, I hate briefs.  Do a 4 minute update on trace in each area.  "What do we do, how do we do it" get people to tell you.  Change it up and keep giving the message in lots of ways. 

Ensure you are giving the team enough time to complete the task so they're not rushing it.  Is there so much going on that even if they have time to fill it in, their mind is buzzing with other things?

 

Ultimately though while I'm a big fan of behavioural techniques and working with people; you will have to set a date whereby action is taken, e.g. disciplinary.  Get their managers on board with that.  I also promise you the first person you have to discipline will be someone you don't want to.  It will not be the persistent offender but the "generally good guy who's made a mistake".  Obviously you don't have to sack them but you do have to follow through.  People ultimately need to understand there are consequences.


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#4 Charles.C

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 02:06 PM

Hi shelley,

 

Appreciate a little more clarification of yr OP.

 

I assume this is essentially a HACCP-driven query.

 

I understand that different locations have different organizational structures but i would personally have expected a large amount  of yr post to be performed by "employees" of  "Productionl" rather than QA ?

 

Do you have a  Production Manager ? If so, is this person included in the HACCP Team ?

 

Is yr system audited, eg with respect to BRC ?


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#5 shelleyqa

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 02:37 PM

Hi shelley,

 

Appreciate a little more clarification of yr OP.

 

I assume this is essentially a HACCP-driven query.

 

I understand that different locations have different organizational structures but i would personally have expected a large amount  of yr post to be performed by "employees" of  "Productionl" rather than QA ?

 

Do you have a  Production Manager ? If so, is this person included in the HACCP Team ?

 

Is yr system audited, eg with respect to BRC ?

Hi Charles,

 

Yes, most of those are all completed by production team, or warehouse etc, I just check that its being completed in full and control the issuing of documents etc.

 

Yes its HACCP driven and the production manager is part of the HACCP team.

 

We were audited by BRC in February and awarded a AA certification.

 

The technical department, including quality are responsible for mass balance and traceability exercises etc.

 

Thanks

Shelley 


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#6 Charles.C

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 04:35 PM

Hi Charles,

 

Yes, most of those are all completed by production team, or warehouse etc, I just check that its being completed in full and control the issuing of documents etc.

 

Yes its HACCP driven and the production manager is part of the HACCP team.

 

We were audited by BRC in February and awarded a AA certification.

 

The technical department, including quality are responsible for mass balance and traceability exercises etc.

 

Thanks

Shelley 

 

Hi Shelley,

 

And is the Production Manager fully on board with the scheme you presented ? - I assume a lot of the sequence you describe only became necessary when BRC certification started up.

 

IMEX BRC caused considerable pushback from Production due such "inconveniences" and the "donation" of free manpower/time to QA but with no obvious return on investment. The solution involved the active presence of Top Management at Management Meetings which was another hurdle. Seeing was believing and thence passing down the buck-chain.


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C





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