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#1 DChapman

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 01:08 PM

Good morning to you all, 

 

I am still in my first year of being a quality manager.  Recently, due to growth, I have been tasked with building a QA team.  

I have never built a quality assurance team before, nor has my company ever really had one. 

 

Does anyone have any pointers for me?

 

Thank you, 

Danielle  :smile: 


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#2 brianweber

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 01:51 PM

Good morning! In my opinion you need to find people with thick skin. By nature of the job we are not well liked and put up with a lot. Firm but fair is what you want to find. Depending on your industry I would recommend people that are from the same.similar industry but if it is something that can be trained fairly easily then it certainly opens up the potential list of candidates. Finding honest/ethical people isn't as easy as it once was!  Best of luck!


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Brian


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#3 wrighty

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 02:17 PM

Hi

Realistically you need someone who can read, write, good attention to detail.  Someone who can converse at all levels from shop floor to board room level.  Someone who is not a yes person who is capable of holding their own when it goes tits up and everyone is screaming at you (and they do constantly)  Knowledge of the product is good but that comes in time, common sense cannot be taught though as everything is not black and white, there are various shades of grey which can change and regularly do.

Being part of a Quality team isn't as easy as people think, all they see is people wandering about with a clip board in their hand, if only it was

 

Hope this helps


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#4 Scampi

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 03:09 PM

What roles specifically are they looking to fill/create?

 

You need a monitor who can follow instructions as given, but who understands what questions need to be relayed back to you, and what they can handle on their own.....someone who is intelligent, and quick thinking and can REALLY handle stress well and not fall to pieces.

 

Be very clear about expectations during the interview process so that you can keep turnover to a minimum

 

I would hazard (sorry couldn't resist the pun) a guess that is every member of this board took the same personaility quiz, we would all score more or less the same....we are a special brand of crazy


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#5 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 04:11 PM

Good answers above for what kind of people you want, but I'm thinking you might also want some structure as to what a team and job descriptions might look like?

 

In larger quality teams, I've seen QA broken out into 3 subdivisions that work well. Operations, Compliance and Documentation, and Systems/Inventory.

 

As a fellow 1-man operation looking to expand, my first hire is actually going to be an intern whom I'll pass on many QA "maintenance" tasks like sample preparation, calibration, document control, etc. with some special projects for them to help me with.

 

Moving from a 1 person department to multiple in baby steps, I would bring on these types of positions first as you grow.

 

Document Control and office generalist: this person will help you maintain all your documentation not just in SOP's, but daily verification/review, supplier maintenance, inventory/traceability troubleshooting, etc. It's a moderate pay position and will free up a ton of time on your end. Depending on the available workload, they can also handle product release and systems.

 

Quality control technician/QC assistant/QC Auditor: this person is technical support for QA, helping you perform internal audit activities, lab and equipment maintenance/calibration, and inspecting resolving issues and holds for things happening on the floor.

 

These positions will rely on your regulatory compliance expertise and final management decisions on the programs they're supporting/implementing, but help take some of the "day-to-day" as you move from a primary workload position to a supervisory position. The last person to add will be a higher salary compliance person responsible for much of the regulatory research and maintenance (licensing, etc.) that you're doing right now. But I would add them last due to cost and the available workload for such a position.

 

Also, if you're currently also doing R&D for your company as QA (like many small companies), you may also suggest bringing on a food scientist to perform those tasks to free you up for QA.


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For discussions related to food safety, production, and agriculture. Check out my blog at http://furfarmandfork.com/.

 


#6 Ryan M.

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 10:54 PM

  • Do you have an idea of what positions you are hiring for?  Example, supervisors, lead, QA techs, etc?  
  • If you have a budget to work with and a headcount then think about your department strategy.  What would you envision for the department given the budget and head count?  
  • What would be your specific responsibilities, what would be the responsibilities of the other personnel?
  • Is there much overlap between other departments and their QA activities versus the personnel who would be in your department?  How much of that would be taken back?
  • Who would interact with whom?
  • What specific competencies do you wish to have in a "dream candidate"?  Of those, which ones would be absolutely required.
  • What is the type of person who would fit the culture of the company and the department?

 

All of these questions need to be answered for you to figure out the type of person to hire.  If you have an HR department hopefully they can provide some insight as well.  If you have to do most or all of this yourself then I suggest you look at a few different job boards such as LinkedIn, Careers in Food, IFSQN just started a job board, and your local colleges.  If your company is willing you may want to consult with a search agency or temp company.

 

Personally, after almost 20 years of hiring people for various positions, I still get it wrong sometimes.  However, I find the most important qualities in a candidate are their adaptability, flexibility, and their fit into our team and culture.  If they possess all of those then they have a very good chance.  Most of the technical competencies can be taught or experienced over time.

 

Funny, I'm actually looking to add/hire a QA Supervisor.  Anyone have someone they can recommend? :)


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#7 Andy_Yellows

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 10:56 AM

This is quite an interesting question that I'm sure has got a lot of people thinking. I'll bet this sounds quite obvious but the first thing that springs to mind is having someone who actually cares and takes pride in their work. Anyone QA operative can fudge paperwork and make out everything is perfect for an easy life but it takes somebody who actually WANTS to carry out good practice to be a GOOD QA team member. If you're employing from within then someone who's already widely respected or authoritative throughout the company is advantageous as they'll be asking a lot of people to do things they may never have done before or don't want to do.

 

That's my 2 pence worth thrown in.

 

Andy


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If you all hate Ipswich clap your hands


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#8 Charles.C

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 01:23 PM

Good morning to you all, 

 

I am still in my first year of being a quality manager.  Recently, due to growth, I have been tasked with building a QA team.  

I have never built a quality assurance team before, nor has my company ever really had one. 

 

Does anyone have any pointers for me?

 

Thank you, 

Danielle  :smile: 

 

Hi Danielle,

 

Welcome to the Forum ! :welcome:

 

Based on yr OP i hope you are not currently producing any sensitive finished products.

 

Could you give an idea as to yr food business ? eg Product type, RTE,NRTE ? This might assist relevant answers.


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#9 DChapman

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 01:39 PM

Thank you everyone for your input! 

 

To answer some of the above questions:

 

Our facility and ingredients very low risk.  We produce baked dog treats - no raw meats involved.  

Our only CCP is our bake temp and we continuously baked well over the minimum temperature. 

We run three continuous shifts 5 days a week, with no QC on 2nd and 3rd.  

I had to do some convincing, but finally my superiors agreed there is a need for quality control, especially with the ramping up of our business. 

 

Thankfully 99% of our team members are very dedicated and want to do the right thing.  

I believe I have all of my QA tech team members figured out.  Not sure how the best way is to train them since English is a second language for all of them and my Spanish is minimal. 

I have created some simple documents to assist them in learning what to look for and to also help verify what is actually happening on the floors.  

How quickly should I transition some of my other duties from my lap to theirs?  

I would like to see all three shifts go live with their QA tech at the same time, but as I prepare their training, i am wondering if that is even possible....?

 

Thank you again, 

Danielle 


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#10 Andy_Yellows

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 01:44 PM

Low risk food and one CCP? Your place sounds great, sign me up!


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#11 Scampi

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 02:02 PM

all 3 live at once may be a bit more than anyone can handle, who would assist the 2 shifts with immediate concerns when your not there? You can't expect to be available 24 hours a day!

I would suggest you allow them to make mistakes with the tasks they have been assigned before adding to the workload. I'm sure you are eager and ready to move some of the weight off your shoulders but it may bounce back at you in the beginning if you pass off too much too soon


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#12 Charles.C

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 02:44 PM

Hi Danielle,

 

Tks for the details.  "Low risk" can be a subjective terminology, even for petfood. :smile:  (think peanuts)

 

From analogous language experiences, you may need to increase yr Spanish skills.

 

I deduce you do not have any particular (F)S Standards currently in mind?. That would presumably be an initial decision to make from a future POV/QA team. (I hv no experience in dog treats so unsure of relevance from a commercial POV).

 

If no particulat hacccp target, presumably yr main focus will be on "GMP" from a hygiene POV.

 

Do yr Spanish-speaking colleagues possess any technical background at all ? This presumably controls the level of QA you can impart/any potential for recruitment into a QA team. From (long) memory bi-lingual (En-Sp) QA/HACCP documentation exists but posssibly for your workers in another "dimension" from a practical POV ?.

 

JFI, I think one of the occasional (free) webinar-givers on this forum has worked in petfood for many years and published several haccp papers for this subject (I hv previously utilised his iso22000 documents).


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#13 Charles.C

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 03:14 PM

addendum

 

"Quality" in the OP is slightly non-specific, I have assumed you were referring to safety-related aspects only..


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#14 ctzinck

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 08:07 PM

Had to share this, last year while interviewing people for a QA job we asked if they knew excel.

 

applicant replied "who"

 

we replied "excel"

 

applicant "oh yeah, I know her, aint seen her in years tho..."


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