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Realistic timescale to gain SQF Certification


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#1 chip

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 07:00 PM

Any members been through the process can share how long it took for the project from start to finish and what did your implementation team look like. If possible I'd like to hear tips and any do's and don'ts from the experienced.

Thank you kindly.
Chip



#2 MM1

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 04:22 AM

Hi,

It will depend on what systems you currently have. I got my SQF certification last year. But we already had HACCP certification and other customer standards certification. We conducted gap analysis and then it was easy to prepare for SQF. It took about 3 months to prepare the system for the desk audit.


MM



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#3 Simon

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 06:57 AM

To expand on MM’s experience we have this question asked regulalry on the forum and the answer is always the same – “It depends”.

If you have mature food safety management systems in place based on HACCP then it is likely you are almost there and will need just to transition and perhaps fill some gaps. If you are at the other end of the scale with no (or few) systems then it will be a big project that will take a lot of resources (time, effort, money), so it depend how much resources senior management are willing to commit; also other factors such as the size and complexity of your organization come into play.

Let us know a bit more about where you’re at and we’ll try to give you an estimate and some guidance.

Welcome to the forums.

Regards,
Simon



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#4 chip

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 06:32 PM

Ah yes, stupid of me. We're a small bakery of 40 employees and have AIB and HACCP established. It needs an overhaul and we are committed to doing that at short notice as one of our larger customers needs us to be GFSI approved and we figured SQF was the way to go. Can you work any better with that?

Chip



#5 esquef

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 08:13 PM

Chip,
Assuming your HACCP plan(s) are solid and you have solid pre-requisite programs in place you could potentially be ready in 3 - 4 months. Have you picked a Certifying Body? The 2 steps I'd recommend you do before you have your audit are:

1) Hire a consultant not associated with the CB you plan on using (this is to prevent a conflict of interest) do a gap analysis on your food safety management system. You can definitely do this yourself, but it is time consuming and if you have a good consultant who's really knowledgeable about SQF it's worth the time in my opinion.

2) When you've closed the gaps either your SQF Practitioner and/or consultant have identified I would really recommend having an auditor from your CB of choice come to your facility to do a Pre-Audit Assessment. He/She can't consult (another conflict of interest) but will do a sped up audit of your facility and FSMS and identify non-conformances.

Address the NC's with your CAPA system (document everything!) and schedule an audit with the same auditor. Since any GFSI audit has such a large scope these audits are really quite subjective, so by having the same person doing the actual desk audit/facility audit that did your pre-assessment you increase your chances of success quite a bit I believe.



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#6 retep

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 03:24 AM

Hello Chip,


I just became Sqf level 2 certified last week. I began this job exactly a year to the date I got certified. I started the program from scratch (the company used the haccp documentation from another site) and it was completely irrelevant to the operation they were doing. It was a long year and little to no resources but I found that if your haccp team is committed (mine wasnt in the beginning) you can make it in under a year. Your current programs seems to be in the right direction so I would say 3-4 months. I would also like to take a second to thank everyone here for their help on the journey to getting certified. From answering dumb questions I had to just having a resource to see that others were stuck in the same place I was. Good lluck chip and definately use this site as a resource.



#7 Charles.C

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 09:48 AM

Dear Chip,

All the preceding posts had good suggestions IMO (esp. the pre-audit) so i will just add from my personal experience.
I only use BRC but i guess the GFSI - FSMS requirements must be mainly equivalent somehow.

If you had said (certified) (HACCP + ISO 9001), I would hv thought 3-4 months definitely possible. AIB not very familiar to me in terms of FSMS "width".

I suspect the time may significantly depend on what you hv to add with respect to the "MS" part and also on the haccp levels of the personnel assisting you. If you already hv a quality manual / organised set of xlinked quality procedures, training / audit stuff running via AIB, I would estimate 4 months as feasible. Otherwise it sounds a bit optimistic to me. IMEX, the organisation of the documentation / involving peripheral aspects like purchasing function / audits are the slog parts, especially if you're on yr own (?).

Regardless, good luck !

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#8 chip

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 08:30 PM

Thanks to the gap documents I picked up on the other topic we're already part ways through the gap self audit.
In a week or so we shoudl have enough data to make an action plan.

Sincere thanks to all for the great advice., you make the process easy. Well at least easier.

Chip






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