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#1 nitchicsqf

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 02:07 PM

Being new to this process, at times I find myself getting lost and slightly distracted throughout the creating and implementing all of the required documents. For example, I am currently working on our "Complaint Management" and making sure that all SQF criteria are being met, while having to juggle the needs of Quality Assurance. I find myself having to move on to the next System Element, without completely fulfilling the previous task, then having to go back and pick up where I left off. Having your expertise in this area, is there some advise or direction you can that you can provide me with? Is there a particular order that the System Elements could be completed in to make things flow more smoothly?
 
Your guidance and thorough explanation is much appreciated

 



#2 SQFconsultant

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 11:59 PM

Most folks I know that decide to handle the development on their own get a copy of the checklist from SQFI website and also download a copy of the code manual - you start from the beginning and keep working forward, they don't leave #1 undone before going onto #2, it's the best way I've seen - for us, when we do developments we work on sections, but in effect much of what we do is done in the same process it's just that we can do it a whole lot quicker because that is what we do almost all the time. Start at the beginning and keep moving forward. Even better assemble a team and each member or sub-set of team members work on a task.


Edited by GOC, 15 May 2013 - 12:00 AM.

Kind regards,
Glenn Oster
 
GOC Group | +1.800.793.7042 | Serving the Food, Food Packaging & Food Storage Industries
SQF and Non-SQF Development, Implementation & Certification Consultants | China Alternate Sourcing Consultants
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http://www.GlennOsterConsulting.com  


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#3 nitchicsqf

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 01:08 PM

Most folks I know that decide to handle the development on their own get a copy of the checklist from SQFI website and also download a copy of the code manual - you start from the beginning and keep working forward, they don't leave #1 undone before going onto #2, it's the best way I've seen - for us, when we do developments we work on sections, but in effect much of what we do is done in the same process it's just that we can do it a whole lot quicker because that is what we do almost all the time. Start at the beginning and keep moving forward. Even better assemble a team and each member or sub-set of team members work on a task.

 Thank you GOC... I have to work on the concept of not moving forward until one task is done. This journey to achieving our first-year SQF certification has been interesting (to say the least). I just have to keep striving until I find my groove. Oh the joys of SQF :headhurts:



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#4 jenky

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 01:15 PM

The best place to start is with a gap assessment.  Review your current system, processes and procedures. Where do you not meet the code? What do you need to do get there?  From there, you can prioritize what tasks to work on first and to whom you delegate to (if you have team that help).  Like Glenn says if you are doing the development of the SQF system yourself, you definitely need to download the checklist and guidance documents for SQFI.  However, having recently gone through this process I can say that you do not need to complete the system elements in order.  Rather work on them in a way that makes sense to you and your operations.   For me, our recall, food defense, and business continuity processes all tied together so it made sense to work on the development of those procedures together.   

 

One last tip - it's easy to get distracted by the daily tasks of the day, and then the end of the day comes and you have not accomplished anything on SQF that you set out to do that day.  My recommendation, set aside a block of time (an hour or two) and turn off the phone, email, and close the door so that you can work uninterrupted. 



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#5 nitchicsqf

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 07:47 PM

The best place to start is with a gap assessment.  Review your current system, processes and procedures. Where do you not meet the code? What do you need to do get there?  From there, you can prioritize what tasks to work on first and to whom you delegate to (if you have team that help).  Like Glenn says if you are doing the development of the SQF system yourself, you definitely need to download the checklist and guidance documents for SQFI.  However, having recently gone through this process I can say that you do not need to complete the system elements in order.  Rather work on them in a way that makes sense to you and your operations.   For me, our recall, food defense, and business continuity processes all tied together so it made sense to work on the development of those procedures together.   

 

One last tip - it's easy to get distracted by the daily tasks of the day, and then the end of the day comes and you have not accomplished anything on SQF that you set out to do that day.  My recommendation, set aside a block of time (an hour or two) and turn off the phone, email, and close the door so that you can work uninterrupted. 

Jennifer B, Thank you very much for the sound advice. Because we are a small company (~25 employees), I have the opportunity of working with Senior Management on a daily basis. It's a great feeling to have that immediate help and assistance on hand, however, I find that I am in charge of creating and implementing all required documents. I am honored to have been charged with this task, but because this is an arena that I am not familiar with (having recently been promoted to QA Manager/SQF practitioner within the past few months), I have no experience to guide me through this process. Senior Management was very gracious in purchasing an online package of SQF Food Safety Management System Templates, which has been instrumental. I'm curious to ask if anyone has purchased and used templates, and how much customizing was needed?



#6 esquef

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 09:05 PM

When I started my job the company had a "canned" SQF system. It was a help, but very non-specific to the company. Think of it as a starting point. You need a lot of tools putting a GFSI compliant food safety management system. With SQF you'll need the code (of course), the guidance docs added in the past couple of weeks, the audit checklist (all of this is under the Documents tab om the SQFI homepage).

 

Then you'll need to compare what  code SQF says you must be doing in the code to what your company is actually doing. If your company is doing some (or not doing something) that make that item non-compliant you'll need to make sure that change is affected to make it compliant. With a template system that'll mean serious editing. Just keep in mind that you should make your policies and procedures as simple as possible while still being compliant.

 

Just work your way through the modules, one element at a time. Persistance is a must; a lot of change will likely be necessary, and compliant documentation is at the top of the list. You'll mantra to the people in your company (particularly upper management) will be "if it isn't written down it didn't happen".

 

There's much more I could say, but I have to get out of here and pick up the kiddies.

 

Good Luck,

esquef



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#7 imadoughguy

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 06:24 PM

 

Being new to this process, at times I find myself getting lost and slightly distracted throughout the creating and implementing all of the required documents. For example, I am currently working on our "Complaint Management" and making sure that all SQF criteria are being met, while having to juggle the needs of Quality Assurance. I find myself having to move on to the next System Element, without completely fulfilling the previous task, then having to go back and pick up where I left off. Having your expertise in this area, is there some advise or direction you can that you can provide me with? Is there a particular order that the System Elements could be completed in to make things flow more smoothly?
 
Your guidance and thorough explanation is much appreciated

 

 

Jennifer B, Thank you very much for the sound advice. Because we are a small company (~25 employees), I have the opportunity of working with Senior Management on a daily basis. It's a great feeling to have that immediate help and assistance on hand, however, I find that I am in charge of creating and implementing all required documents. I am honored to have been charged with this task, but because this is an arena that I am not familiar with (having recently been promoted to QA Manager/SQF practitioner within the past few months), I have no experience to guide me through this process. Senior Management was very gracious in purchasing an online package of SQF Food Safety Management System Templates, which has been instrumental. I'm curious to ask if anyone has purchased and used templates, and how much customizing was needed?

 

I purchased the SQF Implementation software from isfqn a couple months ago and find it is very helpful with templates and a strategy for achieving SQF certification.

Getting all Management involved from the beginning is critical.  We have an SQF Sr Management meeting weekly for about one hour.  Showing everyone the complexity of SQF certification has gone a long ways towards convincing the money folks to fund our efforts.:-)

 

We have always been AIB Superior, in January I was instructed by the ownership group "Get us SQF by end of 2013"... now they say "hopefully in 2014".

 

Be glad to offer more insight if you like,

Phil



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#8 Charles.C

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 04:03 PM

Dear nitchicsqf,

 

As far as I can see, you omitted to inform what yr technical background / experience / actually is. ? (i deduce very limited?)

Similarly with respect to product / process / current company status regarding any FSMS capabilities ? (I  again deduce, for last item, very limited?)

 

If by "new to this process" you meant no familiarity  with, for example,  haccp, i suggest you rapidly get assistance via some sort of seminar / course / consultant. (will ultimately be obligatory anyway, at some level, for most standards I think). And even more so if yr product is "sensitive", eg RTE

 

Every FS standard being discussed in this forum, I think, although generically FSMS has certain specific characteristics of its own. IMEX, competent assistance to that standard will smooth yr journey no end.

 

Rgds / Charles.C

 

PS - just noticed you mentioned purchasing of templates etc. May / should help but IMO unlikely to be a substitute for basic lack of understanding the topic content as discussed above.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#9 nitchicsqf

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 04:20 PM

Dear nitchicsqf,

 

As far as I can see, you omitted to inform what yr technical background / experience / actually is. ? (i deduce very limited?)

Similarly with respect to product / process / current company status regarding any FSMS capabilities ? (I  again deduce, for last item, very limited?)

 

If by "new to this process" you meant no familiarity  with, for example,  haccp, i suggest you rapidly get assistance via some sort of seminar / course / consultant. (will ultimately be obligatory anyway, at some level, for most standards I think). And even more so if yr product is "sensitive", eg RTE

 

Every FS standard being discussed in this forum, I think, although generically FSMS has certain specific characteristics of its own. IMEX, competent assistance to that standard will smooth yr journey no end.

 

Rgds / Charles.C

 

PS - just noticed you mentioned purchasing of templates etc. May / should help but IMO unlikely to be a substitute for basic lack of understanding the topic content as discussed above.

 

Charles,

 

I have a Biology degree. I have served as a lab tech at my current company for the past 2 years. I performed my job well, hence the given this opportunity, however my experience with SQF only dates back to the end of last year when I attended a HACCP certification course and an Implementing SQF systems workshop. This experience really opened my eyes to a new arena, having no prior knowledge of SQF. I have been somewhat fast tracked into implementing the SQF code, but as you said, templates are not a substitute for lack of understanding and experience. I'm finding myself learning through trial and error.  :helpplease:

I purchased the SQF Implementation software from isfqn a couple months ago and find it is very helpful with templates and a strategy for achieving SQF certification.

Getting all Management involved from the beginning is critical.  We have an SQF Sr Management meeting weekly for about one hour.  Showing everyone the complexity of SQF certification has gone a long ways towards convincing the money folks to fund our efforts.:-)

 

We have always been AIB Superior, in January I was instructed by the ownership group "Get us SQF by end of 2013"... now they say "hopefully in 2014".

 

Be glad to offer more insight if you like,

Phil

Thanks Phil. We have Management commitment, however I'm finding myself creating and implementing all documents (minus Management Commitment) by myself with the assistance of templates. Any insight on a starting point will would be great.

 

When I started my job the company had a "canned" SQF system. It was a help, but very non-specific to the company. Think of it as a starting point. You need a lot of tools putting a GFSI compliant food safety management system. With SQF you'll need the code (of course), the guidance docs added in the past couple of weeks, the audit checklist (all of this is under the Documents tab om the SQFI homepage).

 

Then you'll need to compare what  code SQF says you must be doing in the code to what your company is actually doing. If your company is doing some (or not doing something) that make that item non-compliant you'll need to make sure that change is affected to make it compliant. With a template system that'll mean serious editing. Just keep in mind that you should make your policies and procedures as simple as possible while still being compliant.

 

Just work your way through the modules, one element at a time. Persistance is a must; a lot of change will likely be necessary, and compliant documentation is at the top of the list. You'll mantra to the people in your company (particularly upper management) will be "if it isn't written down it didn't happen".

 

There's much more I could say, but I have to get out of here and pick up the kiddies.

 

Good Luck,

esquef

Thanks esquef for the guidance. I'm working on complaint management at the moment. Does anyone have any insight on complaint trending/analysis. Is anyone familiar with a complaint analyzing structure or tool?



#10 Mr. Incognito

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 07:38 PM

I worked at a non-sqf pasta plant before where i am now where the quality lab tracked all of the complaints in an excel spreadsheet that way you could see quickly how many complaints you've had on a certain issue in a given month or year.

 

When you institute a corrective action you will have to look back, after your lag time for complaints, to see how your corrective action affected the complaint.

 

For example let's say you are getting complaints for burnt pasta at a rate of 10 a month and is your highest complaint issue.  You find that the pasta is getting stuck in certain places in the drying sections so you have maintenance correct the problem.  Lag time on your pasta complaints is about 5 months (give or take) so after 4 months you will want to start looking at the complaints closely to see how the change may have affected your amount of complaints.

 

For the full analysis you could institute a fish bone diagram system from 6σ which helps to try to find the main possible causes of an issue.  You can have a quality team, like a HACCP team that is a cross-functional group of employees, to look into these issues and try to figure it out or have a management team that looks into them.


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#11 Tomato Country Girl

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 03:47 PM

The best place to start is with a gap assessment.  Review your current system, processes and procedures. Where do you not meet the code? What do you need to do get there?  From there, you can prioritize what tasks to work on first and to whom you delegate to (if you have team that help).  Like Glenn says if you are doing the development of the SQF system yourself, you definitely need to download the checklist and guidance documents for SQFI.  However, having recently gone through this process I can say that you do not need to complete the system elements in order.  Rather work on them in a way that makes sense to you and your operations.   For me, our recall, food defense, and business continuity processes all tied together so it made sense to work on the development of those procedures together.   

 

One last tip - it's easy to get distracted by the daily tasks of the day, and then the end of the day comes and you have not accomplished anything on SQF that you set out to do that day.  My recommendation, set aside a block of time (an hour or two) and turn off the phone, email, and close the door so that you can work uninterrupted. 

I agree you just have to force yourself to make the time to do SQF or you will constantly be battling the clock.



#12 nitchicsqf

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 04:04 PM

Thanks to all of you for you input and guidance. On last week we had our annual audit from one of our buyers (the one that's pushing for us to become SQF certified), and while we still have a little ways to go, the auditor was pleased with our progression. She read over the policies and procedures that I had developed and was pleased with them. It definitely felt good and reassuring to hear positive feed back that we're going in the right direction.  Now, it's time for me to buckle down and shift this thing into another gear.






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