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Posted 05 September 2013 - 05:11 PM

How long would you estimate it takes to draft procedures for a SQF program for a minimally processed facility. 


Owners want an estimation- time frame.  




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Posted 05 September 2013 - 06:28 PM

Depending on who is drating it. From absolute scratch with no previous knowledge, impossible or a very lengthy time depending on which food sector and which level of SQF. If you have previously drafted a manual and have a thorough knowledge of the requirements the code sets forth, then I think a month or 2 should be enough.

Again, totally depends on which food sector, what type of food, etc


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Posted 05 September 2013 - 08:48 PM

As jaySTARR noted it is really based on how much of the foundation you already have in place, (HACCP, Prereq. programs, etc) and the process/product you are making.  When we went for SQF certification, although we had a HACCP program and SOP's in place, we were deficient in documenting what we did.  We did it, we just weren't taking credit for it, and as you may be aware, SQF, as well as any modern safety system, is heavy on documentation.  I would give yourself a year minimal to get it all organized.  Before you fall over, keep in mind I have no idea of how far along on the path you are, but if you have to give the bosses a timeline, it is better to give yourself more time than necessary than make too narrow of a deadline that once you begin you find there is no way you are going to make it. Adn make sure you have plenty of help and support.  SQF is not a program that one person can build and hand to the company and say "Here you are, all done".  You will have to have sincere management support and commitment and get buy-in from the employees.  Try not to re-invent the wheel, but have the employees help you create the SOP's and forms you will need, afterall when it is all done, they will be the ones using them.  But yes, I would say it is not unreasonable to expect to take a year to get it all lined out.  


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Posted 10 September 2013 - 05:23 PM

How long would you estimate it takes to draft procedures for a SQF program for a minimally processed facility. 


Owners want an estimation- time frame.  






Our SQF Implementation Packages accelerate this process. The time will depend on the amount of resource put in, for one person at least 6 months, less than half of that with one of our implementation packages which are also provided with free support until you are certified.






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Posted 13 September 2013 - 11:37 AM

I came into my organization in May. There was already basic pre-requisite programs, HACCP plan, and Food Safety manual in place. It still took 3-4 months (just completed stage 1 audit) to get everything in order and ready for the audit. FYI -- use the guidance documents on the SQFI website, they are a lifesaver!


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Posted 14 September 2013 - 12:37 AM

Dear MFSC,


As you can see, it depends on the situation ? eg Money, Senior Management Committment, Resources some of the typical Biggies.


Many people, unless you are already in a favorable (eg near audit-capable) situation, will advise to get help, eg training, a consultant.


Most QA people will underestimate the time to "pass" an audit. No owners will overestimate.


Any more input ?


Rgds / Charles.C

Kind Regards,





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Posted 14 September 2013 - 05:55 AM

It's an interesting question that comes up a lot and we always cover it normally on the front end before we even start a consulting engagement for our first of four steps (normally 4 parts but not always) with a new SQF client. We have found an interesting set of averages (well, interesting to me anyway).


SQF some years back made a statement (I don't think it was ever really published anywhere) during a training or conference that it takes about 1050 hours for one person working full time to develop an SQF Level II documentation system... with one catch - that takes into account that the company has a decent FSMS/HACCP plan already that could easily pass something like a Costco 3rd party audit. 


So, the 1050 hours is for the SQF development only and guess what? That's about what we see many times, it breaks down to one person working 50 full time hours a week for 21 weeks, or about 5-6 months.


We have found with our clients that build their own systems with our remote services that time can be brought down to about half that and if we build it with them on-site it goes down to about 30-40 days.


With that said however, SQF would like you at minimum to do a 2-3 month implementation period (what we call the shake down to make sure everything is running way it should, training is moving along, etc). We actually want our clients to have a 3-4 month minimum (if possible) implementation period prior to run-up to the audits.


So, that's with a system in place already that can pass a 3rd party audit.


Now, if the FSMS foundation that you need to develop (or build) your SQF system on top of is lacking there could easily be another 2-3 months to get bricks and mortar in first.


That's a situation that we have with a couple of our clients right now, in that their foundations were shaky, so that's where we start with them first, get that part up and running on a web-based FSMS system and then develop the SQF system, get the facility in good shape, make sure all the "little" things are running right during implementation, do the training, and then do a final review on everything (like we are about to do with clients in Florida and North Carolina) just prior to the audit series.


Minimum I've seen was 3 months, longest was 16 months and average is 6-12 months - our average off-site develop takes 30-45 days, but you still have to add implementation time and frankly, trying to put together these systems too fast can really mess you up.


So, take your time - use some helpers if you feel the need to put it all together well, have your registered consultant contact your customers on your behalf - we do this a lot and it always works out just fine.

Kind regards,
Glenn Oster
GOC GROUP | SQF, BRC & IFS System Development & Implementation Consultant
Foreign Currency Consulting | eConsultant | Internal Auditor Training | Compliance Review

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