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Cost of hiring someone to write SQF Food Safety Management System?


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#1 MmeMuffin

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 08:44 PM

Sorry if this is in the wrong place or has been addressed elsewhere. I did a search, though it was brief, and didn't find what I was looking for.

I know these costs will vary widely, but does anyone have an estimate of what it would cost to hire someone to write a food safety management system that is SQF compliant? I'm talking completely from scratch, sitting down with the owners and developing a HACCP plan, then all the supporting SQF documents in a facility that previously had little to no documentation. I attended an "implementing SQF" course that used the number $40,000 (USD).  Is this accurate?

My reasons for asking are primarily personal-- I'd like to present this at a budget meeting, but also so I know my worth ($ wise). 

Thanks in advance!



#2 Charles.C

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 09:15 PM

Sorry if this is in the wrong place or has been addressed elsewhere. I did a search, though it was brief, and didn't find what I was looking for.

I know these costs will vary widely, but does anyone have an estimate of what it would cost to hire someone to write a food safety management system that is SQF compliant? I'm talking completely from scratch, sitting down with the owners and developing a HACCP plan, then all the supporting SQF documents in a facility that previously had little to no documentation. I attended an "implementing SQF" course that used the number $40,000 (USD).  Is this accurate?

My reasons for asking are primarily personal-- I'd like to present this at a budget meeting, but also so I know my worth ($ wise). 

Thanks in advance!

 

Dear Mel.D,

 

Writing and Implementing are rather different things IMO. What is the actual requirement ?

 

I would imagine a little more data might be requested, eg -

 

One facility ?

 

One product ? = ?

 

Process = ?

 

Quantity = ?

 

Location = ?

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 Simon

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 10:15 PM

It also depends on your starting point from a documentation and importantly the plant, equipment, tools, processes you have in place to deliver what is written on paper.  If you only need the documentation to meet SQF requirements then $40,000 is a ridiculously high amount...you can purchase an off-the-shelf template package with technical support from right here at the IFSQN for a fraction of the cost.  Don't be duped by smoke and mirrors and snake oil salesmen.


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#4 MmeMuffin

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 10:52 PM

Dear Mel.D,

 

Writing and Implementing are rather different things IMO. What is the actual requirement ?

 

I would imagine a little more data might be requested, eg -

 

One facility ?

 

One product ? = ?

 

Process = ?

 

Quantity = ?

 

Location = ?

 

Rgds / Charles.C

One facility, 13 products, about 8 unique processes (grain cleaning, various milling procedures, mixing, and packaging). We are very small and have about 3 plant workers and 2 full time office workers.. but are in several large country-wide and local distributors, send about a ton of product to various manufacturers a week, plus our individual retail internet sales. We also do several freight cars full of passover supervised flour each year (this international market is a large driving force to begin the certification process).

When I started this project, we hardly had any documentation AT ALL. The only things tracked were production numbers.
We did not have a valid HACCP plan (the one I was given was one page long). We had no SOPs, no approved supplier program, no GMPS or training for new hires other than sticking them on the machinery and teaching them how to operate it (but nothing in regards to safety). No sanitation, no personal hygiene statement, .... truly building all of this from the ground up. Some of it the managers had taken into consideration (general awareness of things that needed to be done, but no schedule or verification process), but no documentation was existing...

So I've been picking brains to learn all of the ins and outs of the plant... writing SOPs, coming up with training requirements and schedules, developing programs where there were none and writing (/filling in the templates :happydance: ) all the required documents to support our new SQF/ FSMS manual, which I am still only about half way through.  

As a side note: a huge limiting factor for us is cost-- it's been hard for me to balance writing what we SHOULD do versus what is actually feasible, because we are so far removed from what an SQF auditor will expect that it will take us some time to finance all the small changes that need to occur in order to get us there.  Right now I'm aiming for what is reasonable considering our current situation, and then we will enter the GAP audit phase (I don't see the point in doing it when there are so many OBVIOUS things that are missing that I can fix upfront)

I didn't know if maybe someone knew how much a daily rate for an SQF consultant would be? I just thought this would be interesting to present in a meeting coming up, as this will be my first chance to speak with a lot of partners of the company who aren't involved in the day to day operation. They know I am working on this task, but I don't think they realize the enormity of it... and I am truly hoping to show that I AM saving the company money in some way despite some rather large purchases we will be making in the near future in order to support the FSMS

(my plant manager flinched when I asked her to order more hair nets and a dispenser so that we can have them easily accessible-- I figured since nobody had been required to wear them before, the easiest way to help people remember would be to put it right in front of their noses when they're entering the production area .. it'd be nice if the money saved by not hiring an outside consultant would at least balance out purchases like this! :P ) 


Edited by Mel.D, 19 January 2015 - 10:54 PM.


#5 MmeMuffin

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 11:01 PM

Is it possible she meant that would be the cost to hire someone who is SQF certified to work with the company and maintain the food safety system? (adding another employee?)


Edited by Mel.D, 19 January 2015 - 11:02 PM.


#6 Charles.C

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 06:33 AM

Dear Mel.D,

 

Thks for the extended information.

 

I only have text-book familiarity with milling processes but I am having some difficulty in envisaging a flow chart of the (2-person) operation you describe. Sounds like either a very simple process  or non-simple but highly automated. And the QA/HACCP team (1 member ?). Either way, difficult to match with yr general product/process comments.

 

As per Simon’s post, the typical cost range of a comprehensive package of SQF-compliant documentation (and from memory in IFSQN’s case also including substantive advice) is not really in the ball-park you mention, although IMEX the typical charges are still considered extortionate by many unenlightened Top Managements. Such a package might well fit yr actual requirements though.

 

I suspect that something different to a one-off documentation exercise was envisaged in the SQF course you mentioned. Maybe a time-based contract for a 100% on-demand, Practitioner ? Not a SQF user myself  but IMEX  such consultant services are rarely offered cheap. Other (SQF) people here may recognize the likely SQF activity you are referring to ?.

 

Many of us here including myself  had to more or less self-design / implement  FSMSs  from the ground up so can empathize with the slog you are currently experiencing. As I have occasionally heard, for the Company’s bottom line, QA is an undesired 8th Wonder of the World. :smile:

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#7 Simon

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 06:40 AM

Is it possible she meant that would be the cost to hire someone who is SQF certified to work with the company and maintain the food safety system? (adding another employee?)

 

It could be Mel, or it could be that they were giving a worst case scenario cost for a consultant.  Yes consultants can charge anywhere between $500-$1,000 per day; so if you were on a tight deadline to get the Certification within let's say 6 months and the consultant was in almost daily and doing most of the work then costs could rack up.  If they were working with someone in-house they were guiding to do the (donkey work) then they may only need to come in weekly.  It also depends whether they were just documenting the system or assisting with sourcing and installing necessary tools and equipment and machinery and conducting training etc.  It really does depend on a lot of factors.  The project scope, the resources available on site, the current level of the plant, personnel and documented systems.

 

If you are doing this to get senior management to realize what they are into and hopefully garner commitment then simply calculate how many day's you have spent and need to spend at the low rate of $500 per day.  Plus all of the things you need to implement and maybe purchase.  It's not an easy task if the driving force of the senior management is solely to get the certificate as quickly and easily as possible without any understanding of the implications. And unfortunately this is often the case!


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#8 Urban Explorer

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 02:53 AM

For $40,000 you can hire your own employee to write and manage a plan! I've done small plants myself a couple times and I charged (since I am not "certified" but I work in the field) $75/hr for writing sops, haccp plans, prp etc. same rate for on site and then travel time. A lab director I know who is certified and accredited charges $1500 to write the programs which includes 1 year of support, then an hourly rate and travel time for visits. For a small plant, you honestly shouldn't be spending more than $5000 at the most to have someone write your plan and at that price, it had better be on point and they need to be available 24/7 for questions. Sounds like you know what you're looking at, so why not suggest you manage the plan and ask for a raise? :)



#9 Urban Explorer

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 02:55 AM

For maintenance of the plan, the sqf practitioner has to be a full time employee of the company. Implementation is the first hurdle.



#10 Jeffrey Ort

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 06:47 PM

There are some consultants that will come and work with you, but Glenn Oster Associates has an online web based consultant program that would be worth looking into.






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