Some random advice. Not sure if it would be useful. We've investigated switching schemes and it seemed a very mixed ball of wax because of the added work in switching without any guarantee of "gains" (time/money/effort).
Prior to Switching:
1.) I would first investigate what your clients allow, since sometimes they don't accept any GFSI scheme, just specific ones, and you might be limiting yourself unintentionally.
2.) Carefully consider the cost of switching in terms of time, rewriting policies, etc. Depending upon how your food safety management system is set up (written), that could be significant.
3.) Don't forget the cost of retraining employees.
4.) Time the switch, since you would likely have to conduct a full review of your existing structure, and make sure that you have enough data/forms to satisfy your new requirements.
If you switch:
I would suggest removing yourself from being directly "tied" to the audit scheme if you are. What I mean is, I see a lot of issues with being so tied to the scheme that you mirror their numbering logic, write policies solely to match the scheme's requirements, etc. I saw that when I came to my current employer and it caused a lot of issues. To me, I would rather write an actual food safety management system based upon relevant laws (aka the FDA, etc.) and add in what you might need in order to meet requirements for a scheme. Audit schemes love to update themselves (how they sell themselves) and so the more closely tied you are to a specific version of a specific scheme, the harder it is to change. I also personally think that focusing on the audit scheme and not actual food safety (that a scheme should then evaluate) is detrimental. I've seen too many cases where people "ramp up" for a once a year audit versus doing (the right) things daily.
For us, we grow and fresh-pack citrus and have been a Primus client for a decade now - because it meets our clients' audit requirements. It's got some stupid "audit for audit sake" requirements, but it's like any other scheme in that fashion. The key to me is whether you can get a good auditor - someone who is focused on actual possible food safety issues and less concerned whether a form meets the various 5,000 different little check boxes.
I've looked into what options are out there for us, but outside of the USDA's Gap Plus (GFSI equivalent), I've not seen anything significantly better or worse. The USDA version doesn't seem to have gotten a lot of acceptance within the client base as yet, so I don't see it as an option right now. That scheme appears, at first cut, to be a lot less paperwork, but if the clients won't accept it, it's for naught.
Anyway, IMO, the devil you know is often better than the devil you don't.
I work in a small dry powder blending operation (<20 employees including adminstrative, sales and operations). We are currently SQF certified but it's very burdensome with the amount of documentation and record-keeping required. We currently have one full-time SQF practitioner who's leaving soon.
We are SQF certified because some of our customers require it. I was wondering if there are other standards outside of SQF that are more small-business friendly, meaning that they don't require as many financial and staffing resources as SQF. This would allow us to utilize our next hire for other QA & administrative tasks outside of purely just SQF administration. We feel we may be able to persuade our customers to accept a standard other than SQF as they have been open when we casually floated the idea by them.