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Do you spend enough time on food safety and quality improvement?

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Poll: Continual Improvement poll (120 member(s) have cast votes)

Do you spend enough time on improvement?

  1. Yes (56 votes [46.67%])

    Percentage of vote: 46.67%

  2. No (64 votes [53.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 53.33%

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#1 Simon

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 03:27 PM

If we do not improve, we stagnate or deteriorate, and therefore continual improvement should be an integral part of any food safety management system.  After all continual improvement is a requirement of ISO and GFSI benchmarked standards.

 

Businesses who adopt such standards are required to set objectives in pursuit of improvement and have effective processes and procedures in place to deliver improvement.  If this is true, then a good proportion of a food safety professionals’ job should be working on improvements, but is it?

 

Is most of your job spent firefighting or blue-sky thinking?

 

Let us know.

 

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#2 olenazh

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 03:49 PM

I voted YES: I hate "blue sky thinking" as it doesn't add value. On the other hand, "firefighting" sounds to me more like troubleshooting - which doesn't demonstrate right approach to food safety system improvement. Something in the middle would be just as good:)



#3 MDaleDDF

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 05:11 PM

"continual improvement is a requirement of ISO and GFSI benchmarked standards"

Then I must be....



#4 Simon

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 08:07 AM

I voted YES: I hate "blue sky thinking" as it doesn't add value. On the other hand, "firefighting" sounds to me more like troubleshooting - which doesn't demonstrate right approach to food safety system improvement. Something in the middle would be just as good:)

 

Maybe those were not the best terms to use olenazh.  I don't like management buzzwords, but I tend to use them a lot :lol: Where I don't agree with you is that "blue sky thinking" doesn't add value.  To me it means taking the time to stand back and really look deeply into a problem and get creative with solutions.  If it means kicking back on your chair and thinking about your next vacation then definitely not. :smile:

 

"continual improvement is a requirement of ISO and GFSI benchmarked standards"

Then I must be....

 

Because it's a requirement it doesn't necessarily mean you do it well or enough though.

 

You can pass an audit and be so-so.  Not saying you are. :smile:

 

What is your level of complaints, defects, waste, non-conformance, internal/external audit NC's?  Are your processes lean, efficient and effective?  Are your objectives tough and SMART and on track?  Do you have a fantastic food safety culture?

 

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.

Vince Lombardi


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#5 MDaleDDF

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 01:06 PM

Maybe those were not the best terms to use olenazh.  I don't like management buzzwords, but I tend to use them a lot :lol: Where I don't agree with you is that "blue sky thinking" doesn't add value.  To me it means taking the time to stand back and really look deeply into a problem and get creative with solutions.  If it means kicking back on your chair and thinking about your next vacation then definitely not. :smile:

 

 

Because it's a requirement it doesn't necessarily mean you do it well or enough though.

 

You can pass an audit and be so-so.  Not saying you are. :smile:

 

What is your level of complaints, defects, waste, non-conformance, internal/external audit NC's?  Are your processes lean, efficient and effective?  Are your objectives tough and SMART and on track?  Do you have a fantastic food safety culture?

 

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.

Vince Lombardi

Yeah, I was trying to point out that a body can't regulate such a thing.  

 

Am I personally?  Yeah, I think so.  It's a little difficult where I'm at, as everything is pretty dolled up after almost 15 years spit polishing a system that was already quite good and has been so for 60 years.  It can be easy to just sit around and 'feather the nest' more and more with no new processes in our facility, etc.  I try and go deeper and deeper with sanitation, streamlining what I've already done, going outside the box with new products, and whittling down current low sellers. I had two large scale projects this year that saved the company an insane amount of money, so the boss likes me.  I certainly don't sit on my hands around here, lol. 

I think we'll be building ourselves a new facility in the next 5 years, and that should bring plenty of new challenges.



#6 El Molino

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 08:02 PM

Define what is enough time? I can say we spend a lot of time trying to improve but sometimes the goal is out of reach because someone keeps changing the goal posts LOL We improve to meet a standard and then the next year  we turn around someone has changed the standards or the requirements.



#7 kettlecorn

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 09:39 PM

Simon, I appreciate this topic. Thank you. 

 

In my experience in QA, I find the choice between firefighting or blue-sky thinking a false dichotomy, as I suppose you also recognize with the quote from Vince Lombardi. But the idea of "continual improvement" appears to me ultimately a bunch of cant. How do you improve upon 99.9 percent quality, assessed as a snapshot at a particular moment in time? If you're human, and you have humans working at your company, at any level, you just can't, unless circumstances change or unless you or your company makes a blunder.

 

In that sense, continual improvement only means better than the last time, but I fail to see where "continual" fits into that context. It's just improvement in view of circumstance, so yes, we are always firefighting and trying to attempt blue-sky thinking. 

 

Are we devoting the resources and commitment, and is our company and management devoting the resources and commitment, to be better than the last time? Good question. Where I'm working now, I answered yes. 


Edited by kettlecorn, 25 August 2020 - 09:42 PM.


#8 Simon

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Posted 26 August 2020 - 10:04 AM

Yeah, I was trying to point out that a body can't regulate such a thing.  

 

Am I personally?  Yeah, I think so.  It's a little difficult where I'm at, as everything is pretty dolled up after almost 15 years spit polishing a system that was already quite good and has been so for 60 years.  It can be easy to just sit around and 'feather the nest' more and more with no new processes in our facility, etc.  I try and go deeper and deeper with sanitation, streamlining what I've already done, going outside the box with new products, and whittling down current low sellers. I had two large scale projects this year that saved the company an insane amount of money, so the boss likes me.  I certainly don't sit on my hands around here, lol. 

I think we'll be building ourselves a new facility in the next 5 years, and that should bring plenty of new challenges.

 

They can’t regulate it, but they check on the improvement process, activities, actions and outcomes; this will give the auditor a feel as to whether the business is devoting enough time and effort to this are…and if not why not? Lack of resources, too mired in problems…

Anyway, it sounds as though you have a slick operation and some great stuff going on.  Kudos to you MDaleDDF. :thumbup:

 

 

Define what is enough time? I can say we spend a lot of time trying to improve but sometimes the goal is out of reach because someone keeps changing the goal posts LOL We improve to meet a standard and then the next year  we turn around someone has changed the standards or the requirements.

 

El Molino, perfection is always just out of reach, over the horizon and that is the essence of continual improvement.  A journey not a destination.  But yes, when it comes to food safety management systems standards it can be very frustrating indeed. That said if there were no changes, there would be few questions and this place would be redundant. :smile:

 

Simon, I appreciate this topic. Thank you. 

 

In my experience in QA, I find the choice between firefighting or blue-sky thinking a false dichotomy, as I suppose you also recognize with the quote from Vince Lombardi. But the idea of "continual improvement" appears to me ultimately a bunch of cant. How do you improve upon 99.9 percent quality, assessed as a snapshot at a particular moment in time? If you're human, and you have humans working at your company, at any level, you just can't, unless circumstances change or unless you or your company makes a blunder.

 

In that sense, continual improvement only means better than the last time, but I fail to see where "continual" fits into that context. It's just improvement in view of circumstance, so yes, we are always firefighting and trying to attempt blue-sky thinking. 

 

Are we devoting the resources and commitment, and is our company and management devoting the resources and commitment, to be better than the last time? Good question. Where I'm working now, I answered yes. 

 

hi Kettlecorn, when we try to improve a process: method, material, machine, equipment and environment are easier to control than people. It is so difficult, I agree.  I think the saying is to err is human.  This is a whole other topic.  It’s nice to know you feel you do have enough time to spend on CI in your current job.  Much more satisfying than being bogged down with problems.


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#9 kettlecorn

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Posted 27 August 2020 - 10:00 PM

hi Kettlecorn, when we try to improve a process: method, material, machine, equipment and environment are easier to control than people. It is so difficult, I agree.  I think the saying is to err is human.  This is a whole other topic.  It’s nice to know you feel you do have enough time to spend on CI in your current job.  Much more satisfying than being bogged down with problems.

 

Thanks for that Simon. And I hope I didn't come across as cross, as it were; it's just that my patience for vague phrases like "continual improvement," which, despite its widespread usage, doesn't to me seem fleshed out enough in its conceptual nature to take into account real-world practices or offer anything beyond "let's do better next time," has been wearing thin for a while. It reminds me of all the talk around six sigma and so forth, where supposedly there was some way to eliminate defects such that, I suppose, at some mythical point, there wouldn't really be any. And where is it now?

 

https://qz.com/work/...d-to-six-sigma/

 

I guess my point is only that this is an important topic, and I see phrases like "continual improvement," regardless of their adoption by ISO or GFSI, as really just marketing rhetoric bleeding into scientifically-based food safety systems. 



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#10 Simon

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Posted 28 August 2020 - 10:25 AM


Thanks for that Simon. And I hope I didn't come across as cross…

Not at all Kettlecorn. :smile:

 

Continual Improvement to me means working to get better, all the time, sometimes improvements will be small and sometimes big and sometimes there will be failures, but the graph trend over time is going the right way.  Or if no graph, whatever the measure is.

 

I found a nice document (well I think it is).

https://qip-journal....plura/plura.pdf

 

By the way congrats on 100 posts and the level up. :clap:

 

Regards,

Simon


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#11 GMO

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Posted 28 August 2020 - 11:56 AM

We have grand plans in December that next year will be proactive and future focused.

 

Then January hits.  And the whole year is spent chasing our tails.

 

We probably spend 5% of time on improvement probably 45% of our time bringing things back to standard, including RCA but more often than not there's something in the RCA someone has chosen not to do rather than any real weakness in our systems so it's a managerial / leadership / culture improvement needed.  We spend about 30% of our time just keeping on top of change that gets imposed and the rest of the time doing non value add stuff that people above me think is value add.

 

Improvement is the first place to get squeezed if time is under pressure but generally, we probably achieve 5% improvement a year.  Honestly I think that's probably the same everywhere if we are all honest with ourselves because 5% of genuine improvement year on year means genuinely noticeable change in 3 years.  Some places I have worked in are a long way off that but I wish my job was nearer 20%-30% improvement.  Sadly the attitudes I face make that feel unlikely.



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#12 Simon

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Posted 28 August 2020 - 04:42 PM

Thanks for your input GMO, we do our best within the constraints, it's all we can do.

 

Happy Friday!

 

Regards,

Simon


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#13 Brendan Triplett

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 10:40 AM

Every time that I think that I am spending enough time on improvement we come across an issue that I wish I had more time to resolve.  IT is no wonder that this is a full time job in many companies.

 

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#14 FoodSafetyAPP

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Posted 02 September 2020 - 02:01 PM

I am super for continually improving...i spent almost a full year day to day improving every policy and procedure and document to be better than the best it could be for our BRC audit, however senior management were happy if we got a lower grade! (albeit we've had a tough year in every aspect) 

 

Anyway, my work paid off and we got a AA+ however it's just back to maintaining and not improving now... (eye roll) 



#15 SQFconsultant

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Posted 02 September 2020 - 07:14 PM

There are actually several (more than several ) educational sessions that I need and/or want to take.

 

Our eConsultant program has expanded into consulting on so many areas that I feel the need for further training in not only food, packaging and storage industries but also we branched in restaurants and hotels and I need some refresher training as I've been out of that industry for a while now and I don't want to stumble with our clients or have to go outside to our consultants (yes, consultants have consultants.)  So for food industry I want to take a process training program and get approved to be a Process Authority, I absolutely hate writing HACCP plans, thus these get outsourced, I would like to take an intensive HACCP course so that we no longer outsource this and since we offered PCQI training on our website I did get the course for free, however I'd like to get the certificate too - so I am going to go back and pay for the course and do a re-take.

 

On the flip side, our family uprooted a brand new business in Costa Rica and we will now (in addition to consulting) be setting up a mini-farm, cheese making and bakery operation in Texas.  I am a budding cheese maker, but I need professional cheese making training - thus it will be off to Wisconsin for me early next year for courses and then over to Oregon (I think that's it) for greenhouse grower training for micro-greens, herbs and spices. At least I know how to milk a cow!


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#16 Simon

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 06:14 AM

I am super for continually improving...i spent almost a full year day to day improving every policy and procedure and document to be better than the best it could be for our BRC audit, however senior management were happy if we got a lower grade! (albeit we've had a tough year in every aspect)

Anyway, my work paid off and we got a AA+ however it's just back to maintaining and not improving now... (eye roll)

Well done FoodSafetyAPP, it isn't easy, you and your team should be proud of your achievement.

In terms of this website, I spend around 90% on tasks that must be done and 10% on improvements. I enjoy improvement and must change this ratio.

Regards,
Simon

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#17 Setanta

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 12:35 PM

I feel like I could always devote more to improvement, but time runs short


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#18 cgarcia1

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 04:42 PM

I am super for continually improving...i spent almost a full year day to day improving every policy and procedure and document to be better than the best it could be for our BRC audit, however senior management were happy if we got a lower grade! (albeit we've had a tough year in every aspect) 

 

Anyway, my work paid off and we got a AA+ however it's just back to maintaining and not improving now... (eye roll) 

 

I completely agree with maintaining and not improving.I work at a very small family run company and they are just set on their ways of doing things. Upper management doesn't want to implement new procedures to make the production easier. I make suggestions on how to make things flow better or help us improve and I am continuously shot down. So the only thing I can really do is maintain it at this point. 



#19 Syed Umer Sohail

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Posted 04 October 2020 - 04:00 PM

Yes Indeed, I'm trying to do my best when I'm on field as a Food Safety officer in a regulatory and monitoring body; that we are not just trying to make a change for a industrial sector but also continuous awareness sessions regarding food safety and hygiene provided to normal food stallers and food streets. 

recently we've penalized a renowned sweet factory in our region as the incident happened there regarding food safety as they were dealing their risks as "Low Risk".

So as per my opinion I usually said, "Risk should always be deal as High Risk when it is about food". And of course it is a continuous battle. And if I talk about my region we are dealing it with firefighting approach as it is a need of time.







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