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SQF 2.3.5.1 Finished Product Specification - Customer Sign Off

2.3.5 SQF Specification

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rdhendri

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Posted 28 December 2020 - 07:30 PM

Hi all - I am preparing my client's QMS for SQF Audit next month.  One requirement I would like to hear from you on is 2.3.5.1 under Finished Product Specifications.  Under that code, it says the "finished product specifications shall be documented, current, approved by site and their customer,...."

 

My question is in regards to how "approved by their customer" is accomplished and documented.  Is it in reality needed for SQF compliance?

 

Thanks in advance for any input here.



Charles.C

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 01:02 AM

Hi all - I am preparing my client's QMS for SQF Audit next month.  One requirement I would like to hear from you on is 2.3.5.1 under Finished Product Specifications.  Under that code, it says the "finished product specifications shall be documented, current, approved by site and their customer,...."

 

My question is in regards to how "approved by their customer" is accomplished and documented.  Is it in reality needed for SQF compliance?

 

Thanks in advance for any input here.

 

The Product Specification should be jointly signed. Otherwise, regardless of any Standard, it is contractually sort of meaningless. Yes ?


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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The Food Scientist

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 01:02 PM

You need to come with an agreement on specifications with your customers. When they buy from you, they expect certain specs to adhere to the products they are purchasing from you. There should be a mutual agreement and approval.


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


rdhendri

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 01:07 PM

Thanks Charles.C for your reply.  Yes, I agree there needs to be a mechanism that ties the purchase to specifications.  However, asking customers to sign all product specifications is bureaucratic and can annoy some of them.   I was wondering if there was another acceptable way. Such as referencing  the product name and number in a Purchase Order from the customer and even including a specification version number in that PO?  Thoughts?

 

Thank you,

 

Rick



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Posted 29 December 2020 - 03:15 PM

Yes, you will be required to show sign offs for both supplier (your client) and customer.


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olenazh

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 03:52 PM

Yes, you will be required to show sign offs for both supplier (your client) and customer.

It's something new for me: though, I'm not familiar with SQF code, but know BRC (been through couple audits) and experienced in FSSC. However, neither BRC, nor FSSC have such requirements... That's pain in an ass, to get all those signoffs every time you update/amend specs, eh?



Spidey

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 04:49 PM

Is the customer sign-off requirement for all products purchased by all customers?

 

For example, my company offers over 400 products and we have just as many customers.  Are you saying every customer needs to approve the specification sheet for every product they purchase from us?  Most of our customers have never even asked for specification sheets.

 

We do have a line of products that were specifically created for a single customer, in that instance, I can see where it would make sense to have that customer sign off on the specification sheets for their custom products.

 

According to the Version 8.1 Guidance Document:
Customers will normally provide finished product specifications and if this is the case, it is advisable that both the supplier and their customers agree the specification is achievable and agree on the safety attributes of the product to be supplied. For stock items that are not customer specific, the supplier is expected to develop finished product specifications for those items.

 

Which makes it sound like customer sign-off is only required for custom items, not stock items.



TimG

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 05:03 PM

To assume a customer will be ok with filling out a questionnaire or signing specs seems a bit ridiculous. I understand on the supplier end, but this just makes no business sense. 

Would it meet the code to have a list of customers who your sales team emails a copy/paste of "All of our current specifications can be found here" or "Here is a current copy of the specification for the product you purchase" and then you keep record of the email dates on a register? 

I guess I don't see how it's my facilities responsibility that you understand and agree with what my specs are, especially in the case where we have 50 different product codes, or like above hundreds.



Scampi

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 05:42 PM

Perhaps this clause specifically applies to "private label" products?    


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The Food Scientist

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 05:46 PM

Yes, you will be required to show sign offs for both supplier (your client) and customer.

 

Been through many audits and no auditor asked to see sign offs... :uhm:  they just look at the spec documents. Please clarify?

 

 

I do know about our suppliers, in the form of supplier approval... but customers having to sign off the specs we provide them? hmm


Edited by The Food Scientist, 29 December 2020 - 05:49 PM.

Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


FSQA

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 06:04 PM

I dont think the code/standard requires you to have a sign off. 

 

It requires you (manufacturer) to have a finished product specification in place that is agreed upon by your customer. It does not have to be in the form of a sign off.(never been asked in an audit to show proof of it).



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TimG

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 07:36 PM

I dont think the code/standard requires you to have a sign off. 

 

It requires you (manufacturer) to have a finished product specification in place that is agreed upon by your customer. It does not have to be in the form of a sign off.(never been asked in an audit to show proof of it).

 

This was kind of my thinking. This is one reason all of our CoA's directly match up to our specifications. By accepting the delivery and the CoA that goes with that lot, I would think a strong argument could be made that the customer 'agreed upon the spec.'



Timwoodbag

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 08:57 PM

In my "SOP Supplier Approval" I have always had the following line, which has never been questioned...

 

5.7. When the Purchasing Manager or other designated purchaser creates a purchase order and the supplier agrees to provide the stated product, the current specification on file are considered approved by both parties.  These approvals may be verbal.



Charles.C

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 09:14 PM

It ultimately may come down to leverage. The major customers I have experienced demand joint, signed, approval of a Product specification prior to doing any business. Take it or leave it.

 

Lack of such agreements  may, worst case, result in communiques  something like  - “this lot has been rejected on arrival due XYZ and awaits yr advice regarding  disposal”. Such delightful news may IMEX even occur where  a mutual, documented,  agreement does exist but at least the latter  should ensure a “level playing field” to “kick off” from (à la Brexit ?).

 

An analogous  arangement is also typically imposed on  raw material suppliers other than for  situations where the famous ISO Emergency Clause  can be invoked.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


Mulan1010

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Posted 05 January 2021 - 05:36 PM

We have had SQF auditors ask about this and we reply that the customer's purchase of our products is their agreement to our specifications and they seem to accept that answer.  Now we do make a few products that are specific formulations at a customer's request and those we do get our customer to sign off on the specs but that is for our protection because they are the only customer that purchase that product..



Charles.C

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 06:29 AM

We have had SQF auditors ask about this and we reply that the customer's purchase of our products is their agreement to our specifications and they seem to accept that answer.  Now we do make a few products that are specific formulations at a customer's request and those we do get our customer to sign off on the specs but that is for our protection because they are the only customer that purchase that product..

 

Hi Mulan,

 

I assume you mean that this is yr intuitive understanding.

 

Legally, I would have thought this has absolutely no meaning whatsoever if challenged.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


Mulan1010

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 04:11 PM

No, I would not imagine it would hold up legally either. I did not understand that to be the intent of the question.  It is just the response we have given the SQF auditors who have asked us.  We have hundreds of customers and a purchase order is an agreement.  As for the specific customer agreements I am not sure about legal authority with those either as fortunately we have not had it tested.  However, they have helped us when their is a question from the customer about something and we can show them where it is in the specification and that it was agreed to by whoever signed it from their company. - I will say that I like the idea that Timwoodbag shared to put a statement about this in your supplier approval SOP.



Charles.C

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 06:31 PM

No, I would not imagine it would hold up legally either. I did not understand that to be the intent of the question.  It is just the response we have given the SQF auditors who have asked us.  We have hundreds of customers and a purchase order is an agreement.  As for the specific customer agreements I am not sure about legal authority with those either as fortunately we have not had it tested.  However, they have helped us when their is a question from the customer about something and we can show them where it is in the specification and that it was agreed to by whoever signed it from their company. - I will say that I like the idea that Timwoodbag shared to put a statement about this in your supplier approval SOP.

 

Hi Mulan,

 

I suppose there is agreement here that the simple answer to the OP's SQF query is Yes.

 

The  method by which agreement is assured appears to be left open as far as SQF is concerned.

 

Seemingly both suppliers and customers vary in respect to desiring (or not) that any documentation be associated with such an agreement.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C






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