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How many QA/QC would be reasonable for our company size?


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#1 chenyunl

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 05:42 AM

Hello everyone, my name is David. I am not here for complaint, but for good advices. I have been working in this food company for 7 years as QA. As the company grows, we opened another facility cross the street two years ago, since then I am working as QA manager and being in charge of both sides. Here is the brief intro to the plants. Both plants are under USDA and FDA. The total size of both facilities is approximately 80,000 sq ft. Each plant has about 100 employees. One plant has two production rooms (2 manufacturing lines) and one packing room (1 packing line), and another one has one production room (2 manufacturing lines) and one packing room (2 packing lines). As food manufacturer, we do have warehouse, cooler, and freezer as well. Each plant makes different products, so we do have different programs.  Basically,  for my QA team, I have two QC techs for each plant, so it means that one tech works in production, and one works in packing. The QC techs are mainly responsible for doing daily pre-op, daily checks on CCPs, GMPs, and other product safety and quality checks. There are no supervisors in my department, so I am the one who needs to handle all food safety and quality related things, such as making all programs, conducting all the audits, making product spec and labels, handling customer complaints, training employees, and so on. I was ok on all those things at the beginning, but as the business grows, we are getting more and more top 500 customers, and they all wants to do the audit at least yearly with us.... For example, this month I would probably have 5-6 audits from those big names. In addition, for they new products, I need to make all related things, such as specs, HACCPs, and label of approvals..... I am really overwhelmed now. I did speak to the top management two months ago, and they said that they would hire a supervisor to help me, but I have not see the person yet. Now, I would like to speak to them again. Before I do that, I really want to hear some advice from you. In your opinion, how many QA/QC would be reasonable for our company size? Thank you, David 



#2 Marloes

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 08:30 AM

Hi David,

 

Sounds like you are very busy.

You are doing a lot of audits. I remember doing 10+ audits a year and complaining about the workload.  Let alone 5-6 a month.

Perhaps talk to your clients and certified scheme's to see if you can reduce your workload.
I combine smaller scheme's into one day (MSC, ASC and another dutch animal wellfare sheme).
And I asked some off my clients to please combine their audits. 

 

If I am correct you are saying that you are the only QA for two production locations with 100 employee's. That sounds extremely understaffed for me.

 

The size of a quality department always depands on the type of products and customers you have. High demands from clients and/or product would always mean that you need a bigger staf. While product that are easier might only require a smaller staf.

From what I am readying it would be ideal if you had (at least) a QA supervisior/junior QA manager for each plant. They could do daily activities while you focuss on stategy and long term.

You can also look into ''outsource'' some of your work to others in the company. Perhaps there is someone who can take over specifications?

 

Good luck!



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#3 kfromNE

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 01:41 PM

Marloes is right - it depends on the products you make. We have a similar amount of employees. Our FDA side side has 3 and the USDA has 4 QCs. This is all based upon our processes. With those QCs - I have 2 QC Managers - one for the FDA and USDA. This is the amount we need during our busiest times.

 

It'll take some work but what you may want to do an employee utilization matrix.

 

https://www.ifsqn.co...x-for-qc-staff/



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#4 chenyunl

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 04:01 PM

Hi David,

 

Sounds like you are very busy.

You are doing a lot of audits. I remember doing 10+ audits a year and complaining about the workload.  Let alone 5-6 a month.

Perhaps talk to your clients and certified scheme's to see if you can reduce your workload.
I combine smaller scheme's into one day (MSC, ASC and another dutch animal wellfare sheme).
And I asked some off my clients to please combine their audits. 

 

If I am correct you are saying that you are the only QA for two production locations with 100 employee's. That sounds extremely understaffed for me.

 

The size of a quality department always depands on the type of products and customers you have. High demands from clients and/or product would always mean that you need a bigger staf. While product that are easier might only require a smaller staf.

From what I am readying it would be ideal if you had (at least) a QA supervisior/junior QA manager for each plant. They could do daily activities while you focuss on stategy and long term.

You can also look into ''outsource'' some of your work to others in the company. Perhaps there is someone who can take over specifications?

 

Good luck!

Hello Marloes, 

 

Thank you so much for your response ! Yes, I am kind of overwhelmed now. I forgot to mention that I am also in charge of R&D as well, because we do not have R&D person. 

 

I did tell our clients that we are SQF certified, but they still want to do their individual audit on us. In this way, we will have 10+ audits per year for sure. As you know, different clients have different requirements, and reading those long page guildelines and then comply them with our own policies are really time consuming. 

 

Yes, I am the only QA manager for both plants with 150+ employees. I are leading 5 QC techs to do the daily supervisions on production line. In fact, 4 QCs for the day shift, and one QC for the night shift packing only right now. Later on, we will open night shift production line, so we will hire another QC tech soon. There will be no QA manager/supervisor at night, but we will hire a manager level person who have knowledge in both QA and production for the night shift. 

 

For the product type, one plant which has two shifts now, only makes RTE product 6 days/week, and another one makes RTE/NRTE products 5-6 days/week. The demand is very high. The finish goods are always shipped out within 1-3 days. 

 

Again, thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I just want to have some opinions before I go to argue with the top management. 

 

David 



#5 The Food Scientist

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 04:30 PM

Yes agreeing with the products you make and the complexity of your products and processes. 

 

But it sounds to me you are overwhelmed and being overworked. In that case you definitely need to hire one supervisor for each plant to assist you with your audits. Where I work we have 2 supervisors, me being one of them. We assist a lot in the audits and any work QA manager needs. We only have 1 audit annually and it is SQF. We are a busy plant that requires at least 2 technicians to oversee production. 

Supervisors are also the backup for the QA manager when he is out. And are allowed to make decisions. That will make your life easier :)

 

You may need to talk to top management again.


Edited by The Food Scientist, 13 January 2021 - 04:32 PM.

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


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#6 Scampi

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 04:32 PM

David----I'd be pushing for the title of Director (with a pay raise naturally) and hire a manger.  

 

Once you mentioned you make RTE particularly. Someone needs to be free to manage the overall picture and others to manage day to day.

 

You probably have enough techs but it sounds like you need a right hand person to help!  One manager + your raise is still a great deal for the company considering what they're getting from you

 

Good luck


Because we always have is never an appropriate response!


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#7 Fred73

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 06:20 PM

I will agree with Scampi, I also seeing companies hire a person with the QA/FS knowledge to handle the documentation part of the job, more like a "compliance officer"?, that is going to be the one answering customers questionnaires, product specs, customer complaints, caring part of the monthly requirements to keep up with the SQF system, more like gathering all the info generated by each site, etc. basically a person that will be more at a desk position and let you see the big picture of the company more in a director roll. Depending in the nature of your business obviously. 

 

Just my two cents.



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#8 SQFconsultant

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 06:39 PM

I'd be asking for an elevation in title/status/$$$ and a manager as well instead of a supervisor.


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#9 chenyunl

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 06:43 PM

Yes agreeing with the products you make and the complexity of your products and processes. 

 

But it sounds to me you are overwhelmed and being overworked. In that case you definitely need to hire one supervisor for each plant to assist you with your audits. Where I work we have 2 supervisors, me being one of them. We assist a lot in the audits and any work QA manager needs. We only have 1 audit annually and it is SQF. We are a busy plant that requires at least 2 technicians to oversee production. 

Supervisors are also the backup for the QA manager when he is out. And are allowed to make decisions. That will make your life easier :)

 

You may need to talk to top management again.

Hello, thank you for your reply. You situation would be my dream setup for the QA team. However, I probably need to discuss with them again to see if the budget allows.   



#10 chenyunl

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 06:46 PM

I'd be asking for an elevation in title/status/$$$ and a manager as well instead of a supervisor.

Thank you for your words Sir. Because this is actually my first job after the school, I really have no idea how other companies' QA teams are. I am glad that I finally asked the question here. 






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