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Having another Company produce food in our facility?

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QA Ken

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 05:43 PM

Hello! Long time lurker, first time poster. To preface, I am a newer QA Manager with roughly 5 years of experience. I have been working for a rather large wholesale bakery, for the past ~2 years. I'm basically saying, I'm still green. Normally, we produce tens of thousands of breads per day. Since last year, like many companies, our sales have been hit hard (few thousand bread per day. Today my boss tells me he was speaking with an acquaintance, who would like to rent out our facility during the off hours. They would be bring some equipment, their own staff and their own ingredients. They would need to conform to our SQF system, GMP, and sanitation standards. The more I think about this, there are risks. Boss says we'd hire an QA tech to supervise the operation, since they'd be coming in as a "second shift". Thoughts are kind of jumbled at the moment. Have any of you encountered 2 manufacturers sharing a facility? Or more like my situation where Company A rents out the facility during off hours to Company B?



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Posted 15 March 2021 - 06:27 PM

Hate to say this but I have seen this but it never worked out.

two companies - two different sets of values, two different sets of food safety culture

and then a surprize sqf auditor walks in the door on the shift where the visiting bakery working that night.

 

yes, that is what happened and it was bad.


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Scampi

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 06:35 PM

I agree with Glenn. This sounds like a nightmare.  You'd have zero control over your ingredients/packaging/finished goods. How would you manage that risk assessment for SQF? 

Why can't you make the product for them? Their recipe, your control

 

Never mind the other legal end of things, who is responsible for employee H&S? What about all the proprietary stuff you've got at a business?  the list goes on and on


Please stop referring to me as Sir/sirs


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QA Ken

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 08:57 PM

Hate to say this but I have seen this but it never worked out.

two companies - two different sets of values, two different sets of food safety culture

and then a surprize sqf auditor walks in the door on the shift where the visiting bakery working that night.

 

yes, that is what happened and it was bad.

 

Got it. Thanks for the reply. 

I agree with Glenn. This sounds like a nightmare.  You'd have zero control over your ingredients/packaging/finished goods. How would you manage that risk assessment for SQF? 

Why can't you make the product for them? Their recipe, your control

 

Never mind the other legal end of things, who is responsible for employee H&S? What about all the proprietary stuff you've got at a business?  the list goes on and on

Having no control over our ingredients/packaging/finished goods would have been mitigated by having a dedicated QA tech on site, during their working hours. 

 

What is H&S? Health and Sanitation?



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Posted 15 March 2021 - 09:32 PM

I'm out of my league in here, but I own a small hand-batch co-packer. Our facility manufactures for over 20 different companies, several with multiple recipes.

We decided long ago that if anyone was going to make in our facility it would be with our trained kitchen staff, with our administration and our chefs.

Our HACCP is a nightmare of info already, but it's all the same team. The nightmare were we to allow anyone else to manufacture in the space. I can't even. 

Your kitchen, your license. Doesn't matter whose product is going out the door.



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QA Ken

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 10:07 PM

I'm out of my league in here, but I own a small hand-batch co-packer. Our facility manufactures for over 20 different companies, several with multiple recipes.

We decided long ago that if anyone was going to make in our facility it would be with our trained kitchen staff, with our administration and our chefs.

Our HACCP is a nightmare of info already, but it's all the same team. The nightmare were we to allow anyone else to manufacture in the space. I can't even. 

Your kitchen, your license. Doesn't matter whose product is going out the door.

I get what you're saying. We already private label items for several companies as well. At this moment, I'm not sure why they don't let us private label for them. 



Scampi

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Posted 16 March 2021 - 12:04 PM

Them having a dedicated QA tech does not equate to your product being protected.......they don't work for you

 

H&S health and safety----this is a major liability..........who pays when (and someone will) gets hurt?


Please stop referring to me as Sir/sirs


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Pepperfire

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Posted 16 March 2021 - 05:32 PM

I get what you're saying. We already private label items for several companies as well. At this moment, I'm not sure why they don't let us private label for them. 

They don't want to pay manufacturing margins, they don't want to pay to onboard the product, they don't want to go through the trouble of creating their HACCP documentation, Health and safety, insurance, etc. They don't understand how valuable your "facility" registration actually is... I have a list of reasons, any one of them could fit your situation.

My biggest complaint and/or misunderstanding when onboarding a new manufacturing client is they don't want to pay for the paperwork set up in our computer system, they have no clue what it entails. Someone already in production, though, should already be aware of what it entails, and must realize that you or they have to completely rewrite their HACCP plan because it doesn't just leave one kitchen and walk into a new one without being totally adjusted to suit the facility and equipment. And as I grok it, if they don't and they screw up, it's YOUR facility registration, YOU are the one responsible for the traceability of all the ingredients and packaging, training of staff, etc. If their product screws up, the recall is on your dime, not theirs.

Either way, when they screw up and YOU lose your license, they can walk across the street and simply hire a new copack kitchen, but you are out of business and so are all of your existing copack clients.

We contacted the CFIA when we first thought about copacking and considered the concept of the shared kitchen space, but when we learned that the Certifications for a Federal Facility required the same level of certifiability from every client, we decided there would be no sharing. We do have a couple of clients who want to be in the kitchen when their products are being made, but they are trained and qualified as if they were our staff, and the products still get manufactured through our HACCP system.

I wouldn't touch nor recommend a shared kitchen situation if I weren't in total control of ALL of the manufacturing.

Unsure where you are, but "food incubators" were just starting up when we were researching how to do the multi-client co-pack and we decided not to go that route.

Here's an article about incubators... https://www.thefoodc...rs-report-2020/  In my never humble opinion, but for new product development and test marketing, THAT aspect of the industry seems to be on its way out if the numbers are any indication.


Edited by Pepperfire, 16 March 2021 - 05:32 PM.


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MQA

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Posted 16 March 2021 - 08:03 PM

Hi QA Ken, 

 

Yes, I work with businesses that are doing what your boss wants to do.   You will be in a world of pain, but it can work.  

 

As the QA Manager, you are going to HAVE TO MAKE IT WORK - no choice.  

 

You make it work by having lots of meetings, lots of open communications.  You need to be involved in some of the operation meetings of this new business. 

 

I would have this general plan:

  • Meet and greet the new business to determine the below items
  • What is there general level of hygiene standards?  Are they good with record keeping?  What level of training have the operators had?  Are their any new language barriers that you have not already catered for with your own business?  What is the general morale of the staff?  Are they willing to take on a new food safety manager?  Are they willing to listen?  Does the existing culture include reliability and accountability? 
  • Responses from the above will determine your gaps and what needs to be introduced first before the businesses commence (e.g. what type of further training is required, what set of rules is required to be written up between the two businesses, what new signs are required to be displayed, who will be responsible for what type of detailed cleaning, etc.) 
  • Have a communications book available to log any issues or concerns or information for each shift - this is shared between the businesses 
  • Ensure the new business has their own set of record keeping: pre-start inspections, temperature/time loggings as required, shut down inspections, etc.  
  • ​Have regular meetings to ensure communications remains open between the businesses 
  • Note: All determine if the business is still required to have their own food licence/registration with the local food authority 


... helping you achieve food safety & quality assurance...

Melbourne Quality Assurance | Australia
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