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jnehl

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 06:04 PM

Hello everyone, I am hoping someone on here can give me a little guidance. I have been in one QC position or another for about 10 years now. HACCP Certified but only just recently SQF certified. I very recently have accepted a position as a Quality Assurance Manager at a company that has not had a quality personnel at all for at least a few months, and they have NEVER had SQF. They hired me to basically start their SQF program from the ground up, which I am so excited to be doing, however, now I'm not sure where to start. My question for everyone is where do I begin? Should I start with writing up our SQF plan? Or do I start somewhere else? ANY advice or input would be greatly appreciated. I usually welcome major challenges with no hesitation or doubt but sitting here now I'm beginning to wonder if I'm in way over my head. Thanks, J



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Posted 26 May 2021 - 06:11 PM

If you've got 10+ years under your belt, you are not over you head, you've got this!

 

To paraphrase from one of my fav movies "let's start at the very beginning, a very fine place to start..."

 

I would follow traditional HACCP plan format to at least get the process there on paper, including the hazard analysis (if not done already) and flow chart(s)

 

Then you've got the building blocks to put in the PCP which is essentially all SQF is anyway

 I like this format, but whatever works for you, this allows you to determine the CCPs (if any) and input what element of SQF would cover hazards

 

https://inspection.c...035?chap=4#s8c4

 

Then once that is done, you can create the written programs to cover all the SQF requirements, plus any odd ones that show up from the HA

 

Next is to create the monitoring records for those written programs

 

Then validate any CCPs you need 

 

A very simplified version, but should get you there in the end


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Posted 26 May 2021 - 06:12 PM

Congratulations and Good luck!  I've implemented SQF at a few different facilities.  It can be tough to figure out where you start, but just keep at it and be consistent.

 

I would caution you to make the SQF system as simple as possible.  The more complex you make policies, programs, and procedures the less the chance they will be followed and enforced.  Of course, you need to make sure you are compliant with how you draft the policies, programs, and procedures.  If you have the option start with food safety only and not the quality SQF unless that's needed for customers.

 

I suggest you start with upper management with management commitment and the food safety and quality (if the company wants to do quality too).  These will be the guiding principles for the SQF system.  Then do a gap assessment with the current SQF code and what the company has in place.  You may find they have a lot more in place than you believe.  A thorough gap assessment will take you some time, but well worth it.  With this you can reconvene with management and go over the gaps and what is needed to comply including the resources you need, the plant needs, and the company needs.



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Posted 26 May 2021 - 06:24 PM

First welcome - second (and this is from experience) I'd enlist the assistance of an experienced consultant to start from zero and guide you and company thru the entire process and maybe even build it out for you too.


Kind regards,
Glenn Oster
 
GOC BUSINESS GROUP | SQF System Development, Implementation & Certification Consultants
Internal Auditor Training - eConsultant - Pre & Post SQF-GAP Audits - Consultant Training
Visit us @ http://www.GlennOster.com  or call us @ 772.646.4115 US-EST 8am-4pm Anyday except Thursday
 
 

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 07:50 PM

Hi there! I'm in the same boat as you. I got hired in late February and have to implement SQF with absolutely no quality personnel or anyone here with any Quality experience. Its a small company that is about to get a quick dose of reality.

 

I started with HAACP program and have branched out from there. I'm slowly creating SOPs and Forms for the needed programs. After HAACP I just started from the beginning of Module 2 and am working through that. I branch off here and there when there is something I know I can whip up fast ( I.e., Environmental Monitoring since I was a microbiologist for a few years). Its been a few months and I still feel like I'm very far away but I sort of feel like I'm making progress weekly.


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Posted 26 May 2021 - 08:30 PM

Hello everyone, 

I am hoping someone on here can give me a little guidance. I have been in one QC position or another for about 10 years now. HACCP Certified but only just recently SQF certified. I very recently have accepted a position as a Quality Assurance Manager at a company that has not had a quality personnel at all for at least a few months, and they have NEVER had SQF. They hired me to basically start their SQF program from the ground up, which I am so excited to be doing, however, now I'm not sure where to start. My question for everyone is where do I begin? Should I start with writing up our SQF plan? Or do I start somewhere else? ANY advice or input would be greatly appreciated. I usually welcome major challenges with no hesitation or doubt but sitting here now I'm beginning to wonder if I'm in way over my head. 

Thanks

J

 

Hi jnehi,

 

Product ?

Process ?

 

I would say first thing is to hire some QA personnel

 

Sounds like there is a long, long haul in front of you unless process is ultrasimple.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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TimG

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Posted 28 May 2021 - 07:00 PM

Good afternoon jnehl. Since this is your first time, I'd parrot Glens advice about a consultant. If that's not an option, there are also consultant groups out there who have put together step by step "do this, then this, check this" type walkthroughs to implement the program yourself (I think the one I seen was actually called an 'implementation pack').

If that's not something you can find here hit me up and I will look for the contact info of the consultant group I dealt with.



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Posted 03 June 2021 - 12:03 PM

You have been doing Quality for 10 years, you're a pro and then some. You got this! When I was starting out in getting my company certified, I went into the SQFI website and pulled an internal audit checklist. I just did an internal audit to see what i have, what I need to improve, and what we need to create. Since you already have HACCP experience, you are more than ready. You can't do this alone, SOPs are usually followed up with internal audits, so just creating a document will require someone to respond to the document in the form of an audit (the prove it parts). As long as your leadership understand that you need their support, and it is not a one-person show, I am sure you will succeed. 

 

Best of Luck 



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jnehl

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Posted 11 June 2021 - 01:11 PM

Its nice to know someone is in the same boat as me, especially  on the days that I feel like I'm in some very choppy uncharted territory. Fortunately, the company I just started with and upper management here have been AMAZING! Super helpful and eager to listen to anything i may have to offer and vice versa . Also very helpful is they have sop's written up already for the most part thanks to HACCP now slowly going through and updating them. 

Hope things are going well with your situation, lord only knows that I feel your pain some days I'm sure. 

Hi there! I'm in the same boat as you. I got hired in late February and have to implement SQF with absolutely no quality personnel or anyone here with any Quality experience. Its a small company that is about to get a quick dose of reality.

 

I started with HAACP program and have branched out from there. I'm slowly creating SOPs and Forms for the needed programs. After HAACP I just started from the beginning of Module 2 and am working through that. I branch off here and there when there is something I know I can whip up fast ( I.e., Environmental Monitoring since I was a microbiologist for a few years). Its been a few months and I still feel like I'm very far away but I sort of feel like I'm making progress weekly.



jnehl

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Posted 11 June 2021 - 01:18 PM

Thank you very much for your advice I really do appreciate it. Can I be 100% honest with you in regards to the consultant suggestion? I'm a very proud person, it may be one of my biggest down falls, (which I am working on) that being said I feel like asking the company I work for to bring in a consultant would make me look like I cant handle what they hired me for. They brought me on to get this baby up and running to which I agreed, I don't want to let them down by asking for help. Especially when they are paying me very very well; I would hate for them to spend the extra money just because I cant handle it myself.  I know this must sound ridiculous but its exactly how I feel about it. 

Good afternoon jnehl. Since this is your first time, I'd parrot Glens advice about a consultant. If that's not an option, there are also consultant groups out there who have put together step by step "do this, then this, check this" type walkthroughs to implement the program yourself (I think the one I seen was actually called an 'implementation pack').

If that's not something you can find here hit me up and I will look for the contact info of the consultant group I dealt with.



TimG

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Posted 11 June 2021 - 01:30 PM

Yeah, I get that. The step by step walkthrough to implement a program from scratch yourself (implementation pack) is a good middle ground.



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Posted 11 June 2021 - 03:15 PM

Its nice to know someone is in the same boat as me, especially  on the days that I feel like I'm in some very choppy uncharted territory. Fortunately, the company I just started with and upper management here have been AMAZING! Super helpful and eager to listen to anything i may have to offer and vice versa . Also very helpful is they have sop's written up already for the most part thanks to HACCP now slowly going through and updating them. 

Hope things are going well with your situation, lord only knows that I feel your pain some days I'm sure. 

I'm glad to hear its going well!

 

I'm 110% with you on the consultant thing. While it would be extremely helpful and make my job easier, I feel weird about being hired to do this and then asking to have people come in to do the job. 

 

As for upper management, who is just a married couple, it hasn't been super awesome. There is family drama and dynamics here that are very weird and they are slow to adapt and help to make changes. They argue over things we need even if its mandatory ( i.e I need to get scale calibration done and they don't really want to spend the 2500$ quote to have someone come in. Also I need to change out 4 scales for scales that are actually able to calibrate. I found some cheap ones for 75-100 dollars but they're like what's wrong with this 9.99 walmart scale.) 

 

They haven't been 100% listening to me but we have a pre audit in early July and I am hoping that gives them a kick in the butt they need to cooperate and help me help them.

 

It's been a struggle and I'm hoping it gets better soon. 


Edited by QAFSerik, 11 June 2021 - 03:16 PM.

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Posted 11 June 2021 - 04:29 PM

I read the comments on the use of consultants and since I am one I had to comment again of course...

 

We have worked with new QA managers that were given the task of creating their SQF systems and everything that go with that endeavor - I think we are about 50/50 on requests, meaning half the time it is ownership that calls us first or ownership has informed the manager to use all tools needed, including bringing in a consultant.

 

Now, if it were just writing a program there are a couple of outlets for ready to fill in (cut and paste) templated systems, one of which is marketed here on the IFSQN. But normally it is substantially more hollistic - meaning we are in on the front end meeting and working directly with ownership and QA to review the physical plant for suggestions on capital and operational improvements that will be needed, many times detailed training and sourcing of various needs, recommendations and even interviewing of new personnel and service contractors etc.

 

One thing we don't do and really can not (OK, well I guess if someone paid me a lot I would) do is completely write a system, fill in all the needed logs, records, etc and get someone to their first audit in 30-45 days - thus our work is an enhancement to the QA position, regardless of pride level - we all have that, we think we do a very needed job and interestingly enough putting together a printed SQF System is most certainly not the bulk of our work - it is many times what appears to be the bulk to the client because it is the end product after 30 or so days, but the amount of work done during those days and the fact that we are then available for use of facility personnel to call on us for help during implementation is substantial.

 

We also normally end up saving companies lots of money and in a number of cases have helped companies (thru connections) land new customers that generated into the multi-millions of more yearly income - does it pay to use a consultant, most times yes.

 

Recently I had a call from a new QA manager who was also made the SQF Practitioner by their ownership. He was told to the company had less than a year to get SQF certified, they had gotten a letter from a large customer demanding it.

 

He said he checked with ownership and asked if he could bring an SQF Consultant in and the response was, why spend that money when we have you - and his gut reaction was, why lose a multi-million account when you only need to spend a fraction of it on a consultant that can help us to get certified in about 6 months and maybe even help us make more.

 

Ownership thought it was a pretty gutsy move on the QA manager's part and frankly as a business owner and former employee myself I thought so too - and my question first was the first question that the owner asked him... what's the cost and I want a breakdown on value to the company.

 

We helped the QA Manager what options were available and how to get a handle on cost vs labor vs time etc + potential loss of business, etc and we arrived at what we always arrive at, it's a dang great investment to bring in the expertise.

 

So, he goes back to ownership the next day with our pending bill and that in the afternoon we got engaged, worked on the first fact finding part of our assignment and have already saved the company twice the amount of our fee - that makes the QA manager look great because ultimately it was his decision to bring us onboard and once we complete the bulk of our work, the printed system becomes their system (it is always a cooperative effort) and we are available by phone and email to help thru the 3-4 month implementation period and beyond as our clients go on life-time eConsultant .

 

So, not a matter of pride or for that matter price, but value thru expertise.

 

Interestingly enough I have a consultant on retainer myself and one would think what for?  Well, I am a former chef and love cooking - I absolutely  fell in love with making cheese and want to start a small professional operation in Florida... but I lack the knowledge needed to springboard into the cheese business - thus I have a consultant that will be working with me to get us up and running and stay in business.

 

Actually had to sell the idea to my wife (partner) when she said, you are a consultant, what do you need a consultant for and I said, well I want to turn the investment 100% within a year, he'll charge $50,000 over the year and we'll make $200,000 - without him we are around $25,000 maybe.  She said, go for it.


Kind regards,
Glenn Oster
 
GOC BUSINESS GROUP | SQF System Development, Implementation & Certification Consultants
Internal Auditor Training - eConsultant - Pre & Post SQF-GAP Audits - Consultant Training
Visit us @ http://www.GlennOster.com  or call us @ 772.646.4115 US-EST 8am-4pm Anyday except Thursday
 
 

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 02:09 AM

I read the comments on the use of consultants and since I am one I had to comment again of course...

 

We have worked with new QA managers that were given the task of creating their SQF systems and everything that go with that endeavor - I think we are about 50/50 on requests, meaning half the time it is ownership that calls us first or ownership has informed the manager to use all tools needed, including bringing in a consultant.

 

Now, if it were just writing a program there are a couple of outlets for ready to fill in (cut and paste) templated systems, one of which is marketed here on the IFSQN. But normally it is substantially more hollistic - meaning we are in on the front end meeting and working directly with ownership and QA to review the physical plant for suggestions on capital and operational improvements that will be needed, many times detailed training and sourcing of various needs, recommendations and even interviewing of new personnel and service contractors etc.

 

One thing we don't do and really can not (OK, well I guess if someone paid me a lot I would) do is completely write a system, fill in all the needed logs, records, etc and get someone to their first audit in 30-45 days - thus our work is an enhancement to the QA position, regardless of pride level - we all have that, we think we do a very needed job and interestingly enough putting together a printed SQF System is most certainly not the bulk of our work - it is many times what appears to be the bulk to the client because it is the end product after 30 or so days, but the amount of work done during those days and the fact that we are then available for use of facility personnel to call on us for help during implementation is substantial.

 

We also normally end up saving companies lots of money and in a number of cases have helped companies (thru connections) land new customers that generated into the multi-millions of more yearly income - does it pay to use a consultant, most times yes.

 

Recently I had a call from a new QA manager who was also made the SQF Practitioner by their ownership. He was told to the company had less than a year to get SQF certified, they had gotten a letter from a large customer demanding it.

 

He said he checked with ownership and asked if he could bring an SQF Consultant in and the response was, why spend that money when we have you - and his gut reaction was, why lose a multi-million account when you only need to spend a fraction of it on a consultant that can help us to get certified in about 6 months and maybe even help us make more.

 

Ownership thought it was a pretty gutsy move on the QA manager's part and frankly as a business owner and former employee myself I thought so too - and my question first was the first question that the owner asked him... what's the cost and I want a breakdown on value to the company.

 

We helped the QA Manager what options were available and how to get a handle on cost vs labor vs time etc + potential loss of business, etc and we arrived at what we always arrive at, it's a dang great investment to bring in the expertise.

 

So, he goes back to ownership the next day with our pending bill and that in the afternoon we got engaged, worked on the first fact finding part of our assignment and have already saved the company twice the amount of our fee - that makes the QA manager look great because ultimately it was his decision to bring us onboard and once we complete the bulk of our work, the printed system becomes their system (it is always a cooperative effort) and we are available by phone and email to help thru the 3-4 month implementation period and beyond as our clients go on life-time eConsultant .

 

So, not a matter of pride or for that matter price, but value thru expertise.

 

Interestingly enough I have a consultant on retainer myself and one would think what for?  Well, I am a former chef and love cooking - I absolutely  fell in love with making cheese and want to start a small professional operation in Florida... but I lack the knowledge needed to springboard into the cheese business - thus I have a consultant that will be working with me to get us up and running and stay in business.

 

Actually had to sell the idea to my wife (partner) when she said, you are a consultant, what do you need a consultant for and I said, well I want to turn the investment 100% within a year, he'll charge $50,000 over the year and we'll make $200,000 - without him we are around $25,000 maybe.  She said, go for it.

 

Hi Glenn,

 

Re - ^^^(red)

 

 IMEX of non-"Big Boy Outfits", this question is indeed routine and, sadly, more usually indicates that QA can forget any significant additional expenditures.

 

PS - Seeing the first number quoted in Post 12 made me almost agree with such questioners' viewpoint :smile:


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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Posted 13 June 2021 - 11:52 AM

Charles is right, the bringing in a consultant is a very tough sell for most companies unless they are in absolute dire straights.  It is hard for management to see past the consultant fee regardless of what kind of value, monetary and otherwise, is shown to management.

 

I had a situation, like most other people in here have experienced, where the person in charge of SQF leaves the company and they leave a dumpster fire of a program.  So now, you have to figure out the heck they were doing, revise & update practically everything, and keep up with all of your other duties on top of what the person who left was doing.  I asked if we could bring in a consultant to help with the SQF program and was denied.  It really wasn't going to be that much at all, and we've spent a boatload of money on other people and positions which we really didn't need.

 

Our SQF audit is an unannounced and we still have yet to see the auditor come in.  We are as ready as we can be given the the limited time to prepare and everything else going on.  It's been a lot of fun.

 

What would be awesome is if a consultant, or maybe a team of consultants, can get their heads together and create a template persons can use to show the ROI on the investment of bringing on a consultant.  Something that is easy and straight-forward to complete.  This may have helped me in my case, because I was so strapped for time I didn't sit down and think through how I can show the ROI...only ROI I saw was saving myself an immense amount of stress.

 

 

Hi Glenn,

 

Re - ^^^(red)

 

 IMEX of non-"Big Boy Outfits", this question is indeed routine and, sadly, more usually indicates that QA can forget any significant additional expenditures.

 

PS - Seeing the first number quoted in Post 12 made me almost agree with such questioners' viewpoint :smile:



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Posted 14 June 2021 - 04:15 AM

Guidance for understanding SQF Code requirements and achieving certification.

This licensed, two-day course is perfect for those interested in pursuing SQF certification and implementing an effective system. Learn how to develop, implement, and maintain programs that meet the SQF Standard requirements. And gain the knowledge needed to successfully complete the SQF Practitioner exam. xxxxxxxxx


Edited by Charles.C, 14 June 2021 - 04:54 AM.
advertising deleted


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Posted 14 June 2021 - 05:35 AM

As a former on-site consultant, I believe that the cost of a consultant to implement an SQF compliant Food Safety Management System is quite prohibitive. The costs involved are not only the consultant’s fees but also the cost of the consultant's travel, board and lodging during the assignment. Typically, this would be around $4,000/week for an assignment of 4 – 6 months, so up to $100,000.

 

This is why the IFSQN set up the Food Safety Management System Implementation Packages for GFSI-recognized Certification Programs.

 

For a fraction of the cost of an on-site consultant the IFSQN Implementation Packages typically include:

Food Safety Management System Procedure Templates - A comprehensive set of editable Food Safety Management System Procedures written in Microsoft Word (US English) format

Good Manufacturing Practice Template Procedures - A comprehensive set of editable Good Manufacturing Practice Templates written in Microsoft Word (US English) format

Food Safety, Validation & Verification Record Templates - A wide range of easy to use Record Templates written in Microsoft Word (US English) format

Implementation Assistance

 

Plus, a range of implementation tools including:

Start-Up Guide

Implementation Workbook

Instructions

Training Presentations

Guidance

Technical Support

 

The packages are based on 30 years’ experience in the food industry and since their inception 10 years ago we have helped over 1,000 customers achieve certification to a GFSI Benchmarked Standard.

 

As an example, there is the SQF Implementation Package for Food Manufacturers - Edition 9 which is one of our most popular packages.

 

 

Check out the customer reviews here:

 

“One of the best investments you can make for yourself and your team moving forward. If you want to save yourself a lot of time and frustration, I highly recommend the purchase of the implementation package. The bonus... you won't feel so alone. Thank you, IFSQN team!”

 

“The package was excellent for anyone looking to build a SQF system on their own. The time the package saves you makes it well worth the price you pay. It may not be practical for every application but you would be hard pressed to find one that it doesn't work for.”

 

“I was very pleased with the completeness of the SQF Code 8 Implementation Package. All of the documents our company needed to get up to speed with SQF Edition 8 were available and easy to customize for our use. I was even more impressed when, 4 months after our purchase, we received an update to the Food Fraud Procedure and Food Fraud Assessment Tool. Having the Implementation Package made the process leading to certification much easier and faster than it would have been if we had had to create all of the documents from scratch.”

 

In addition to the technical support included in our packages, the IFSQN also provides free Food Safety Friday webinars, for example: Implementing an SQF Code Edition 9 compliant Food Safety Management System

 

Kind regards,

 

Tony

 

 

 



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Posted 15 June 2021 - 12:17 PM

TONY WROTE IN PART... As a former on-site consultant, I believe that the cost of a consultant to implement an SQF compliant Food Safety Management System is quite prohibitive. The costs involved are not only the consultant’s fees but also the cost of the consultant's travel, board and lodging during the assignment. Typically, this would be around $4,000/week for an assignment of 4 – 6 months, so up to $100,000.....

One of the key reasons why we switched from 100% on site to 100% remote was based on travel and travel related expenses. When actual travel exceeded our standard rates it was time to offer the option and we have found not being onsite has no negative impact.

The only time we offered onsite was when a clientvhad their own business jet.


Kind regards,
Glenn Oster
 
GOC BUSINESS GROUP | SQF System Development, Implementation & Certification Consultants
Internal Auditor Training - eConsultant - Pre & Post SQF-GAP Audits - Consultant Training
Visit us @ http://www.GlennOster.com  or call us @ 772.646.4115 US-EST 8am-4pm Anyday except Thursday
 
 




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