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Organizing SQF system in small company new to SQF


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SanderE

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 07:58 PM

Hi all, let me start off by saying this forum has been really helpful already, just from reading. So thank you all! I'm new to SQF, and slated to become SQF practitioner at a 5 staff food manufacturing company (Implementing SQF systems & internal audit course coming next month).

 

My employer hired a consultant who has provided us with all the procedures and logs/record templates, tailored to our context. And now he's put me in charge of implementation. I'm specifically looking for some feedback on my idea of organizing everything. 

 

Context: small company, definitely full support from owner, but not unlimited (monetary) resources. I want to do as much digitally as possible, but in proportion to costs. The last half year I have been setting up a manufacturing & inventory system that also does batch tracking and full traceability which I'm still in the process of implementing (e.g. not all old stock has it's lot codes in the system, and retroactively entering is not possible).

 

Idea: I took inspiration from here, here and here. I have all procedures, HACCP plan and log/record templates digitally, in a business Dropbox (I want to avoid going all in on Sharepoint because I strongly dislike it and suspect it's too complex for our current scale). Accessible to all, but read-only except for me and the substitute SQF practitioner (a coworker that is currently getting his HACCP certificate). Everything to do with batch tracking and traceability is in our online/cloud inventory system.

 

For digital records: staff opens appropriate docs, fills it out, every record has a place where they fill in name + date & time. They then save it as PDF in a write only folder on Dropbox, and I electronically sign off on it with Acrobat Digital ID when I verify and put it in the appropriate folder. I will have paper copies of all plans and procedures in binders (HACCP binder, SQF procedures binder) and couple paper copies of every log/template in a Worksheet/recordkeeping binder, in case we can't access computers and/or can't print one off.

 

Is this good enough and secure? Am I missing anything?

 

I also suspect that for some records, like the pre-operational inspection, it is simply easier to do this on paper. If this is the choice, does this combine with doing the majority of record keeping digitally?

 

Lastly two questions:

 

1. the consultant we hired wasn't really clear about the inventory system was sufficient for traceability records. It offers full traceability, so I don't see why it wouldn't suffice. The only thing I can think of is uptime and reliability for an online system (I'm awaiting an answer about this), but I could possibly make monthly backups of batch records. What is your guys' idea?

 

2. We aim to have everybody up to SQF standards in November (physically, and working according to procedures, record keeping etc.) and possibly an audit in February. Consultant advised at least 3 months of record keeping. Is this realistic? What is smart and reasonable?

If you've made it this far, thank you! Feel free to critique anything, I am here to learn. Much appreciated!


Edited by SanderE, 14 September 2021 - 08:02 PM.


Hoosiersmoker

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 03:36 PM

Last two questions

  1. Traceability is up to you to design, maintain and improve as you are able. It sounds like the program you use is multifeatured so I can't imagine there is no report writing capabilities. If you can create set reports for what your audit will require and can call it up live at the audit, you're golden. Ability to retrieve accurate information in a timely manner is huge so I think you have that covered. One step forward, one step back for traceability / recall / withdrawal, as long as you can cover that you're good.
  2. 3 months of records seems to be the accepted history time frame for a first audit. First audits tend to look a little at history but more so on presence of all elements. We actually used our first audit as a gap analysis to identify deficiencies in our system. We fixed those and requested another audit which we passed with a score of 93% I believe.

It sounds like you have a good handle on it so far. Once a practitioner, you'll likely start seeing other areas to improve upon also.



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SanderE

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 06:11 PM

Last two questions

  1. Traceability is up to you to design, maintain and improve as you are able. It sounds like the program you use is multifeatured so I can't imagine there is no report writing capabilities. If you can create set reports for what your audit will require and can call it up live at the audit, you're golden. Ability to retrieve accurate information in a timely manner is huge so I think you have that covered. One step forward, one step back for traceability / recall / withdrawal, as long as you can cover that you're good.
  2. 3 months of records seems to be the accepted history time frame for a first audit. First audits tend to look a little at history but more so on presence of all elements. We actually used our first audit as a gap analysis to identify deficiencies in our system. We fixed those and requested another audit which we passed with a score of 93% I believe.

It sounds like you have a good handle on it so far. Once a practitioner, you'll likely start seeing other areas to improve upon also.

Thank you so much! The software allows me to export data, but the export doesn't provide information on which batches are linked to which sales orders. My only information black hole that is very tricky when it comes to this information backup (which would be necessary if they experience downtime). Something to figure out.

 

We will actually have our consultant do a test audit once we come close to being ready, so she can hopefully figure out where we have work to do. 

 

Appreciate your reply!


Edited by SanderE, 16 September 2021 - 06:11 PM.


Hoosiersmoker

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 06:16 PM

Thank you so much! The software allows me to export data, but the export doesn't provide information on which batches are linked to which sales orders. My only information black hole that is very tricky when it comes to this information backup (which would be necessary if they experience downtime). Something to figure out.

 

We will actually have our consultant do a test audit once we come close to being ready, so she can hopefully figure out where we have work to do. 

 

Appreciate your reply!

 

You might contact the software creator and ask if there is a way for them to add a field to enter the SO# when entering the batch. With this type of software it's usually expandable to include additional fields. Some even have the capability to add custom fields within the software. If you have any IT people they might be able to tell you or, like I said, call the software creator.



SanderE

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 06:25 PM

 

Thank you so much! The software allows me to export data, but the export doesn't provide information on which batches are linked to which sales orders. My only information black hole that is very tricky when it comes to this information backup (which would be necessary if they experience downtime). Something to figure out.

 

We will actually have our consultant do a test audit once we come close to being ready, so she can hopefully figure out where we have work to do. 

 

Appreciate your reply!

 

You might contact the software creator and ask if there is a way for them to add a field to enter the SO# when entering the batch. With this type of software it's usually expandable to include additional fields. Some even have the capability to add custom fields within the software. If you have any IT people they might be able to tell you or, like I said, call the software creator.

 

I am, next to soon-to-be SQF practitioner, also the IT guy here... In the software it's all linked, but the exports of sales orders and batches are separate from each other, no way for me to link them. I am in touch with the developers trying to convince them to implement this. Thanks for your input!






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