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Traceability test and inability to contact the customer

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pawel1982

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Posted 01 February 2022 - 01:45 PM

Hi all,

I'm new to this website and to BRC in general :) 

I've tried to find the answer in previous threads but with no success.

My question is that I performed a traceability test and the customer was not available while there is a time zone difference.

All data for test within my company were obtained in less than 3 hours. Unfortunately, it was impossible to contact the customer, as a part of this test. We reached them effectively after 7 hours from start time. 

How should I treat such test, as such with positive or negative result?  

Thanks in advance.

Pawel

 



olenazh

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Posted 01 February 2022 - 02:07 PM

Hi Pawel, welcome to our forum. Inability to reach your customer right away due to a time zone difference could be defined as circumstances out of one's control. Thus, you should put a comment on your traceability exercise minutes describing a situation (e.g. you tried to contact a customer by phone/email/fax/etc., but due to time zone difference it was not possible. Something like this) That's what I would do. Other than that, you've completed your exercise successfully as soon as it meets BRC code requirements. (Sorry, I'm not quite familiar with current BRC scheme as I'm with FSSC22000)



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pawel1982

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Posted 01 February 2022 - 02:25 PM

Hi Pawel, welcome to our forum. Inability to reach your customer right away due to a time zone difference could be defined as circumstances out of one's control. Thus, you should put a comment on your traceability exercise minutes describing a situation (e.g. you tried to contact a customer by phone/email/fax/etc., but due to time zone difference it was not possible. Something like this) That's what I would do. Other than that, you've completed your exercise successfully as soon as it meets BRC code requirements. (Sorry, I'm not quite familiar with current BRC scheme as I'm with FSSC22000)

Thank you, olenazh! 

This was also my idea with the note about out of control circumstances, but I wanted someone to confirm. :) 

Pawel



pHruit

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Posted 01 February 2022 - 04:11 PM

The BRC requirement in section 3.9 is only that you should be able to identify the customers, not that you have to be able to contact and communicate with them, within the specified four hour time.

I'd therefore consider the trace to have succeeded within the intended scope of the BRC standard.
FWIW, I'd say it's fairly unusual to contact all of the customers (or indeed any of them) during a routine internal traceability exercise. If you've stated in your own procedure that you do this as part of tests then you're definitely making life harder than it needs to be!



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Lorem Ipsum

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Posted 01 February 2022 - 09:16 PM

Hi Pawel. Did you carry out a mock recall? We don't contact the customer as part of our ususal traceability test. Your crisis manual should contain the emergency contacts for your customers. If you couldn't reach them then it's out of your control. Just make sure you record it on your timeline.



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Simao Monteiro

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Posted 10 February 2022 - 02:48 PM

I agree with sjegorov.

You shall only contact your customer on mock recall, and you must have after hour contacts of your customers.

 

SM



Foodworker

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Posted 11 February 2022 - 01:55 PM

This is always an area of confusion, including amongst auditors.

 

There is a risk in telling a customer about a recall in a test situation as the message that it is a test can be misunderstood and customers end up quarantining materials or shutting down production lines in a panic. If a major production line is shut down it is likely that you will end up footing the bill. 

 

It is particularly risky when dealing with overseas customers who may not speak your language very well.

 

When I do my tests, I like to contact the identified customers and say that I am confirming the emergency contact details and make no mention of a recall. In this way you can demonstrate that you have the ability to make contact and you may sometimes find that the contact details you have are no longer valid; people move on or change responsibilities.

 

I once had a BRC auditor trying to tell me that I had to get my customers to quarantine all their stock, do a traceability check and send a mass balance back to me to confirm. This is testing the customer's systems not mine.

 

I told him where to go.  



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pawel1982

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Posted 11 February 2022 - 10:52 PM

This is always an area of confusion, including amongst auditors.

 

There is a risk in telling a customer about a recall in a test situation as the message that it is a test can be misunderstood and customers end up quarantining materials or shutting down production lines in a panic. If a major production line is shut down it is likely that you will end up footing the bill. 

 

It is particularly risky when dealing with overseas customers who may not speak your language very well.

 

When I do my tests, I like to contact the identified customers and say that I am confirming the emergency contact details and make no mention of a recall. In this way you can demonstrate that you have the ability to make contact and you may sometimes find that the contact details you have are no longer valid; people move on or change responsibilities.

 

I once had a BRC auditor trying to tell me that I had to get my customers to quarantine all their stock, do a traceability check and send a mass balance back to me to confirm. This is testing the customer's systems not mine.

 

I told him where to go.  

 

Thanks :) 



Brendan Triplett

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Posted 12 February 2022 - 03:30 PM

Foodworker,

That is a really great solution.  We have always done this simulated and have our team identify the contact information for the customer and simulate a call with what they would say.  Then we record the entire event.  I don't know if it will help much but here is the form that we use.

 

Hope it helps.

 

Cheers!

 

Attached Files


Vice President and SQF Practitioner in Pennsylvania
Brendan Triplett




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