Recalls are among the riskiest and most anxiety provoking challenges a food producer can face. The same situation that would represent a small financial setback for a maker of consumer goods can be a life and death matter when your product is meant to be literally consumed.
Most food businesses already use some form of business software to help them manage these risks and, when necessary, perform recalls. But if they’re not using integrated software (often known as ERP, for Enterprise Resource Planning software), implemented across the whole company, they may be missing out on some important potential benefits.
Here are a few examples.
- One version of the truth. If multiple gatekeepers maintain a mixture of paper and Excel files to track and trace inventory and shipments, it can be very hard to get a straight answer to an urgent question. Different files may disagree or only offer snapshots taken at different times. Gatekeepers may even be unavailable, making it difficult or impossible to get to the data at all.Integrated business software means always having access to a single, current repository of information.
- Barcode scanning. Any time something is recorded by hand, there’s an opportunity for error. Software that works with barcode scanners to help you capture every item and movement accurately can save you a lot of time and trouble. Without them, achieving that “one version of the truth” mentioned above takes a lot of extra effort.
- Quick access to the information you need. Having one version of the truth is only useful if you can get to it when you need it. In some companies a recall can involve going through a hundred pieces of paper to trace everywhere the item has been and everyone who’s handled it. Some of the handwriting may be illegible. When a recall is underway you won’t have time to sort through it. Integrated business software generally comes with good search functionality so you can find what you need straight away.
- Simplified complexity. When a pallet of apples is received in the warehouse, then moved to another warehouse, peeled, diced and turned into five different finished products, the contents of hundreds of pallets can end up on store shelves at any one time.We know you’re already able to trace ingredients back to their origins because that’s a legal requirement, but it can be made so much easier with software that tracks every lot number at every stage of receipt, storage, production and distribution. With the right software you can accomplish in minutes what would otherwise take hours or days.
- Easier mock recalls. These are never fun, but when you use software that can see into all corners of your business, mock recalls become much easier. You can save time and money as well as mitigate your risk and gain peace of mind.
- Prevention. As great as reliable traceability and recall features are, it would obviously be better not to have to recall things in the first place. Integrated business software for your food company can play a role here, too, leveraging technology to make it practical and valuable to perform quality and safety checks throughout your production process.Look for software that lets you specify your own standards and checkpoints. The best solutions do much more than just record compliance; they’re integrated into your production process so the next step can’t proceed until the check is complete.
These are just a few of the ways dedicated business software can help a food company mitigate food safety risk, improve operational efficiency and help management sleep better at night. Different solutions exist for companies of different sizes and levels of complexity, so there’s no reason to persevere with paper and a chaotic pandemonium of Excel files. Let technology help you with these necessities so you can concentrate on building your business.
Interested in learning more about traceability and recall readiness?
Check out the JustFood white paper, A Manufacturer’s Guide to Food Traceability Software to learn more about how you can leverage technology to better trace your materials throughout production and improve your recall readiness.