SafetyChain Customer Insights: Algood Food Company

Brian Sharp
Contributing Writer
We sat down with SafetyChain customer, Jennifer Bencz, Vice President, Technical Services at Algood Food Company, to chat about the results being achieved with SafetyChain solutions. Algood is recognized throughout the United States as one of the premier packers of private label peanut butter, jellies, and preserves. Their markets also include industrial, contract manufacturing, food service, the U.S. government, and export.

How is Algood utilizing SafetyChain?

We're currently using SafetyChain for supplier compliance and for our receiving processes.

We're also using SafetyChain to record our risk assessments and approvals. We're still in the process of implementing SafetyChain, but we’ve gone live with several of our quality testing forms at both locations. We'll be moving on to implementing SafetyChain out on the production floor for our CCP and CQP monitoring and verification activities.

Now that you’ve gotten away from doing things manually, can you share some of the results that you're achieving with SafetyChain thus far?  

Our supplier approval process is becoming streamlined. Before it was all managed manually. All our supplier compliance activities are now managed in SafetyChain, providing a centralized repository to prove that our suppliers have been vetted and approved.

For instance, with supplier compliance, everything was manual from contacting our vendors via email to collect the documentation that we needed. All of the documents were saved onto a shared drive. We kept a spreadsheet to keep track of when documents were expiring, who was missing documents, what wasn't approved, what was approved. 

Now, that whole process flows through SafetyChain, so when a document expires, the vendor gets automatically notified and assigned a task to submit the updated document. We can see now in real time vs. our inefficient manual processes where it was very hard to keep track of and know where we were in terms of supplier compliance. Now we know exactly how many suppliers are compliant with our requests, how many are not, how many outstanding tasks that we have that are past due, how many tasks are coming due soon. Much easier—all online, we have a lot more visibility into where our suppliers are meeting our requirements.

You mentioned the word visibility, which brings to mind audits. What has been the impact in managing audits with SafetyChain?  

With internal audits, we've been using SafetyChain to see records and data. Definitely an improved process and being able to show that internal auditor – here are all of our records. Very easy to show the data, rather than having to go to multiple physical locations or multiple virtual locations on shared drives, all online in one place makes the process definitely easier. We haven't been through our SQF audit yet, that will be coming up in the next few months and we're excited to ‘test the system’, anticipate similar results!

When you mention easier, does that mean with SafetyChain the time to manage audits is faster as well?  

Faster, yes, definitely faster. I would say we're probably three times faster in terms of retrieving information.

How has it been working with the SafetyChain team?

The team has been really great to work with. Since kickoff meetings, we've been virtually meeting with our project team nearly twice a week. There's a lot of interaction, a lot of communication with the team. Even outside of those meetings, there's not a day that doesn't go by that we're not exchanging information to keep the project moving forward.

What we have seen is that as we're getting ready to convert a process to SafetyChain or a form to a digital version of that form, it's making us think about our process. "What's the objective? What are we trying to get out of the process? How can we make SafetyChain work in the best way?"

We’re asking ourselves "Is this the best way? Why are we collecting this data? Are we getting the data that we need to make decisions? Is there data being collected that has no value?” It has changed the way that we think quite a bit, and I think that that's been very positive.

Our project manager with SafetyChain has done a really good job of organizing our project and keeping things moving. She's been really great to work with.

For other internal stakeholders outside of your food safety and quality operations, has there been a benefit using SafetyChain?

We're using SafetyChain in our receiving process, so our receiving supervisors now have a lot more visibility into those receiving checks that need to happen. Before the data was not readily available to them, as it was just all paper. You couldn't really see trends. You couldn't see any issues that might be happening with a particular carrier. SafetyChain makes it a lot easier for me in terms of preparing information for our senior management team, especially with the newer Analytic tools.

It’s great that Algood is a SQF level 3 facility. Though with SQF’s new Edition 8, managing the quality code is a bit different including utilizing SPC (Statistical Process Control) to manage your processes. With SafetyChain new analytic tool that includes SPC, we hope to be able to help Algood meet your new SQF requirements!

SQF Edition 8, yes, there was some really significant change, both from the food safety side and the quality side. I really think that the quality is going to have a huge impact as it's asking a lot more from companies that have been previously qualified as Level 3. As mentioned, SPC is part of the code now and that's something that I think is going to be really important. This is something we've been thinking about, as we design our forms, is using SafetyChain to collect the data, and using the analytic tool and how do we tie that in and incorporate SPC moving forward.

Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your insights and thoughts on SafetyChain. Algood has been a great customer and partner of SafetyChain and we look forward to continuing to help your food safety and quality team achieve great results. 

Sure, it's been a pleasure to share our experience. We're really excited to move out of the Stone Age with SafetyChain!

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