Key Benefits of Using Technology to Manage GFSI Programs

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Jennifer Kinion
Contributing Writer

#4 in a series of posts about leveraging technology innovations to manage robust GFSI programs—and being audit-ready on demand. In this post, we review the challenges outlined in a previous post in this series and explore the benefits of using a comprehensive suite of technology solutions, like SafetyChain, to manage GFSI program challenges.

Challenge #1 – Mountains of Paper

A technology solution like SafetyChain helps you eliminate paper – and manage the mountains of documents generated by manual GFSI program management – by allowing you ease-of-access to current standards and the ability to archive older standards under secure authorization. This prevents using out-of-date scheme requirements, programs and forms, and helps you to:

  • Automatically manage an unlimited number of documents and forms across all locations and facilities – with automated version control for your scheme code and requirements

  • Electronically organize and cross reference all scheme requirements

  • Leverage advanced document management support for 21 CFR Part 11 compliance with electronic signatures and unalterable time/date stamps

Challenge #2 – Scheduling and Monitoring of Required Activities

With automated technology like SafetyChain's food safety and quality management solutions, all of your GFSI scheme requirements are built-in and easily crossed referenced, with automation rules that enable you to:

  • Create automated task schedules and workflow with electronic notifications and real-time comparison of data to specs

  • Receive realtime alerts to notify key stakeholders when non- compliance is detected allowing for immediate and documented CAPAs

  • Maintain electronic verifications – of SOPs, PRPs, CCPs and more – against specifications, with realtime alerts to key stakeholders when deviations are detected

  • Aggregate FSQA data to support hold-and-release or positive release programs

Challenge #3 – Continuous Improvement

With SafetyChain, all of your food safety and quality data is in one central repository. This includes but is not limited to supplier documents, test results, direct observation form data (via mobile app), non-conformance alerts, CAPAs, and more. This allows you to:

  • Analyze data for risk assessment and non-conformance trends in order to improve your programs, plans, and tasks frequency to minimize these risks

  • Create and maintain electronic reports for trending against Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

  • Conduct daily, “real-time” assessments with automated reports and live data monitoring – from temperature-reading equipment, for example – for ongoing continuous improvement 24/7

Challenge #4 – Audit Readiness

With SafetyChain's central repository of data, you are audit-ready on demand. The need to collect and organize documents from files, binders, and systems that do not integrate to “speak” to each other is eliminated, leaving you with the ability to:

  • Digitally and securely access all of the information you need for your audit – anywhere and at any time – from any device with internet access

  • Provide greater audit efficacy with records that have unalterable time/date stamps

In fact, many auditors now prefer electronic records due to the efficiencies and efficacy. Because most technology solutions allow for “partner portals” – companies may even choose to allow their GFSI certification bodies/auditors – even customers – to securely access configurable, company-defined segments of its FSQA auditable data.

The Value of "True" GFSI Audit Readiness

For a technology solution to support true GFSI audit readiness, it must do more than simply produce documents and records. It must help you with audit success. An comprehensive food safety and quality management system does this by ensuring that all your GFSI and FSQA program requirements are defined, scheduled, and carried out. By allowing non-conformances to be detected at the earliest point possible. By generating CAPAs and following them to completion. And by providing the tools to conduct real-time, in-depth analysis on FSQA data for continuous improvement.

Challenge #5 – Approved Vendor Programs

All GFSI schemes have requirements for vendor approval programs. Because SafetyChain handles FSQA (and therefore GFSI) requirements for “what comes in, what you do with it and where it’s going next” – it inherently has supplier compliance capabilities, which include the ability to:

  • Auto-manage vendor documents in a centralized, digital repository – eliminating mounds of paper

  • Track document expiration dates with auto-notifications to suppliers when updated documents are due

  • Automate supplier performance trending/score-carding to improve cost of goods made

  • Collect and analyze supplier test results against safety and quality specs in realtime – preventing non-compliant supplies from coming in or going into production

Want to learn more about how SafetyChain can help your company more effectively manage GFSI compliance and achieve audit readiness? Contact us today to request a solution demo, consultation, ROI calculation, and more!