SafetyChain Software

Six Steps to Getting a Handle on Cost of Quality

By Barbara Levin
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SafetyChain Software

Food quality management is complex and the overall economics of quality are often underestimated.

The importance of food safety is understood and hopefully, unquestioned. It is industry’s responsibility to protect consumers and of course, a major food safety event can ruin a company’s brand and financial health.

Yet when it comes to food quality management, the complexities and overall economics of quality are often underestimated. While lapses in food safety can destroy a brand, it is the consistent adherence to food quality attributes that build brand loyalty. This is why that brand of bread always has that certain softness, or why that French fry always has the same taste regardless of where you buy it. And that is why manufacturers continue to purchase, or decide not to purchase, ingredients from certain suppliers.

Food quality management can often be more complex than food safety. Think 3 CCPs vs. 30 quality attributes, for example. And, Cost of Quality can have the biggest impact on a food company’s overall key performance indicators (KPIs), profitability and brand reputation. Non-conformances in food quality often cause the most rework and the most customer rejections, which has a significant impact on what can be referred to as the Economics of Food Quality Management.

Since most food safety and quality assurance (FSQA) operations are often “data rich and information poor” — meaning they don’t have an effective way to do trending and benchmarking on the volume of quality data they collect — it can be difficult to fully understand, and therefore reduce, Cost of Quality.

Getting a handle on Cost of Quality is a process. These six steps are a good place to start:

  • Define quality in your organization
  • Determine the right metrics for a better understanding of Cost of Quality
  • Improve transparency and visibility of your processes, products and supplier quality requirements
  • Fully understand where your quality risks come from
  • Make your quality data both accessible and actionable for continuous improvement to reduce Cost of Quality
  • Understand what tools are available, such as automation technologies, that can improve performance and lower Cost of Quality

SafetyChain is hosting a complimentary webinar, “The Economics of Food Quality Management: Understanding and Reducing Cost of Quality,” on June 25. The event features Lamont Rumbers, president and founder of Fully Integrated Quality Solutions, and former senior director of quality for Sam’s Club. Rumbers will discuss these six steps and much more. Learn more about the webinar and register.

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