Tag Archives: RizePoint

Dallas Henderson, RizePoint

Five Food Safety Changes That Are Here to Stay

By Dallas Henderson
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Dallas Henderson, RizePoint

While the COVID-19 pandemic caused monumental disruption and chaos for the food industry, the silver lining is that it resulted in five positive (and permanent) changes as we move forward in our “new normal.” A common denominator for all these changes is technology, which is driving more informed decisions, additional transparency, training support, auditing improvements and increased collaboration.

1. Technology Is Making us Safer and Smarter

The pandemic led to increased use of and comfort with technology, and tech tools are game changers when it comes to elevating safety and quality. Food businesses are increasingly using digital tools for critical tasks, such as inspections and line checks, and tech solutions make these efforts faster, easier and more accurate than manual processes. Tech solutions can provide comprehensive views of a business—by location or across an enterprise—helping operators identify and resolve issues quickly and completely.

Many operators are relying on tech tools and software to review and analyze real-time data so they can make more informed business decisions. For instance, they can easily access historical sales patterns to help improve a variety of operational decisions, from staffing decisions to re-order quantities.

Digital solutions allow brands to streamline operations, improve safety and quality management, manage (or cut) costs and improve inventory, scheduling and ordering.

2. A More Effective Approach to Audits

Historically, food businesses relied on annual or semi-annual in-person inspections but, as it turns out, these traditional audits were not an ideal approach. Many food business employees dreaded these inspections, viewing independent auditors with trepidation. Employees worried they would be punished for any violations that the auditor found. The auditors looked for infractions but didn’t help teams correct areas of noncompliance or educate them on how to mitigate risks. There was no collaboration or education associated with the inspections, and the audits felt punitive and demoralizing.

During the pandemic, travel restrictions meant that food businesses had to figure out new ways to inspect their facilities. As a result, employees had to collaborate to identify (and fix) issues and improve compliance through more frequent self-inspections. More organizations used a remote auditing approach, which allowed employees to interact with auditors, ask questions, get immediate feedback and learn more about the process.

When employees were involved in the inspections, they became more invested, engaged and empowered. They started to feel responsible for their organizations’ safety and quality successes, rather than feeling accountable for mistakes. Once they better understood what to look for, they could watch for safety and quality infractions during their daily shifts and correct any issues immediately.

This combination approach (traditional, remote and self-audits) provides significant benefits, including greater oversight and data collection, more frequent inspections and more employee engagement. Moving forward, many brands will use all three auditing methods and enjoy many benefits of doing so.

3. Collaborative Cultures Are the New Norm

The rise of collaborative coaching is a very exciting and positive development that has evolved over the past few years. As mentioned above, food businesses are moving towards a continuous quality model with more frequent self-assessments and collaborative coaching in addition to traditional onsite audits. Additionally, many brands are hiring safety and quality coaches, who work with locations to teach their teams more about proper protocols, empowering them to take more responsibility for these efforts.

These coaches don’t just lecture employees about the safety rules, they explain why the rules are so critical, helping teams understand the importance of compliance. They also make employees feel like part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. This effort helps build strong food safety cultures and environments of continuous learning, while also boosting compliance and reducing risk. The result is safer businesses, products and practices.

4. The Rise of Transparency

Guests and employees want transparency about how brands are keeping them safe and healthy. They want to see businesses taking new COVID-19-related protocols seriously, with regular monitoring of CDC recommendations, constant cleaning and sanitizing, regular handwashing, employee temperature checks, etc. During times of COVID spikes, they want to see employees wearing masks and practicing proper social distancing. Gone are the days of employees being expected to work while ill.

In addition to heightened safety transparency, many organizations are increasing data transparency to improve and streamline operations. Brands that use digital tools and software have better, more accurate and holistic views of data. They can use this information to boost efficiency, cut costs, schedule smarter, maintain accurate inventory and make more informed operational decisions, as opposed to relying on gut instinct.

5. Increased Need for Training and Cross-training

Food safety training was essential before the pandemic hit, and now ongoing training has become a top priority. Every employee should be educated about food safety rules, COVID-19 protocols and how to correctly use tech tools to maximize safety and minimize risks. Employers must make training part of each new employee’s onboarding process—especially as our industry experiences record high turnover—but don’t view it as a “one and done” endeavor. Training should be ongoing.

Food providers are using technology to push out reminders and updates directly to employees’ phones so that resources are available right at their fingertips and everyone gets consistent information. Due to COVID-19 and the ongoing worker shortage, we have also learned the importance of cross-training. Employees should be trained to handle multiple roles and responsibilities, so if someone is out sick (or quits), staff members can be deployed wherever they’re needed.

Employers and employees are moving away from viewing training as a chore and instead viewing it as an opportunity to improve knowledge and behaviors. The key to long-term improvement and compliance is ongoing training and a willingness to take immediate corrective actions if/when employees aren’t following protocols to ensure compliance.

There is no denying that the COVID pandemic has been tremendously disruptive to our industry. However, positive changes have emerged from the chaos. The food industry has shown incredible resiliency, flexibility and tenacity throughout this difficult time, and has adopted new protocols, leveraged innovative technologies, increased transparency and embraced collaboration. These changes will likely be permanent, which is good news for the health and safety of our guests, employees and businesses.

Kari Hensien, RizePoint

Ask the Expert: Now Is the Time to Modernize Audits to Reduce Risk & Audit Fatigue

Kari Hensien, RizePoint

Q: Why would a company think about changing auditing methods if their current process is working well?

Kari Hensien: Simply put, you don’t know what you don’t know. Many companies believe they have a strong auditing program because they have not yet seen a problem. However, that doesn’t mean that an unsafe or noncompliant behavior hasn’t happened, it only means that it hasn’t surfaced.

Problems may arise that are more difficult to catch in an audit. Factories are tired from repeating the same audit for multiple clients, auditors are exhausted from long days and doing the same work twice, and this type of audit fatigue can lead to audits being rushed or errors being introduced in data entry.

Companies have gotten comfortable with more manual auditing processes – clipboards, spreadsheets, binders – as they’ve evolved over several decades. Any change to the status quo will cause some degree of discomfort, so there’s an understandable reluctance to make a change without a major catalyst.

In this case though, the catalyst may not have been within a company, but rather changes to the industry the company operates in. Regulations are stronger than ever, supply chains have become more complex, and suppliers and brands are asking more questions about where their food comes from and how it’s processed. Further, standards bodies have begun the process of requiring digital audit submission for better tracking and that trend is likely to continue.

These changes are happening because manual or traditional auditing creates blind spots in the quality, safety, and risk management program.

  • Data collected manually is difficult to aggregate, which makes spotting trends difficult and delays catching potential issues before they become problems.
  • Manual audits create audit fatigue because results can’t be shared across certifying bodies or inspectors, and suppliers must complete the same audit for each customer.
  • Corrective actions become time consuming and difficult to track without automation.

Q: What options are available to strengthen audit programs?

Hensien: Companies should not have to give up an auditing program they like to adopt new technology. In fact, having a strong process is an advantage when looking to improve the process already in place. This means bringing in technology will be additive rather than disruptive.

Companies that are looking to modernize their quality and risk auditing programs have a variety of options. Digital auditing solutions run the gamut from simple online forms to full enterprise platforms. Here are some of the features companies may find in modern auditing solutions.

  • Digital auditing forms. These are one step above the manual process. Auditors can input data directly into the form and skip the step of then having to transcribe results.
  • Comprehensive reporting. Holistic, timely reporting is a key advantage of moving away from manual audits, and more enterprise quality management platforms will include it. A centralized data warehouse of audit data makes it easy for companies to have visibility into whatever matters most.
  • Data integration. For companies monitoring large supply chains, complex business structures, and external quality indicators, integrating multiple data sources gives a comprehensive look at the factors that contribute to quality and safety. Data integrations bring in information from partners, third-party auditors, and more to get a full view of critical information.
  • Automated corrective actions. Mistakes are inevitable, but how they are handled can make or break a business. Having corrective actions, and their follow up, automated when something is out of compliance takes the guesswork out of whether it’s been handled effectively.

What matters most is that any company looking to improve their existing model take the time to identify what risks exist and how new technology can help mitigate those. For example, not every company needs to bring in data from external sources. But if a standards body they work with recently began requiring digital audit submissions, then digital forms are a logical choice to avoid any audit-fatigue related errors when transcribing data into the submission portal.

Finding the capabilities available to reveal the blind spots that existed in the manual auditing process reduces the friction and fatigue in auditing. Administrators are able to better see and understand all parts of quality and safety management, auditors can spend more time thoughtfully working with those being auditing, and suppliers and factories can share digital audit results with multiple customers rather than repeating the same audit many times.

Learn more about how audit fatigue affects the effectiveness of quality and safety management programs, and how to fight audit fatigue in this free whitepaper.

 

Kari Hensien, RizePointAbout Kari Hensien

As president of RizePoint, Hensien is championing a new continuous quality initiative. Since travel and interpersonal interactions have been devastated by COVID-19, it’s been challenging for businesses to obtain regular third-party audits, which are integral to access and analyze key data and ensure safety compliance across the enterprise. Hensien is facilitating an increased self-assessment auditing model, where businesses and their locations can use RizePoint’s digital platform themselves, resulting in more frequent audits and broader visibility during the pandemic and beyond.

Content sponsored by RizePoint.

Bryce Romney, RizePoint

Ask the Expert: Identifying the Best Fit in Quality Management Software

Bryce Romney, RizePoint

Q: What leads a company to decide a quality management solution is necessary?

Bryce Romney: For many companies, the catalyst for beginning the procurement process is needing to better integrate with data across the brand. Safety and quality checks have traditionally been managed with clipboards, spreadsheets, and email. While these may have their place in a modern quality model, fully manual processes make it difficult to aggregate, visualize, and use data effectively as a company grows.

Companies may also start looking to a quality management software when:

  • Their supply chain is expanding and it’s no longer possible to track suppliers and vendors manually.
  • Specific certification bodies require digital audit submission and converting from manual to digital has become too time consuming.
  • Corrective actions are not being effectively tracked as a part of the continuous improvement process.
  • Other departments have begun modernizing and integrating data across the company has become difficult.

In essence, many companies look to quality management software when it becomes difficult to track quality with more traditional processes as the company grows.

Q: What common missteps do companies make when selecting a vendor?

Romney: One of the biggest issues I see companies make is believing the right quality management software will give them an effective quality model. No software will fix a broken quality system or create a good system where one doesn’t exist. It’s critical, then, to ensure you go into the procurement process with a good quality and safety model in place. If there are things that aren’t working now, automating them won’t help. Get consensus from your team on what the quality and safety framework should be before streamlining it with quality management software.

Something else I frequently see is having the wrong people involved in procurement, or not ensuring the correct teams have a voice in the process. Narrowing your vendor selection to the final choice involves more than the director of operations or head of supply chain. Ultimately, the stakeholders that should get involved include whichever executive will give final approval, someone from the IT team who will head implementation, the team that will have to manage the software, representatives from any departments who may interface with quality, and someone to represent the needs of any suppliers, factories, or other partners who may have to use it.

Finally, I see that often people try to begin without a clear idea of their goals and desired outcomes in mind when bringing in new software. When you assemble the correct group of stakeholders, it’s critical to work on creating a specific list of goals, and a corresponding list of necessary features and functions. Having specific needs is key to narrowing an initial broad selection to the shortlist to your final selection. It allows you to avoid emotional decision making and focus on which vendor can meet your company’s needs. After all, as the Cheshire Cat in “Alice in Wonderland” says, “If you don’t know where you want to go, then it doesn’t really matter which path you take.”

Q: Quality management systems are increasingly integrated with external partners, vendors, and suppliers. How do you ensure the vendor of choice is able to accommodate all the needs of a local and/or global brand?

Romney: Start with identifying which partners or suppliers will use audits or corrective actions within the software. Are there certifications they use that are already integrated with any of the vendors you’re considering? Do you need to be able to import audits from disparate systems into a single system, and can the new software vendor accommodate that?

When working with a global supply chain, you should also consider the complexities of how the system will be used. Will you be able to get Wi-Fi or data connection in the farms or factories you’re monitoring, and can the software work offline? Do you have vendors with complex business hierarchies that the software will need to work with? Is a trained auditor using the software or will different locations need to have the usability to perform self-assessments?

Once you have a clear idea of what the answers to questions like these are, you can begin to understand which platform will best help you meet those needs. While you may not be able to find a single vendor who can meet all of your business needs, as well as those of your partners, the more you can accommodate in a single system the better. This will reduce the amount of work needed to integrate data between systems and build integrity across the quality team.

Need a step-by-step guide for buying Quality Management Software that’s right for your company? Download this FREE ebook: The Smart Buyer’s Guide to the Best Quality Management Software.

Bryce Romney, RizePointAbout Bryce Romney

Bryce Romney is Director of Product at RizePoint. People, problems and solutions. That’s what keeps Bryce excited about moving the RizePoint platform forward. New customer journeys toward solutions for real problems is where he loves to focus. With the world moving as fast as it does, technology enhancements making leaps every year, Bryce enjoys chasing big visions, while remembering to focus on real people and the problems they still face today in their jobs and lives.

Content sponsored by RizePoint.

Rizepoint Exhibiting at #2018FSC: A Better Supplier Quality Management Solution

RizePoint, a leading provider of brand, quality, and safety management software (QMS), will be exhibiting at Food Safety Consortium (FSC) in Chicago from November 13–15, 2018.

FSC is the first event where the company is demonstrating the new functionality for frictionless supplier onboarding and upgraded supplier quality management (SQM). This product enhancement helps managers in any industry onboard, track, and communicate with suppliers and vendors to help ensure regulatory and company standards compliance. Demonstrations will take place in booth 121 during exhibition hours.

“This expanded supplier quality solution further demonstrates RizePoint’s commitment to foster brand protection. We have enhanced the supplier onboarding experience, improved communication with suppliers, and made tracking compliance documents simple and easy.” – Frank Maylett, RizePoint

The update to the RizePoint enterprise compliance SaaS solution also includes:

  • Creating clear and simple onboarding workflows
  • Configuring forms and surveys based on your specific business needs
  • Building reports and dashboards that help you see into the health of supplier compliance
  • Setting due dates with automated alerts for expiring qualifying documents
  • Automating CAPA with triggered alerts and communications

About RizePoint

RizePoint offers a robust software solution that helps companies keep brand promises through their quality and compliance efforts. Our customers gather better data, see necessary actions earlier, and act faster to correct issues before they become costly liabilities. Considered the industry standard for food service, hospitality, and retail, RizePoint mobile and cloud-based solutions serve millions of audits every year. RizePoint is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. For more information, visit RizePoint.com.

About Food Safety Consortium

The Food Safety Consortium is a premier educational and networking event for food safety solutions. Attracting the most influential minds in Food Safety, the Consortium enables attendees to engage conversations that are critical for advancing careers and organizations alike. Visit with exhibitors to learn about cutting edge solutions, explore five diverse educational tracks for learning valuable industry trends, and network with industry executives to find solutions to improve quality, efficiency and cost effectiveness in an ever-changing, global food safety market. Learn more about FSC at http://foodsafetyconsortium.net/.