Tag Archives: supply chain management

Melody Ge, Kestrel Management
FST Soapbox

Supply Chain Management 101

By Melody Ge
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Melody Ge, Kestrel Management

Supply chain management is becoming more and more relevant to small and entrepreneurial food businesses, particularly related to FSMA requirements that are required to be fully implemented by this September. To meet these requirements, it is important for small businesses to understand:

  • Applicable FSMA requirements
  • How to develop a supplier approval program
  • What challenges companies may encounter and tips to overcome them
  • How to find an appropriate starting point to develop a supply chain management program

Supply Chain Management Program

1. Receiving facility: A facility that is subject to preventive controls and supply-chain program and that manufacturers/processes raw materials or ingredients that it receives from a supplier.
2. Supplier: The establishment that manufacturers/processes the food, raises the animal, or grows the food that is provided to a receiving facility without further manufacturing/processing by another establishment, except for further manufacturing/processing that consists solely of the addition of labeling or similar activity of a de minimis nature.
Food manufacturers need to develop and implement a supply chain management program, including supply chain preventive control, to control those potential hazards identified that shall be controlled by the suppliers when receiving all raw materials and ingredients. As defined in the actual FDA regulation, a supply management program will only be considered as a preventive control when it is linked to a potential food safety hazard in the raw materials and incoming ingredients. It is the supply-chain-applied control (21 CFR 117.3). As a receiving facility, you have the right to ask your suppliers for all related information associated with the food safety hazards that you identified from your own food safety plan.

What should be in your supply chain management program or supply-chain-applied control?

  1. There needs to be a series of credentials for approval. This can be determined by you, depending on the hazards and product risks. For example, a third-party audit result or a certification from a reliable audit can serve this purpose.A few questions can be considered, including whether suppliers have a recall plan, whether suppliers have an existing food safety plan to control hazards, or whether suppliers have a non-conforming products control plan. Often these can be checked and verified when a third-party audit or third-party accredited audit is conducted. Once a supply chain management program becomes a preventive control, the raw materials can only be supplied by an approved supplier.
  2. Monitoring activities and verifications should be applied to those approved suppliers in your supply chain. This can be done throughout the business history and supplier performance. You need to demonstrate how you continue monitoring the supplier approval status, and suppliers must demonstrate how their products remain guaranteed. Public records (e.g., warning letters), sample testing incoming goods, and customer audits are commonly utilized in the industry. However, in FSMA, when an approved supplier is supplying a high-risk raw material, such as one with SAHCODHA (Serious Adverse Health Consequences or Death to Humans or Animal) risks, an onsite (your own audit or third-party (accredited) audit) is required to be conducted as the verification activity. This must be completed annually unless you can provide a risk-based justification of other types validated verification activities.
  3. Afterwards, as a receiving facility, you need to consider and develop procedures for non-conforming suppliers:
  • How do you require your suppliers maintain their “approval” status in your supply chain management program throughout the business years?
  • When one approved supplier is unapproved or experiencing unexpected incidents, how do you manage back-up suppliers?
  • What criteria do back-up suppliers need to meet prior to supplying the product(s)/ingredient(s)?

Melody Ge will be presenting “What Have We Learned After FSMA Implementation?” at the 2018 Food Safety ConsortiumDifferent products will have different approaches based on facility business operations. However, one thing remains the same. The justification must ensure that potential hazards identified from the original approved supplier are controlled when a back up supplier is used.

4. Last but not least, just like all other programs and controls, records and documentation are important! Records must be kept for all parts of the supply chain management program, including plan, monitoring, verification and any corrective actions that have been conducted. These data are precious to your facility over time, as supplier performance and trending could be a strong reference to see whether adjustment or modifications should be applied to your supply chain management.

There may be challenges collecting information or approving suppliers, but never forget the intention of a supply chain management program—to control the food safety hazards of incoming goods. Your supply chain management program will allow you to demonstrate that you have made all efforts to control the hazards that could potentially arise from your supply chain.


  1. FDA FSMA Preventive Controls to Human Foods. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/fsma/ucm334115.htm

How Digital Technology Streamlines Supply Chain Management

By Alex Bromage
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Today’s food and beverage producers must deliver to exact requirements and provide safe products of the highest quality. In an increasingly global and connected world, the emergence of new business models, such as Amazon Food and the offer of direct deliveries to consumers, is creating ever more complex supply chains for manufacturers. The number of steps between the raw ingredients and the consumer is increasing, creating new and more numerous challenges inside the production process for food and beverage manufacturers. Thus it is important to remain committed to constantly innovating and developing new services and technologies to support customers with increasing supply chain complexities. This includes systems to help track products as they enter the factory environment, when they leave the factory, and when they enter the retail distribution chain. The digitalization of management processes and services, alongside basic management processes, is playing an important role in helping food and beverage manufacturers to manage these complexities.

Learn more about keeping track of your suppliers at the Food Safety Supply Chain Conference | June 5–6, 2017 | Rockville, MD | Attend in-person or virtuallySupplier Base

The first step to keeping food safe starts before the raw ingredients enter the processing facility. The safety of raw material is so important because it impacts the end quality of the product. Pasteurization and heat treatment can only improve the product so much, and therefore the higher quality the raw ingredients, the better the final product.

Basic management processes must be in place at this stage of the supply chain, ensuring the good management of the supplier base. Working closely with customers to implement supplier framework audits that allow them to benchmark their suppliers’ performance is crucial. Through this supplier framework customers to collaborate transparently with their suppliers, encouraging the open sharing of information and traceability in the supply chain.

Production Process and Entering the Retail Distribution Chain

Increased sophistication of tools in the industry is also enabling high-level traceability at the packaging stage. This means that food and beverage manufacturers are tracking and tracing products right the way through to the consumer. One such available tool can enable food and beverage manufacturers to program their entire plant through a single data management system, and improve product traceability internally. Specifically designed for the food and beverage industry, specific software provides a user-friendly interface through which customers can control their entire operations—from raw material reception to finished packaged and palletized products. Streamlines data collection facilitates accurate data analysis to ensure that safety standards are maintained throughout the production process.

Using unique package identification technology, such as a 2-D barcode on packages, information can be processed this information and the product(s) tracked throughout the supply chain. For example, if a manufacturer were to experience a food safety issue in a certain production batch, the tool would be able to track all products in that batch and support making a recall. In addition to improving functions on a reactive basis, a reporting function, is designed to provide data to help prevent issues from happening again in the future, mitigating against food safety risks.

As new business models continue to emerge and more parties become involved in the production process, the complexity of the supply chain will only increase. Digital strategies alongside basic management processes have an increasingly important role to play in helping food and beverage manufacturers manage these complexities to ensure that their food is safe for the end consumer.