Now there's an App for that...cleaning and sanitizing the production line.
Did a presentation for some folks last Friday, and scanning the trade presses today it would seem David Acheson of Leavitt Partners must have been in the crowd because he posted virtually the same message last month in Food Processing magazine - I suppose what makes him an industry expert is the ability to steal my ideas a month before they're presented in public...Just kidding.
Anyway, we were presenting where the FDA is going with new regulations designed to make our food supply safer. As with many oversight agencies, it would seem the answer to safer food would be more paperwork and documentation.
That's of course, a humorous oversimplification. It's really about process and since the inspector can't be in all places at all times to observe adherence to strict processes, the next best thing is a record document showing that everything was done and done well.
I was speaking to the point that creating documentation is a 'transaction' and we lower the costs of transactions through technology. It goes back to a story some years back, we were at a rapidly growing client company recommending new accounting software and the business owner got a bit flustered and said "Why do I need all this?" And my reply was, "You don't. Just go out and get lots of #2 pencils, a ream of green accounting tablets and hire 30 accounting clerks to hand enter everything." The point being, software makes handling the transactions a lot quicker than doing everything manually.
It's the same with transactions on the food manufacturing shop floor.
You can do it manually, with lots of paper, folks to file the paper, folks to look up the paper and hope that the guy filling out the original paper remembers to check off the right boxes on the day the inspector decides to audit....
Or you can apply technology. You get things done quicker, with more accurate documentation, and most importantly, with documents you can readily access, even on surprise audit day. And the information you gather becomes useful - instead of file cabinets of paper, you have trendable data to see which one of your cleaning crews is doing the same job in less time - a bit of cross training and suddenly cleanout downtime is replaced by uptime production - technology wins again.
In any case, the point being if you don't document something, it's as if it never happened - at least as far as the inspectors are concerned.
As the Food Safety and Modernization Act drove technology solutions in some of these giant operations, one area that was neglected was the records and documentation of cleanouts - especially some of the automated Clean In Place (CIP) processes - sure it happens every night - but how do you know
We're rolling out a mobile app designed to help create the documentation around the cleanout process in food manufacturing environments. Simple to use, affordable and scaleable. Automates the record keeping along with training enhancements, alerts when certain steps are missed, added inspection checkoffs - really a great application of technology to handle an area most manufacturers haven't really focused on - at least through the application of technology.
Let me know if you'd like to help design the next time saving App for Food Manufacturing.
You can contact Gene via GH@GeneHammons.com.
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