Like many things in daily life, food safety is something that many consumers and customers take for granted. Whenever we buy food or beverages in a shop, business, or restaurant, many assume and presuppose that the food industry has followed the appropriate food safety standards and regulations. Of course, any companies or manufacturers in the food and beverage industry must make food safety compliance a top priority. Should the beverage or food industry not make food safety compliance throughout the entire supply chain a priority, numerous consequences can stem from this. These consequences include the spread of foodborne illnesses and the contamination of food/beverages. This could cause a costly product recall and loss of potential or actual customers. Thankfully, due to improvements in technology and software development, companies can now harness the power of food safety management software (also known as food safety compliance software) that can bring them a wide array of benefits. Let’s see how this software can help any food or beverage business in more detail.
What is Food Safety Compliance Software?
Before the development of food safety software, companies had to rely on pen & paper, spreadsheets, and legacy software to manage food safety compliance. However, with the development of advanced cloud-based food safety software systems, companies can now ensure food safety compliance like never before! Thus, food safety management software is a series of software solutions that help monitor and manage food safety throughout the supply chain. Crucially, food safety software solutions have become the backbone of many companies’ entire food safety compliance system. Essentially, this system constitutes a process and set of procedures for ensuring food safety at every stage – such as preparation, transportation, storage, and handling. Food safety software is thus instrumental for this system to operate smoothly.
For example, food safety compliance software means owners and employees have better visibility over the food safety process wherever they are. This includes employees having access to safety schedules from mobile devices; moreover, employees will receive automatic alerts should any critical safety process (such as storing goods at the correct temperature) require corrective action.
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Why Do You Need Food Safety Software?
For a start, food safety management software is critical for enhancing the protection of consumers. As mentioned above, increased visibility over your food products is vital for quality control, protecting consumers, and saving costs by ensuring less food is spoiled. Food safety software is also essential for ensuring brand protection. Should any brand have a food safety incident, customers will avoid them in the future. But, food safety software minimizes this risk and helps ensure compliance with regulations. Additionally, food safety software is necessary for any business wishing to save time and boost employee productivity. A significant portion of food safety management involves document management and document control. However, should these important documents be in paper format, they are liable to get lost or damaged, wasting valuable time. By contrast, saving compliance documentation has never been more straightforward with food safety compliance management software!
Benefits of an Efficient Food Safety Software
FDA Compliance with Food Safety Modernization Act
The Food Safety Modernization Act constitutes an essential set of regulations for food and beverages produced in the United States. Crucially, one of the Food Safety Modernization Act requirements is the need for compliance documentation at every stage. This documentation is necessary to prove that businesses, farms, or process manufacturers have completed compliance protocols. Moreover, this documentation is vital in the event of an external audit.
Therefore, for audits, document management is critical. However, it is a big hassle to waste time locating forms (and ensuring they are audit-ready). This is why any business should use the advanced mobile forms provided by the NonStop Suite. The forms are entirely electronic, meaning they will be easy to locate. Moreover, these forms are audit ready and are FDA CFR Part 11 compliant, a necessary standard and series of regulations that must be adhered to by any Food, Beverage, and Life Science company (including pharmaceutical industries).
Automating Control and Compliance Processes
One of the most significant benefits of food safety management software is its ability to automate essential but menial quality control and quality management processes. Thus, should any quality control or quality management processes need immediate attention, your business will receive automated alerts indicating corrective action is required. Again, the NonStop Suite can help your business here. For example, product recalls become far more manageable when using the NonStop suite as users have access to the same data via the centralized database. This means that users from different sectors in a business can work together efficiently and seamlessly. Not only is this convenient for aiding the product recall process, but overall productivity and quality control will also be boosted in your business.
Prevention Against Hazards
No matter where food products are located in the supply chain, prevention against hazards that can impact food quality is a top priority. Thankfully, as you have more visibility of the quality control processes (such as having an overview of food temperatures) with food safety software, management can issue corrective actions before an incident becomes a disaster.
Automatic Food Safety Schedules
As mentioned above, food safety software solutions can automatically alert businesses whenever quality/safety checks are missed. This feature also ensures that employees follow all control points regarding food safety.
Reduced Supply Chain Costs
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising supply chain costs have become a frequent news item. However, with food safety management software, your business can reduce supply chain costs at a critical moment. For a start, food safety software enables the collection of vital data from every stage in the food supply chain; subsequently, companies can use this data to lower supply chain costs. For example, some of this collected data include every order a company has made. Thus, with this aggregated data, companies can perfect inventory control techniques, meaning they’ll never miss orders (or order excessive quantities of food products) again.
Enhanced Quality Control
As previously mentioned, quality control responses are crucial to preserving food safety. Essentially, quality management measures can be implemented by businesses in real-time with the aid of food safety management software. The most critical feature of enhanced quality control is a centralized dashboard that helps monitor food quality. Additionally, this dashboard can help monitor aging quality incidents and a business’s supply chain.
Software solutions also streamline communication between employees. For example, employees can send compliance documentation via the software solution; owners, in turn, can approve documents and send them to the relevant employees. Furthermore, with increased connectivity between employees, preventive and corrective issues can be implemented far quicker and more efficiently, as incident details and subsequent corrective actions can be passed through a communication system that all users can access.
As mentioned, a central feature of food safety management software is a centralized database where employees can share data. When employees have access to essential data, better business decisions can be made by employees and management in real-time. From management’s perspective, when employees provide high-quality data, they can build better systems to ensure HACCP compliance. Moreover, food safety management software also has ‘screen readers.’ Essentially, screen readers are a form of technology that ‘convert’ (or render) written text/images into speech. This means that visually impaired and blind people can use this software.
How to Find the Right Food Safety Management Software?
Finding the best food safety software (or best process manufacturing software solutions) can be an arduous task. Thus, when searching for the ideal solution, keep these tips in mind.
Devise A Clear Strategy With A Set Desired Outcome
When purchasing a solution, it is better to buy one that is scalable (in other words, the solution should be able to grow as the business grows). It is no use purchasing a solution that cannot support an increase in user base should your business grow. Thus, before buying any software solutions, be sure they can sufficiently support your business needs and long-term goals.
Evaluate Customer Support
In all probability, the users of any solution will require technical support from the software vendor. Thus, it is a good idea to check whether the vendors support their customers with technical matters.
Identify Your Required Budget – Conservatively
Of course, the solution your business purchases must be within your allocated budget. Moreover, vendors have different pricing plans that could impact your decision-making. These plans include a perpetual license, annual, or monthly subscription.
Collect & Review Software Reviews
Before purchasing a solution, ask the software vendor for case studies or success stories involving their product use. Of course, you should research customer reviews of the software product, too.
Should your business require assistance setting up software systems, or you are looking for additional add-ons for your existing food safety management processes, you should contact the NonStop Group. As mentioned above, the NonStop Suite supplies electronic forms compliant with FDA CFR Part 11 regulations. In addition, as the NonStop Suite enables users to work on a centralized database, information about food and beverage safety can be easily and seamlessly shared by employees. Thus, compliance with FDA regulations becomes significantly streamlined using the NonStop Suite capabilities.