Non-Compliance in Food Safety Is High Risk for Everyone: What SIM & CLM Offers Food Services Industry in the Context of Third-Party Risk Management
Like many industries, the food service industry is challenged with having to adhere to regulatory compliance. However, unlike most industries, the impact of lack of compliance regarding quality and safety in the food supply chain is not only a business challenge that presents possible reputational damage, but can potentially pose a huge public health risk.
Food safety concerns for companies big and small are constantly on the mind of those most involved in the food services industry. Consider some of the following:
- Feb 23 – 2016: Mars Recalls Chocolate Products in 55 Countries
- July 10 – 2016: After Food Safety and Drug Scandals, Chipotle Seeks a Fresh Start
- Sept 9 – 2016: Hepatitis: An Outbreak Linked to Strawberries at a Smoothie Chain
In speaking about these topics at a recent food services conference with our partner, Arrowstream, this past August, it was clear to me that the fundamental challenges of food safety and traceability, supplier sourcing, and the evolving role of supply chain intelligence are some of the biggest issues in the industry today.
One recurring theme I heard from practitioners was the inability to easily collect and manage the proper information required for helping keep food safety programs in line, and easily maintaining the level of integrity that food service providers are striving for today.
Moreover, as part of the wider food safety initiatives, it seems certifying organizations are advocating more frequent certification renewals and the commitment of senior executives to promote food safety and continuous improvement within their food facilities. This in turn has put more pressure on food service organizations to improve the process of collecting certifying information from their suppliers.
Probably no other organization has as much impact globally in this regard as GFSI, the Global Food Safety Initiative. Formed in May 2000 and managed under The Consumer Goods Forum, GFSI provides thought leadership and guidance on food safety management systems necessary for safety along the supply chain.
Today, GFSI and its global partners audit and certify more than 100,000 food operations and facilities in 160 countries. Organizations seek to achieve certification to a GFSI- recognized plan by completing a successful third-party audit against any of the programs listed as being recognized by GFSI that includes, but is not limited to, anything from Farming of Animals to Pre-process Handling of Plant Products or the Production of Feed.
Therefore, to mitigate the challenges of ensuring food quality and improving overall food safety, food services companies are increasingly in need of automation and certification reminders that allow those responsible within the organization to keep on top of GFSI and similar requirements, audited frequently by certifying organizations and their affiliates.
In this regard, Determine is helping food services providers, including retail grocery chains and restaurants, improve the efficacy of managing their suppliers through the ability to build certification and contract management workflows directly into the onboarding and ongoing management of their supply base, while providing mechanisms to easily integrate supplier information from disparate sources.
For instance, as part of the analytics and SIM deployment effort at one retail grocery client, Determine helped develop over a dozen custom dashboards for linking information never before brought together in one place within the organization, including geo-locational understanding of risk based on non-compliance with GFSI, non-GFSI and other animal certifications. This provided hundreds of users tagged to key business units the ability to assess the risk and compliance metrics of over 50,000 suppliers.
With Determine, the company has also developed unique approaches for understanding the velocity of supplier onboarding efforts and the areas where high-risks were avoided through compliance overview planning and detailed dashboard design that includes integration with third-party data providers.
While maintaining regulatory compliance is clearly an ongoing concern for the food industry at large, bringing together the right supplier information that includes food safety along with other pieces of supplier information as part of “core source of truth” on supplier profiles, is essential for improving efficiencies for wider supplier information collection and management efforts. This means creating a process and systems approach that can help manage all supplier data collection efforts, which includes social compliance (diversity and sustainability), insurance information and supplier contracts, in conjunction with necessary food quality certifications.