Your suppliers are one of the most important determinants of the success of your food business. If they do not adhere to regulations or safety practices, you may find your business in jeopardy. Recent laws, such as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), have increased the responsibilities and roles of food businesses in preventing foodborne disease outbreaks and ensuring food safety. The rule has set several stringent requirements on supply chain related activities, including mandatory documentation of important supplier activities for most businesses.
An article in Supply Chain Drive, “How the supply chain is adapting to FSMA” distills the content of FSMA into two basic questions:
What are the risks in your supply chain?
Who controls these risks?
A good example of how this plays out is seen in the Foreign Supplier Verification program of FSMA. This rule requires that importers of food and animal products “perform certain risk-based activities to verify that food imported into the United States has been produced in a manner that meets applicable U.S. safety standards”. Clearly, it would be near impossible to ensure compliance without having an effective supplier management system.
So, how do you establish a process that allows you to stay on top of critical supply chain activities? Below are some suggestions.
Start with a Hazard Analysis
There is no working around this step because it is required for every food business. It is not a task to be glazed over or to be performed haphazardly. The better you understand your products and identify the associated risks, the better equipped you are to prepare your supply chain to control those risks.
Identify all Supply Chain Regulations that Apply to Your Business
While the regulations may be extensive, not all the rules will apply to your business, and some may be more pertinent than others. It is important that you become acquainted with those critical regulations that can make or break your business, especially in the face of a crisis. You can create action steps for your suppliers based on the applicable regulations.
Define the Supplier Metrics You Need to Track
Once you have performed the hazard analysis and identified the regulations that apply to your business, you can better define the metrics you should track to ensure compliance. For example, the FSVP requires that importers perform the following activities: annual on-site audits of supplier facility, sampling and testing, and a review of the supplier’s relevant food safety records. If you have performed the hazard analysis, you can accurately tell which tests and safety practices that will give your business the most coverage.
Implement a Tech-driven Supplier Management System
The days of paper-based or multiple disjointed systems are long gone. Given the demands of recent regulations, you should choose a robust system that not only provides visibility into the key metrics you need to track, but one that also has the capacity to expand as your needs and supply chain grow.
FoodLogiQ provides all-in-one supply chain management and traceability solutions that help you monitor critical supply chain activities. With FoodLogiQ Connect, you gain full supply chain visibility and reduce the time it takes to manage your suppliers in half. To learn more about FoodLogiQ’s software solutions,request a demo.