Recently at the QADEX Supplier Approval Management Conference I had an interesting debate around how customer specifications and supplier accreditation have become inextricably linked since the introduction of vulnerability assessments & TACCP/VACCP to the food industry.
Historically supplier accreditation tended to be the domain of the supplier approval management team with the principal supplier accreditation of interest being focussed on food safety through BRC/GFSI. There would be other certifications such as organic, halal, kosher etc collected and managed but the links to customer specifications were sometimes quite loose and in some cases non existent.
Typically there would be a team of specification technologists responsible for collating all of the data required to complete customer specifications for own label products on the various retailer portals. These teams are often working in a void, pulling data from various sources in a frenzied rush to get the customer specifications submitted and approved by the retailer. Job done, rush on to the next specification. But what about various claims which have been made on the customer specification which may find their way onto pack copy and product labels?
Claims such as
- Made with Cornish butter
- Containing British beef
- Contain Sicilian lemon oil
- Contains Fair trade cocoa powder
- Contains palm oil from sustainable sources
As an industry we have become adept at making claims that introduce a fuzzy warm halo around the product that we are trying to sell, but sometimes the link between these pack copy claims and supplier approval management and supplier accreditation tracking can be loose.
Compounding this challenge is the fact some claims can be supported by supplier accreditation but many cannot and rely on other techniques such as supplier audit and chain of custody.
Trying to manage all of these claims using manual documents on Excel, Word and various emails is becoming increasingly difficult and risky.
Get it wrong and implications could range from audit non-conformance, through product recall and into your business being accused and publicly tried by a frenzied media as a food fraudster.
Thankfully QADEX have the solution with a market leading range of modules covering supplier approval management, supplier accreditation management, raw material specifications and about to be complemented by the release of our ground breaking vulnerability assessment module which will join all the dots from obtaining supplier specifications to completing customer specifications to a required standard to protect your Brand.
To find out more about how these modules can reduce risk and costs in your food business give us a shout.