Improving Traceability With Work Process Management in Food and Beverage Manufacturing

By leveraging Electronic Work Instructions and Exception Management, you can reduce variation in performance, cost and quality—for more consistent work processes and better brand protection. While food and beverage companies are expected to deliver more every day with tighter margins, traceability – and having deep knowledge about what is occurring on the plant floor – is more important than ever. Traceability is imperative to avoiding and minimizing quality issues that can result in disastrous product recalls and harm to brand equity. There are many variables that affect the availability and reliability of data on the plant floor and throughout the supply chain. Fundamentally, every food manufacturing environment contains a mix of automated and manual interactions between equipment and personnel. These production processes may not be fully documented and can include extra steps and resources. As such, they are difficult to track and trace – and difficult to adapt to changing business needs. Additionally, when detailed HACCP procedures and SOPs are in place, it can be difficult to monitor compliance with them. New operators may not follow SOPs properly – or systems may not be in place that record both automated and manual data. For example, a HACCP procedure may require an operator to verify an oven temperature or, in another case, stop an oven chain if an internal food temperature is not high enough, but the records of the actions may be incomplete. Electronic work process management captures the manual data entry that is necessary on the plant floor and connects it with equipment, people and systems. Food manufacturers can track both manual and automated processes in real time, capturing data and creating a critical infrastructure for taking immediate corrective action. In the event of a recall, work process management enables the availability of historic production data on batches/lots, equipment set up, validated calibrations, operators and more. Furthermore, companies can not only minimize the impact of a recall, but can also minimize the opportunities for having a recall in the first place by improving production processes.

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