Although they are rarely recognized as uch, most food manufacturers and suppliers have two completely separate operational excellence initiatives. They
have a food safety program administered by
the quality assurance department — regarded
by company executives as a “cost of doing
business” or brand insurance policy — that’s
tasked with achieving and maintaining various quality certifications. And they have a
self-funding lean or Six-Sigma-based continuous improvement (CI) program that’s primarily
focused on cost containment.
By uniting these two efforts, we believe that
food safety programs can provide customers
with certification assurances while building
a culture of process discipline, continuous
improvement and employee engagement.
While it will not address all certification criteria
(e.g., GMO, allergens, and recall procedures),
combining food safety and operational excel-
lence initiatives will increase organizational
flexibility, provide standardized practices and
and reduce oper-
a Hazard Analysis
and Critical Control Point
(HACCP) program utilizing lean
tools will reinforce the discipline and
documentation required for food safety process
certification. Relevant tools include standard
work, 5S (organization and housekeeping), and
total productive maintenance (TPM).
Standard work: Coupled with layered audits
and uniform training across shifts, standard
work helps ensure that employees follow designated procedures. When standard work is
combined with Kaizen events, improved standard cleaning procedures can be introduced
and sustained, increasing the effectiveness and
efficiency of cleaning processes associated
with product changeovers and line startups.
5S (sort, straighten, shine, standardize, sustain): A good 5S program will reduce the daily
time required to find and use cleaning and
inspection supplies and equipment. It will provide ongoing documented audits and ensure
compliance with pest control procedures as
they relate to bait station and trap placement
and documented inspection and adherence to
prescribed cleaning schedules.
Total productive maintenance (TPM): A
mature TPM initiative will contribute to “best
in class” operating equipment efficiency
(OEE) and machine availability. By providing better transparency and documentation
of autonomous maintenance and predictive
parts replacement, TPM will contribute to high
scores in the maintenance and repair section
of a food safety audit.
In addition to these areas, all of the food
safety standards that follow Global Food
Safety Initiative (GFSI) guidelines incorporate
customer focus, management knowledge and
attention to food safety, and documentation
of continuous improvement. Incorporating the
discipline of “root cause corrective action”
into daily management routines, consumer
complaint and machine failure structure can
address each of these overriding priorities.
The formal or informal organizational alignment of food manufacturers’ quality assurance
and continuous improvement organizations
will accelerate the adoption of best practices.
Ultimately, a streamlined organization can
generate significant customer and shareholder
value by combining day-to-day process discipline with data capture and other certification
requirements, transforming such efforts from
another cost of doing business into a source of
About the Authors:
George Gansner is responsible for the
global marketing and business development
for IFS Management. He can be reached at
Steve Weise is Global Food & Beverage
Client Manager for TBM Consulting Group.
He can be reached at email@example.com ◆
By George Gansner, IFS Management GmbH, and Steve Weise, TBM Consulting Group, Inc.
Lean and Food Safety
Certification Go Hand in Hand
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