Exclusive Interview – The Quest for Quality, Safety, Risk Prevention, and Compliance in a Bakery Plant

Ideagen, the governance, risk and compliance (GRC) software provider, has launched a new and improved version of its Q-Pulse application to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the software. The application can be successfully used in bakery plants. WorldBakers asked George Hall, Q-Pulse product manager, Ideagen, how is this software used within the baking industry and how it can help the manufacturers implement and maintain the standards.

Q-Pulse is used across the food, beverage and packaging industries to solve common problems organizations are facing around compliance with standards, product recalls, withdrawals and general quality management. Moreover, in October 2018, Ideagen announced that the company provided pladis, the producer of McVities, Godiva and Ulker, with software to help launch and manage their global environment, health, and safety management strategy. They also provide technology for food manufacturers such as Global Snacks Leader, Whyte and Mackay, Dairy Crest and Glen Turner Company Ltd.

What are the general rules to consider when equipping a bakery plant with a quality management solution?

In terms of a bakery plant, and similar to any organization that is implementing a quality management software solution, there are a number of areas and common problems that software – particularly Q-Pulse from Ideagen – can solve. These are mainly disruption and cost of managing multiple compliance standards manually or using a software system that is not fit-for-purpose; environmental compliance and sustainability, driving real continuous improvement, cost of product recalls and withdrawals, cost of waste and the operational – and oftentimes legal – requirement to modernize processes.

What processes within the bakery plant need more of these kinds of solutions? Why?

A modern bakery will have equipment that has to be maintained and calibrated and processes that have to be strictly followed in order to achieve consistent quality levels aligned with the latest industry food safety standards. These processes and equipment will vary depending on the final product which is to be produced. Within a single bakery, for example, bread, rolls, cookies, pies, pastries, and muffins could be produced there each day and with that comes a requirement to use various equipment and follow varying processes that take into account temperatures, baking times and appropriate food safety standards.

A software system such as Q-Pulse will help as it will store all processes and procedures electronically within the system, meaning that the correct process is being followed when baking a batch of rolls compared to when baking a batch of pies or pastries, as an example.

There are many standards that have to be adhered to in the production of safe food also and these can include but are not limited to BRC Global Food and Packaging Standards, ISO 9001: 2015 general quality management standard, ISO 22000 food safety standard or General Quality Management Processes.

What are the biggest technological breakthroughs in this respect, and what do you anticipate will follow, in term of further optimization?

Quality is critical to business in making sure that products and services can meet customers’ needs.

Over the last few decades, quality has moved beyond helping organizations comply with regulations and standards to helping them improve overall. In doing so, it’s now supporting a broader shift in industry towards making best use of data to improve business processes.

In that time, the responsibility for maintaining and improving quality has also shifted, from a single department to everyone in the organization.

With quality present in every stage of an organization’s processes, in making the move from compliance to business improvement, managing quality needs software systems and associated services that can support organizations in working effectively and efficiently.

In terms of the technology/software itself, there are four critical capabilities that any quality management software must include:

  • making it easier to keep accurate records,
  • to see what’s outstanding,
  • what’s been done,
  • and that everyone understands who’s responsible for carrying out quality-related activities all make compliance with regulations and standards more likely.

These are critical to managing quality more effectively and efficiently.

In addition, Ideagen’s quality management software – Q-Pulse – integrates quality management with product lifecycle, safety and risk management processes to provide a robust framework for achieving business improvement.

How can a quality management solution help bakery manufacturers minimize loss and product recall incidents?

As well as what we have covered above, a quality management solution can help bakery manufacturers reduce loss and product recalls by:

  • defining and documenting systems, policies, and procedures with robust change control management;
  • publishing and distributing the quality management system to all appropriate personnel, including the supply chain;
  • creating a framework to demonstrate capability and competence for training and development;
  • verifying compliance of policies and procedures through regular internal audit;
  • reporting on incidents, near misses and complaints, creating action plans and tracking them through to completion and analyzing audits and findings, incidents and occurrences and determining causal factors and trends.

What are the challenges of using this type of solution?

In our experience of providing software – which spans almost three decades – we find that the largest challenges faced by organizations looking to implement our software, and software in general, was the ability to successfully gain management and/or staff adoption.

Failure to engage employees and management – whether that be because of poor professional services which, in turn, causes a lack of understanding of the product or a poor software user experience, there is a high chance that the software project will fail.

At Ideagen we strive for a productive relationship with each of our clients to help them develop through the key stages of maturity: from quality and compliance to the risk-based model of high performance, from a reactive approach to improvement, andreal-time monitoring of the KPI’s that deliver excellence.

It is the job of the vendor – in this case ourselves at Ideagen – to optimize the client’s utilization of all this rich capability so that they achieve their objectives and goals. At Ideagen, we can teach, guide, support and encourage businesses and provide the insights and tools required to clarify, develop and achieve their software goals.

Such services include: strategic reviews to build on knowledge learned during the sales process, agreed objectives, formalizing the team and plan implementation; configuration to reflect the terminology, department structure, people, processes, security levels, workflows and escalation parameters relevant to the organization; migration of data from existing databases, applications or systems; integration with other systems within the organization to eliminate duplication of data and effort; training to get the initial team capable of on-going product administration and training others; deployment assistance to maximize go-live, customer support and HelpDesk access throughout the project.

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