Due to the nature of the products and materials used by the food and beverage industry, as well as the consumption of the products by consumers, food and beverage companies face strict regulations to ensure the public is safe. In the event there is an issue with a product, a recall may be inevitable. For some companies facing a recall, it may not be a large issue. For others, a large scale recall could potentially bankrupt the company. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the chance a recall will occur, and to prepare in the event a recall cannot be avoided. Using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, can help food and beverage companies be far better prepared to weather the storm; whether it is large or small.
Assessing the Risk
Before a recall even occurs, it is crucial to have a comprehensive risk assessment plan in place. This will help to safeguard the company from recalls and provide a systematic plan of action to navigate a recall if it should occur. The goal is to gain the ability to find areas in your operations that are at a higher risk for a food safety hazard, and to rectify any issues in those areas to help prevent one. Your company may already have this in place if you are mandated through the Hazard Assessment and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system. There is also increasing legislation that is moving all food and beverage companies to a risk assessment program, so if you do not have one it will be helpful to get ahead of the game before it becomes a requirement. All of this can be easily managed through a food and beverage specific ERP system.
Many companies have drills to ensure that all employees are kept safe and calm in the event of a fire or storm. However, few companies have drills to keep the company safe in the event of a recall. Having a recall drill is a phenomenal way to ensure your employees know what actions to take and how to deal with the highly stressful situation. The drills should try to be as realistic as possible and done without notice. Also, change the situation or product for subsequent drills. Try to avoid having the exact same situation to be handled each time.
Traceability is Absolutely Crucial
Most individuals who work in the food and beverage process manufacturing industry will agree that a substantial traceability program is not just a good idea, it is an absolute necessity. Having a tracking system that keeps everyone who needs to know informed about things like expiration dates, what ingredients are in contact with one another, and many other things related to food and beverage safety. You cannot have any control over a recall should one occur. Without it, you cannot single out where the problem happened, determine how large or small the recall needs to be, and how to prevent the issue from occurring again. The best way to have a solid traceability program that will both help prevent a recall, but also better manage it if one occurs, is by having an ERP system in place.
An ERP will provide the right information to the right people at the right time, allowing them to make appropriate decisions and minimize the negative impact on the company. And, an ERP that is specifically designed for the food and beverage industry will have the framework and features needed to ensure your system is the right one. With an ERP, a risk assessment, preparedness, and a traceability program, your company will be ready if and when you face a recall.