How technology can help your food safety system during the Corona crisis

If we go back twenty years from now in a world without internet, without great technological advancement, we wonder how governments, schools and companies would have managed the covid-19 pandemic.

As the pandemic continues its relentless march around the world, conflicting discussions have taken place on the effectiveness of response strategies such as social distancing and stay at home orders. In order to respond to travel bans, school closings and recommendations not to congregate in large groups and to keep distance from other humans to limit the spread of the virus, it has been imperative for many companies to digitally transform work and education places to operate effectively. Companies will need to keep up with the latest technologies and rethink their business model for the future through accelerated digital transformation. Companies capable to maximize their use of technology will be ahead of their competitors.

Taking more specifically the example of agrifood companies which have seen in many cases the demand for foods products increasing since the beginning of the pandemic. Every company should try to answer this question: what was done before the pandemic and could be done differently in a more efficient way by responding to the strategies conveyed by the government during the crisis?

Like most companies, food manufacturers have also adapted to the technology. Many of them have implemented solutions such as automation and process control to automate the physical aspect of the production process. However, the continued use of existing systems and manual data collection processes has not improved, which has hindered rapid and broad access to the information necessary for an effective quality and safety program.

Some organizations continue to use quality and food safety programs that consist of independent physical systems, which does not allow remote workers to access them from their homes. Also, the quality of some facilities is managed using forms or large sets of spreadsheets that are updated manually by quality and plant managers. These are completed and rarely reviewed until it is too late to take corrective action. Worse case, there are those who still rely on paper checklists, where the information collected is neither easily accessible nor usable by any means.

One of the solutions that can meet the need for digital transformation today is cloud-based quality management. These software solutions centralize and standardize quality data, making it available in real time to support workers at all levels of the enterprise. Through the cloud and a web interface, quality and plant managers can conduct remote monitoring and analysis and continue to observe performance trends and make quick, accurate decisions to prevent larger issues from manifesting. One cannot fully list what such a system can do, but ultimately, cloud-based quality management is a great opportunity for a company to thrive and grow by creating more accessible, flexible and proactive manufacturing environment driven by data. Such capabilities will not only prove essential to maintaining quality and safety standards during the pandemic, but will also change and improve the very nature of work.

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