Hot potato: Food supply scares heighten demand for product recall technology
In light of recent product recalls, manufacturers must be ready to respond quickly to supply chain issues to protect consumers as well as brand reputations. That’s why right now many food & beverage manufacturers are looking to expand their use of solutions that offer capabilities in product genealogy, lot tracking & tracing, and alert notification.
In light of recent product recalls, manufacturers must be ready to respond quickly to supply chain issues to protect consumers as well as brand reputations.
That’s why right now many food & beverage manufacturers are looking to expand their use of solutions that offer capabilities in product genealogy, lot tracking & tracing, and alert notification. Although these features may not be new to the supply chain space and have been included in many warehousing and inventory systems for years, their use in product-recall scenarios is quickly becoming a necessity.
When the tomato recall happened in summer 2008, manufacturers were forced to respond quickly with data that showed which lot was produced in which facility, and where and when it was shipped. “Track & trace for those in the process industries, such as food and beverage, is very challenging,” says Karin Bursa, a VP with supply chain software vendor Logility . “With other consumables such as car seats, workers simply look at a bill of material to tie part numbers to a variety of end products.”
Traceability gets more difficult as the amount of raw materials increases and the number of supply chain partners grows, adds Bursa.
“Production operators and copackers may use the same semi-finished goods to make several other finished products,” she says. “Jam or jelly can be sold as a finished product but also can be used for pie filling, which adds another step as well as several layers and levels to the process.”
The Logility Voyager system manages alert notification for a recall by automatically contacting partners via the Internet or alerting customer relationship managers about the issue. “Since speed is of the essence during a recall, having quick access to product data, vendor information, and locations where product last resided is very important,” says Bursa.
To prepare for potential recalls, Moore, Okla.-based Vaughan Foods enacted a plan to host two mock recalls a year. The event begins with the company’s quality assurance department, which is notified that a mock recall is in effect, and the team has three hours to complete the process.
“We must isolate the contaminated product, have knowledge about where the product is in the supply chain, and file accurate and timely reports to the authorities,” says Victor Gramillo, quality assurance manager for Vaughan Foods, a supplier of fresh vegetables, refrigerated deli salads, soups, and fruit. “If there is a quality issue with a product, we need to know when and where the product went, and in what production line.”
To prepare for potential recalls, Moore, Okla.-based Vaughan Foods enacted a plan to host two mock recalls a year. Once an event is in process, the quality assurance department team has three hours to complete the process. (Photo courtesy Vaughan Foods)
During routine inspections, hold tags are placed on questionable products using Logility’s Voyager system, allowing users to view which products should not shipped. “Even if a physical hold tag is missing, a bar-code label can serve as an electronic tag, signaling the system to send an immediate alert to operators,” says Gramillo.
Vaughan Foods lost profits resulting from the tomato recall last summer since its customers did not want to buy tomatoes from them, despite Vaughan’s assurance that its supplies were uncontaminated. “We realized we have to minimize risks and take money off the bottom line to prevent any serious problems from occurring,” says Gramillo.
Next up, Gramillo intends to use the mock recall program for marketing purposes, selling the company’s preparedness and proactive stance.
“We can show the results of the mock recalls to potential customers since quality and safety are key considerations in today’s grocery market. Price is still important, but it has moved to the back burner."
Case Study Database
Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.
These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.
Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.
Annual Salary Survey
In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.
Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.