Case study: Software helped with speedy, smooth inspection

High-volume food importer National Cortina credits supplier management software for helping it pass inspection easily on its monitoring of potential risks from 40+ foreign suppliers.

The small family-owned business in New Jersey monitors at a glance through FoodLogiQ’s software portal whether suppliers have expiring documents, certificates or GFSI-accredited audits, the company shared in a case study provided by FoodLogiQ.

National Cortina says it quickly provided documents requested by an FDA inspector, earning it compliance approval for FSMA’s Foreign Supplier Verification Program.

Bryan Cohn, FoodLogiQ food safety solution engineer, worked for a CPG company previously and says managing supplier documentation in separate spreadsheets housed in different parts of a company becomes increasingly cumbersome with more and more suppliers. “It starts to add up really, really quickly.”

Complying with FSMA’s supplier verifications is a huge undertaking, he says. “This is hard work. There’s no getting around it.”

When an inspector shows up asking to review a company’s safety plan for suppliers, manually compiling documentation is a monumental task. With FoodLogiQ’s software, the information “can be pulled in seconds as opposed to hours,” he says.

One of the biggest benefits is how supplier-brand relationships grow into stronger two-way partnerships, Cohn says. Suppliers, who don’t bear the cost of the software, say they appreciate knowing exactly what is expected of them, with the software providing alerts for expirations or required document updates, he says.

Brand owners don’t dictate to the supplier what’s needed. Instead, they use the software portal for conversations about how to bring clarity to recordkeeping, he says.

“One of hardest things to do when you’re a CPG brand or a restaurant brand is to look down upon vendor and wag your finger, and say, ‘Hey, this isn’t right.’”

While companies using the software will direct work to suppliers with fewer quality incidents, Cohn says the system helps partners work together to solve issues and sometimes saves a relationship that might have deteriorated.

Plus, the system provides consistency and makes adding new suppliers simpler, he says.

“That’s how you’re going to get compliance. That’s how you’re going to win a day.”

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