Being audit ready has never been so important

By Richard Montgomery, Sales Director at Systems Integration

With Food Standards Agency (FSA) director, Rod Ainsworth outlining details of its review into the meat processing industry, following recently high-profile cases within the sector – there has never been a more important time for catering butchers to be audit ready. 

Following a recent interview with the BBC, Rod Ainsworth highlighted the comprehensive nature of the review into industry practices, that will involve over 1,000 establishments. Commenting on the review, Rod said: “We (FSA) want to take an opportunity to look at the way in which they work, to be absolutely satisfied that we have the best most up to date, most effective regulatory system that we can, and that we have the best picture we can build of the way in which businesses are delivering on their obligations, to make sure the food we eat is safe.”

With the findings of the review inevitably set to change the way in which the industry operates and is regulated in the future, it is now more important than ever that catering butchers have the systems in place to be audit ready.

I have no doubt that in the future the new expected norm from customers or regulatory agencies like the FSA, will be the ability for them to see instant retrieval of QA information. Especially with news groups and social media users being quick to both investigate and share information to the millions of end users.

For me it is not something to fear, as the technology is already there to support this type of important and impactful information management. What is important and what may come out from the FSA review or future industry reports, is how the sector will be required to provide this information and whether it will be standardised across the board.

At Systems Integration, we have long recognised that software has to be both integrated and inclusive to cope with the complex, and/or numerous processes, involved in delivering the wide range of products catering butcher have to produce every day for customers. As one of the UK’s leading wholesale meat providers, DB Foods, said: “SI’s software covers our whole business, from wholesale right through to production. With our complex business we needed a fully feature-rich software which Integreater is. It’s all there.”

Create the right reports that can be instantly populated

Equally, we understand that because there are so many customers, and such high product proliferation, the simplest way to be audit ready, is to develop the reports that can be instantly populated for both customers and regulators requirements.

Having the ability to create these dynamic reports is all based around the way in which our  Integreater software is setup; for instance, through the use of batch codes, we build in compliance with the legal requirements for traceability. More than that, by integrating our end-to-end solution, you will have proof to demonstrate that each carcass used, can be matched to the boxed primal and finished cuts at the end of the processing line.

FSA likely to focus on manual errors

A key part of the FSA review is likely to focus on how production processes can potentially break down and therefore how errors can come into play. In our experience, these errors are often traced to areas where there’s a reliance on manual processes. By re-evaluating these processes and automating wherever possible, these errors can be eliminated and/or prevention measures put in place

It is here that real-time data capture really comes into its own for the catering butcher sector. For example, our Integreater software ensures mandatory traceability requirements have been captured, via our boning hall intake touchscreens, whilst also delivering batch issue transactions for each production run.

So if a problem occurs, such as incorrect issue of output product, our software immediately flags it up. It will even prevent a carcass being issued if it doesn’t match the customer specifications. Such levels of control not only prevent errors, they also fill customers with confidence that they have selected the right supplier.

Specialist software developed by meat industry experts

But to make such systems work, you have to invest the time to understand both the industry and each individual business that works within it. We pride ourselves on our software and our specialist team; our people comprise experts who’ve worked directly within your industry.

When we recently talked to Campbells Prime Meat, they summarized our credentials well: “Of all the IT suppliers we spoke to, only SI understood our processes, our challenges, and had created specialist software just for wholesale meat sector.”  

And because we’re specialists, and understand that not all catering butchers’ needs are the same, we’re focused every day on finding new ways to improve production processes, customer service and traceability requirements throughout the sector.

So no matter what the FSA’s review findings will be, we know that the sector will respond in a positive way and that together we can help to rebuild lost consumer confidence, whilst delivering the high quality productive industry our customers need.

Are you audit ready? Systems Integration can help. For more information visit the catering butcher section of our website.

To watch the BBC interview with FSA director Rod Ainsworth, click here.