Getting SQF-certified is, of course, an accomplishment. Sustaining the high commitment to quality and food safety is crucial, not only to pass regular audits but to continue to improve the efficacy of a system.
In a presentation on “Continued Improvement of Your SQF System for Sustained Success” during the SQF Unites event in October, Colin Christmas of EAGLE Certification Group underlined what continuous improvement really about. In fact, he suggests a better definition of “continual” improvement, which implies thoughtful, steady changes and adjustments.
In an era marked by constant change and frequent challenges, expecting a straight upwards line of improvement over time is somewhat unrealistic. “It’s much more about problem-solving – you want to improve something and sustain it,” explained Colin, EAGLE’s managing director.
Achieving continual improvement –is certainly expected by auditors and SQF food safety professionals — goes beyond taking corrective actions, according to this expert. Using a wider, more inclusive lens, continual improvement can be made through various steps and requirements:
In his SQF Unites presentation, Colin also stressed timely internal and external communications and underscored the significance of internal audits that go beyond a once-a-year SQF review. Measuring improvement by comparing objectives vs achievement of results is another way to make the food safety and quality system better over time, he said.
As a takeaway, Colin recommended the use of an improvement plan template in which all actions can be logged and shared cross-functionally, most importantly with leaders who are accountable for the improvement of the food safety system. Using a risk-based approach to prioritize areas for improvement makes the plan dynamic and ultimately successful. “It’s a one-stop-shop for improvement,” he pointed out.
Until December 30, 2021, you can gain access to the more than 40 SQF Unites sessions for $195. Learn more about SQF Unites content and expert presenters at https://www.sqfi.com/sqf-conference/about-sqf-unites/.