The Operations team at Corfu Foods relied on an ERP system for tracking inventory, but they didn’t have the right toolset to become SQF (Safe Quality Food) certified. The main system they used lacked the features needed to track raw materials “one up, one back.” When the opportunity presented itself to evaluate barcode systems for inventory, Corfu Foods did their homework and chose ASAP Systems’ Passport.
As the SQF Practitioner for Corfu Foods, Jonathan Follett is the company’s leading expert on food safety standards and best practices. One of his main priorities and challenges was making sure the company became certified through one of the most recognized food quality and safety programs, SQF. Accomplishing this feat was proving difficult using the company’s business management system. Follett admitted:
“The software was a little too detail oriented and created a more involved process with more paperwork... It just didn’t have what we needed to track raw materials efficiently on a day-to-day basis.”
The team still believed in their ERP system, but realized they needed to bring in a more intuitive raw materials inventory tracking tool with integrated barcoding capabilities to become compliant with current food safety standards.
Another challenge Corfu Foods faced in operations was that their old system was prone to human errors in the receiving and picking processes, which are common in the food industry. Implementing continuous process improvements is very important to Follett as the SQF Practitioner because it helps reduce error rates and increase picking accuracy.
“Being able to receive and pick raw materials inventory quickly and accurately is critical,” says Follett. “Not all items come barcoded with lot numbers, so we needed to be able to dynamically create barcodes with julian dates or our own lot numbers to keep up with strict tracking standards and limit mistakes.”
Although human errors have proven to be inevitable in food distribution (or any business), Folette and his team realized that certain labeling and tracking inconsistencies could be eliminated through the adoption of a better fitting barcode system for inventory and more simplified processes.
The push for certification required a system that could accommodate the level of traceability needed for the certification board’s initial audit and annual audits to come. Passing these audits is a key step among the handful of steps needed to achieve SQF certification.
Essentially, food manufacturers and distributors must prove that they can ensure finished products are traceable to the customer (one up) and to the supplier (one back). The entire procedure for handling inventory needs to be documented, and the tracking information made readily-available.
Implementing the correct barcode system for inventory would allow the team to easily keep a digital record of costing, condition, transaction, label, location, and supplier/vendor information, and then report on it as needed.
Another requisite for Corfu Foods was to be able to track the lifecycle of raw materials, packaging materials, and other inputs from the date of receipt until it leaves the direct control of the facility. For this food distribution company that meant tracking basic supply usage by quantity, and tracking items with expiry dates (i.e meat combinations, spices, ice, etc.) according to shelf life. Follette further explains:
“We needed to use a batching system that would show what raw materials are in each batch, the corresponding lot number and price for that raw material, and who we received that raw material from.”
Aside from meeting food safety program stipulations, Operations needed to add on to their system to help avoid stockouts, setbacks in production, and expired inventory. Any mishaps could cut into their bottom line and present serious liabilities to the business.
In 2014, Corfu Foods set out to earn SQF certification and chose ASAP System's user-friendly inventory tracking software to get them to the finish line. The team immediately took advantage of the system by configuring the interface, modules, and hardware settings. This was a big shift in the level of control they had over the inventory tracking piece of their operations. Jonathan shares an anecdote about the transition:
“The process of implementing Passport was simple. A technical support staff member helped us install the program on our computer, a process which took no longer than an hour. We then were guided through Passport’s built in options to help us design the software to fit our needs.”
Corfu Foods partnered with ASAP Systems to track food production inventory according to the latest food quality and safety standards. Given soaring restaurant demand for increased food safety assurances, the company quickly needed to implement a user-friendly barcode system for inventory.
Through the combination of intuitive tracking features and custom reporting tools, Passport gave Follett clearer insights on the status of raw materials and batch inventory, and simplified operations. Jonathan mentions how Passport makes his and his employees jobs easier:
“After I create a batch in Passport I can simply run and print out a detailed report. We can bring up all batches in the system and answer all the ‘where/what’ inventory questions within minutes. This is why my employees find this system so easy to use; the combination of functionalities are great.”
Passport filled in the gaps left by their ERP system that prevented them from becoming SQF certified — one up, one back raw material tracking and custom barcoding. Follette clarifies:
“This system was able to help us with the SQF process flawlessly. When a raw material is received, we assign it a lot number. Then we print that lot number onto a custom barcode and scan it into Passport.”
Not only was this level of tracking essential for SQF, but it enabled them to attain distribution goals set forth by the Plant Manager. Since partnering with ASAP System, the team continues to save time and effort, while maintaining the quality of food their customers have come to expect. In addition, they have been able avoid any food recalls or withdrawals, but would be prepared if any occur.
Corfu Food is a leading manufacturer and provider of the highest quality gyros meat products. Known for its familiar freshness and taste, Corfu foods has grown a loyal customer base in the US, UK, and Asia. Corfu Foods is headquartered in Bensenville, Illinois, and has an office in Long Island City, New York.
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