Net Contents Control in the food & beverage business

Why worry about controlling the amount of product you are giving to customers?

Why not just fill those jelly jars or wine bottles to the brim? On the other hand, maybe you could under-fill each, just a bit to stretch things.

Two great reasons why you may need to re-think net contents:

1) Client satisfaction – give the client what you say you will and you will have a happy customer.
2) You need to comply with regulations. This keeps you out of trouble, and avoids fines.

However, cost (fine) avoidance is not the only reason for implementing a net contents control solution.

With most of our clients, before we implemented our solution, compliance to FDA, USDA, CFIA, Measurement Canada and other international net contents control regulations was achieved by over-packing product – filling those jelly jars or wine bottles right to the brim with substantially more product than the amount shown on the label.

Regulations were met, but at a substantial cost – we find typically 15% of total raw material and production costs are given away – a huge amount!

Within days, sometimes hours, of implementing our solutions, giveaway dropped dramatically. We will talk about this in a future blog post – “Show Me the Savings” which will recount the real life achievements at one of our large clients.

At first glance, net contents control seems to be little more thanSPC(Statistical Process Control). While it is not only reasonable, but also advisable, to useSPCtechniques to control net contents, not everySPCsoftware package will fulfill the regulatory requirements of theUS. Moreover, Canadian regulations, being even more complex, place even more demands on the software.

Quality Integrators Corporation is an expert in net contents control. Not only have we implemented net contents control on over 1000 production lines, we have also written much of the generic net contents documentation used in our clients.

By achieving net contents control, our clients often pay for the system (including infrastructure, training, software, services, and even internal charges) in less than a year out of savings.

The solution is based on industry leading SPCsoftware products, which meet the criteria of having enough functionality to achieve complete regulatory compliance. They have many specific net contents control features to further enhance its applicability to this need. You can read about QIC‘s stringent criteria at www.qic-intl.com

Traceability and the small food company

You are the person responsible for food safety and regulatory compliance at your small family owned food company, and your firm makes cookies. Really good cookies. Consumers love your product, the food stores that distribute your cookies like your sales reps, the company owner is happy with your work, and you are looking forward to a little vacation with your family. It’s Friday afternoon before a long weekend, and life is good.

Then you get the phone call. A company that supplies you flour was just found to be in violation of cleanliness regulations, and their product is being recalled. Fortunately, you buy flour from two different sources so you should still be able to keep your loyal customer base supplied with cookies.

All you have to do is to trace which cookies the flour from the company in question went into.

No problem; you have all of the paperwork for the shipments, and all your batch tickets filed in your office. The owner’s son is home from university for the weekend, and if you draft him (and his girlfriend), and get the office staff and sales reps from the tri-state area to come in on Saturday, you should be able to produce the lot list for recall by Monday morning.

Good thing the recall was not initiated by the FDA under the Bioterrorism Act, or you would have had to be ready by 2 PM Saturday!

As long as none of the paperwork is lost, you’ll be fine.  Too bad about the vacation though.

There is a better way. A way that involves a few keystrokes, and about 10 minutes.

For the small food company that doesn’t yet run any other manufacturing quality software (Net Contents Control, Statistical Process Control, Equipment Downtime, Overall Equipment Effectiveness), we present QIC Trace Lite.

Using QIC Trace™ provides complete traceability on product from where the raw ingredients enter your building, all the way through to the lots that you ship out to your distribution channel.

Product traceability in the food industry is no picnic. Grains of salt do not have serial numbers, and many similar ingredients end up in a wide variety of products. QIC Trace™ was designed and written for the food industry.

Look at QIC TraceLite.   The company owner will appreciate you more.