Hello again, welcome back to our blog! This time we are going to be giving a bit of insight into the work our Technical department do to not only get our products onto the shelves but to ensure that they are the best out there.
First up, we have Maria, our Product Development Technologist. Maria has to lead and manage NPD projects to meet customer deadlines. To do this she must liaise with the customer to find out what they are looking for, from there she will create a recipe/product idea that meets the customer specification plus provide the customer with the recipe details and nutritional information. Next is to contact our suppliers to discuss the cost and availability of the raw materials required and use this information to go over costings for the product with our Operations Manager. Then it's time to make the idea a reality and hold a presentation alongside a tasting panel for the customer, review their feedback and make any necessary amendments. Once the product is perfected, Maria will arrange a factory trial and distribution of the samples to the customer, once they are happy with the finished product we will begin to produce it on a much larger scale. Throughout this process, Maria must ensure technical compliance in accordance with food safety and product quality. She also takes part in customer visits, internal, GMP and BRC audits.
GMP is the Good Manufacturing Practices audit checklist used to ensure that consistent quality and standards are used in the manufacture of food, pharmaceutical, medical, and cosmetic products.
BRC is the British Retail Consortium's official assessment of a food manufacturer’s adherence to the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety. It is conducted by an accredited certification body and involves thorough examination of all processes and documents involved used in food manufacture.
Next up, we have Luis, our Quality Technologist. Luis is responsible for ensuring all raw materials and finished goods are tested to the agreed specification and frequency. To do this he must maintain our environmental site testing program by carrying out swabbing, collation and booking of samples, alongside annual testing of our products for shelf life, pesticides and much more as and when required, this can include conducting taste panels!. The results of the testing needs to be interpreted and reported to our Quality and Technical Managers. It is Luis' responsibility to maintain our site testing results and trending logs, plus reporting any non-conformances to the relevant personnel and monitoring the corrective actions taken. Non-conforming goods are added to our hold system, which Luis must manage to ensure they are dealt with quickly and effectively. This can include raising these non-conformances with suppliers and reviewing their responses and actions. Managing the site traceability systems and exercises, ensuring improvements are made and reported to our Quality Manager is also on Luis' agenda alongside keeping the glass register in check and conducting risk assessments where needed. He also takes part in BRC and GMP audits alongside Maria.
Third on the list is our Quality Manager, Gary, who is responsible for setting and achieving high quality standards for all aspects of the Technical process, ensuring all products are food safe, of quality demanded by customers and is manufactured in a clean and hygienic environment. To do this he must consistently hit agreed performance indicators for Micro Testing, Customer Complaints, Customer Audits, Internal/External Audits, product Release, Corrective Actions, Overhead Spend and Supplier Audits. He must liaise with customers and suppliers, ensuring customer specifications are kept up to date and accurate in line with their requirements and handling their complaints in line with our procedure, including investigating and responding within the given time frame. In order to support him in this process, Gary must motivate, train and develop the Technical team to ensure the provide excellent levels of service and expertise to assist and guide our customers. At the opposite end of the process, Gary manages Supplier Approval which ensures all suppliers, new and existing, adhere to the appropriate Food Safety standards. He is also responsible for our Technical departments Environmental Testing program as well as the Pest Control program. This includes liaising with pest control and keeping on top of recommendations and corrective actions. As the Quality Manager, Gary is the point of contact for al Technical visits, must deputise for the Technical Manager in his absence, must manage the day shift cleaners in their duties, is an active member of site HACCP, TACCP and environmental testing teams and ensures maintenance of BRC+ customer accreditation.
Last but certainly not least, we have our Technical Manager, Ian. Ian is ultimately responsible for motivating and developing the Technical and Hygiene tams, making sure they have the support and resources necessary to achieve high working standards. As well as this, he monitors food safety, quality and hygiene standards through creation and review of Key Performance Indicators and internal audits. He ensures our management system is working efficiently and effectively and includes key areas such as customer complaints, supplier approval, labeling/coding, traceability, supply chain mapping, product recall and many more. Ian is in charge of our site HACCP team and the voice of the Technical department when liaising with internal management, customers, suppliers and audit bodies, and when monitoring service suppliers to ensure they provide the level of efficiency contracted. He manages the NPD process to ensure all products are feasible and approved at each stage of development. Considering all food safety, legal and sourcing requirements are considered alongside operational and production aspects. Keeping innovative and up to date with food trends, ensuring compliance to legislation and customer codes of practice in development, trial, launch, packing and labelling are just some of Ian's involvement in the NPD process. Like the rest of the Technical department, he takes part in customer audits and is also responsible for all environmental aspects of the business.
To conclude, our Technical department play a huge role in the making of our products, from the idea to the creation and everything in between to make sure they are not only safe and compliant but the best quality on the shelves.