Qualit y Management 1/2016 eFOOD-Lab international 11 is no need any more for the authorities to prove failure, but the manufacturer has to prove correctness. This expands the demands on company internal documentation of correct action. These development have rightly attracted companies' attention to the issue of "risk". From an entrepreneurial standpoint it is necessary to be pro-active and well prepared, there is no benefit at all in being pushed or cornered. Every responsible company need to reduce their risk of falsification by taking adequate measures. Auditing and certification are helping to a great extent to monitor compliances with measures and systems which companies have put in place. These are particularly valuable once they are seen as a means for mutual support to ensure quality of all involved enterprises' processes. This is of course only effective if suitable measures to avoid risk have been taken. It goes without saying that there is no patent medicine that has to be simply followed in order to be on the safe side. However, some hints may help to steel oneself better. A dozen of such hints are listed in the following. The scope of this article does not offer enough space to allow going into too much depth and to offer more reasoning behind the hints. As these hints can be regarded universally valid, they may still need different nuances or points of focus from sector to sector. Specialized companies like DNV GL are always ready to help with more-in-depth discussions. Regard these twelve hints as food for thought and as a sound basis for a fruitful further dialogue with those corporation by which you are audited and certified and who give you advice. Twelve hints 1. Respect all rules and standards without exception and on all hierarchical levels All rules must be obeyed on all levels, including the board. Company ethics have to be lived up to – visibly and exemplarily especially at board level. • Any programme, any behavioural constraint, any model will lose all credibility once they are not mandatory with no exception to anybody in the company – be it the company chairman or the owner itself. Non-existing rules are less harmful than those which exist and are not followed by the leadership team in evidence. 2. Develop a Code of Conduct and live up to it consequently Develop a code of conduct letting your employees actively participate in the process. Ensure that everybody is fully buying in. Find suppliers and service providers which are committed to goals of the same kind and level. Create a company culture where people are encouraged to admit mistakes and where these mistakes are made known. This is the only way to truly live the code of conduct even in a first-timeright environment. • L etting employees participate – individuals representing the collectivity – enormously increases acceptance, acceptance being a pre-requisite for compliance. • A company's vision or mission is meaningless and useless, unless it is crystal clear, non-debatable for the time being, and unless every single employee is aware of it. The same is true for a company's code of conduct. However, all of this is not about paperwork, but needs to be understood, to be taken to heart and to be followed without hesitation – in all cases. • Following all rules as a matter of course and unreservedly offers best protection. 3. Analyse hazard and eliminate risk, minimize rest risk Risk is the probability with which a hazard materializes. Therefore: no hazard, no risk. As a first priority, hazards need to be identified in order to eliminate them. Only then, if a hazard cannot be eliminated – which is often the case – the risk has to be deeply assessed with the aim to minimize it. • The principal behind HACCP can be applied manyfold and is very useful to detect the potential or even the necessity for improvement. Instead of tackling risks, it is more useful to start eliminating hazard. In an alpine valley, for instance, an overhanging rock can be a hazard. The hazard will continue, however, the evolving risk can be avoided by passing through the neighbouring valley – possibly with ongoing increased expenses. However, one can also remove the hazard, e.g. by blowing up the overhanging rock. With the hazard removed the risk disappears automatically – and also the extra expense which are necessary to reduce or control it. • The overriding goal always is to eliminate hazard or – when that is impossible – to minimize risk. 4. Make sure to undergo regular inspection and auditing by independent third party Ask an independent third party to check whether your hazards have been identified correctly, your risks have been evaluated adequately and that – based on this – you have taken the right measures. • It is not for nothing that the term routine blinded exists. Even with all the best will, people get accustomed to inadequacy or failure and they do not recognize those after some time. It is therefore unalienable to look at it from another's point of view. • Selfcomplacency is the greatest danger for undetected mistakes or failure – even if this complacency results from a very high standard. 5. Keep the supply chain short It is inherent to any chain: an increasing number of links will make the chain sag, it will reduce control and it will bring about the risk that a weak link is present. • Fish filets for instance can be bought filleted and then deep frozen at sea or directly after landing. However, one can also deep freeze the headed and gutted round fish, ship it to Asia, defrost it there, filet it, deep freeze it again, and transport it to Europe. Several additional links in the supply chain that need management and monitoring and do at least not exclude the possibility of adulteration. 6. In your core area you should know more than just your own supplier Make sure that your supply chain – at least for the core of your products – can be traced back beyond the legal requirement to know your own supplier. It is essential not only to know the chain but also to be able to evaluate it properly. • It is obvious that not every supply chain can be traced back over several steps by oneself. However, this makes necessary to evaluate the situation and conditions correctly. Especially for procured key products it is necessary to go back as far as possible. Supplier audits, which may also be attended, help tremendously.
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