Supplier management plays a fundamental role in guaranteeing food safety and is inscribed in FSSC 22000, BRC, IFS and SQF. As discussed in the previous article “Food Fraud: food safety schemes are fighting back!”, supplier management is probably the best tool that organizations have to avoid problems is the market due to unintended malpractices.
In FSSC 22000, it is clear the importance given to communication in the effective management of suppliers. The scope of ISO 22000 states that the scheme specifies requirements to enable an organization to effectively communicate food safety issues to their suppliers. The introduction refers that communication with customers and suppliers about identified hazards and control measures will assists in clarifying customer and supplier requirements. The section dedicated to external communication makes clear that the organization shall establish, implement and maintain effective arrangements for communicating with suppliers. The importance given to communication is a feature that particularly characterizes FSSC 22000 and that is less obvious in BRC, IFS and SQF.
Finally, in clauses 9.1 and 9.2 of ISO TS 22002-1:2009, supplier management is again addressed and the definition of a process for selection, approval and monitoring of suppliers is considered mandatory. In fact, in BRC (clause 3.5.1), IFS (clause 4.4.2) and SQF (clause 126.96.36.199) similar clauses can be found where a system, procedure or document that explains how suppliers are approved and monitored is required. (A comprehensive table with the content dedicated to food fraud in each scheme will be included in a PDF sent automatically to every member from the Food Safety Books Connected List).
An interesting aspect of FSSC 22000, IFS and BRC is that the suppliers shall also be controlled in their ability to fulfill quality requirements of the materials supplied. In SQF the approach to quality is present only on Level 3 of the scheme (Food Quality Plan). From the reading of the 4 food safety schemes, FSSC 22000 is the only one that presents two practical examples of how suppliers can be assessed: audits and third party certification. But the supplier management is a hard and time consuming process. In April’s article we will present in more detail some steps of the organizations’ processes where it is common supplier management to be performed.
There are several solutions in the market determined to reduce the bureaucracy and complexity of supplier management especially important for organizations with large number of globally disseminated suppliers. The table below shows 4 examples and their main proposals (two more examples and detail will be included in a PDF sent automatically to every member from the Food Safety Books Connected List).
Supplier Management is undoubtedly one of the most complex challenges for the food industry in the next years but probably the one that organizations should first surpass to guarantee food safety.
This article was written in collaboration with Zita Avelar
Disclaimer: The information contained on this article is based on research done in the last months and the authors personal experience and opinion. It is not intended to represent the view of any organization they work for or collaborate with. The authors will not be held liable for the use or misuse of the information provided in the article.