Essential Elements of Food Quality Management System

Food Quality Management System

The globalization has made the manufacturing market more competitive, by offering new opportunities to businesses old and new. This should not be considered as a threat to the survival of existing manufacturers; in fact, it is a challenge that they should take up. Because this challenge, actually poses an opportunity to gain customer loyalty through the enhanced products and improved services offered in the quest to stand up to the challenge.

By enhanced products we mean ones—that suitably cater to the specific needs and concerns of the customers. Also, when it comes to competitiveness, one obvious question that arises is- “With the rising competition bar, what makes the top manufacturers stand out from the league?

The answer to this question is “quality of their own products & services”. By maximizing suitability and quality of their products for the consumer usage, manufacturers succeed in excelling in their field— and thus in building a sustainable brand image.

Therefore, to become a successful manufacturer, robust quality control, is of utmost importance. For which, manufacturers need to opt a feature-rich food quality management software. But if you are a tenderfoot, then before implementing a food quality software, knowing the concept of quality and food quality management system is essential.

This blog takes you to a knowledge-intended journey of exploring the term “quality” and the essential elements of a Food QMS.

The Quality Concept-

“Quality is a comprehensive term that includes two meanings: product characteristics that lead to customer satisfaction and the absence of failures. Still, this does not defines “Quality” as a whole. The customer needs are not only related to these two intrinsic characteristics of the product, but also to its availability in the market, it’s appropriate pricing and suitable packaging. These specifications altogether ensure that the customer will buy a safe product standing at par with what is mentioned on the label, without having any health threats.

For these objectives to be achieved, it is necessary to have an efficient food quality management system in place that ensures operational excellence at each level of the organization. Talking of an ideal food quality management software, it must have the following capabilities.

Essential elements of food QMS software

Quality Control- To ensure safety and quality of the food for consumers, adhering to quality requirements becomes a mandate for the food manufacturers. With the absence of quality control procedures, the contaminated foods can easily make way to the markets. In avoiding such situations, the Quality Control module of a Food Quality Software plays a key role. Because it allows manufacturers to create and apply quality tests on the products, at all important junctures of the food supply chain-, that too with set target values.

This ensures quality throughout the product lifecycle: i.e., when materials enter the facility, when they are put ahead for production, and when they are being shipped to the customers. Also, based on the test results of pass/fail, manufacturers get the convenience of accepting and rejecting products accordingly.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) – Food manufacturing refers to the process of turning fresh ingredients into consumable food products. This includes the process of high-volume mixing of multiple ingredients that too in a set order, to manufacture finished goods. These finished goods must have uniform consistency. Even a small deviation in the procedure, could lead to fluctuations in the product quality of the finished goods.

Therefore, documenting processes in the form of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) helps organizations ensure error-free and consistent processes throughout the supply chain. This is the reason why “Advanced SOP feature turns out to be one of the prominent features that should not be given away with.

Non-Conformance (NC) & Corrective Action Preventive Action (CAPA)- Non-conformance reports that there is something wrong with the process or product due to which the outcome fails to match the required product specifications. In situations like this, the NC/CAPA functionality of an efficient QMS software comes to the rescue. It helps in successfully dealing with every type of non-conformity that could occur such as:

  • Product non-conformity- Which relates to product issues identified during quality management or by customer complaints.
  • Process non-conformity- Which relates to downtime, machine problems, operational inconsistency, etc.
  • System non-conformity- Which is identified by internal audit system
  • Material non-conformity- Which occurs due to expired materials, ingredients

The NC functionality finds the root cause of the occurred non-conformity, wile the CAPA suggests  the required corrective needed to be applied, and prevents its recurrence, comes out as an un-negotiable part of the food QMS software.

Compliance Management- Throughout the supply chain, adherence to set safety laws imposed by the regulatory bodies ensures that the food item is not unsafe, misbranded, or low-graded for the human consumption.

For that reason, this feature of a food quality software is of paramount importance, that helps manufacturers meet local, regional, national, and international regulatory requirements such as Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), etc.

Document Management- This capability is essential to control the pile of documents a food business needs to manage for several reasons. This includes formula/recipe details, SOPs, compliance policies, training manuals, recall procedures, labels, etc. These crucial records must be accessible when required, and hence needs to be systematically managed.

But manual management of these documents could lead to maximized manpower requirement & minimized productivity. That’s the reason the document management feature can’t be ignored in the list of essential elements of a food Quality Management system. It automates the task of creating, storing, managing, and retrieving the documents when required— and becomes a significant contributor in enhancing the organizational productivity.

Risk Management- It is the act of setting up prevention strategies to avert potential issues from occurring. Actually, the risk management feature efficiently identifies the potential areas that are vulnerable to business helping organizations carry out necessary actions in response. Though there could be numerous areas of risks in a food manufacturing business, but, the prominent ones out of all are:

  • Supply chain risks- Threats from the quality of materials arriving at the facility
  • Cyber risks- Data corruption, data loss, data manipulation  
  • Natural Hazards- Equipment failure, earthquake, Fire outbreak, etc.

A risk management system can help you manage, track and mitigate these risks and that’s the reason why a proper risk management approach is a must-have feature for a robust food quality software and should not be overlooked by the manufacturers.

Final Thoughts-

Food manufacturing involves processing of highly sensitive and perishable items, which makes it more challenging for the manufacturers of that industry to sustain. Hence, right from the purchasing of raw materials to delivery of finished goods, everything needs to be not just streamlined and organized, but inspected too.

For this, other than a good QMS software like Quality Master, no other strategy would deliver better results. If you are also looking to inject a culture of quality into your business, then get in touch with our team of experts today.

What is the Difference between a QMS, EQMS, and an EDMS?

Quality management system

With Quality getting paramount importance everywhere, process manufacturing is no different. Terms like Quality Management System (QMS), Electronic Quality Management System (EQMS), and electronic Document Management System (EDMS) are gaining traction in board rooms, business meetings and on Google Search too. If you have been a part of such discussions, or have overheard or are wishing to know what these terms actually mean and function, then you are at the right place This blog elaborates their meanings, purpose and the distinguishing characteristics of them all for a better understanding. Continue reading-

What is a QMS?

A quality management system (QMS) is a formalized system that documents/describes the workflows, procedures, and responsibilities for achieving a company’s quality policies and objectives, the international standard specifying requirements for quality management systems is ISO 9001:2015 and it is one of the most widely used and prominent approach to quality management systems.

A QMS manages and coordinates an organization’s actions in order to conform to consumer and regulatory standards.

Also read: Different Types of Quality Management Systems

Who needs QMS Software?

In industries such as aviation, automotive, pharmaceuticals, food, and medical devices, where ensuring quality and safety is critical, the implementation of robust quality management systems (QMS) holds paramount importance.

For companies operating in these sectors, compliance with specific standards and regulations governing quality management is mandatory to legally sell their products.

Government agencies require these industries to adhere to stringent quality management system standards to ensure adherence to safety protocols and regulatory requirements.

Traditional Paper-based QMS Software –

Managing documents through traditional paper-based methods has become outdated. The process demands considerable effort, time, and resources to keep data updated, often requiring workers to meticulously handle data entry tasks. Yet, despite their best efforts, there’s always a chance of missing something or making errors.

Manual file management is integral to various operations such as onboarding, record-keeping, investigations, and both internal and external audits. Even minor errors in the data can lead to significant miscalculations. Hence, there’s an urgent need to transition to an electronic data storage system.

This transition aims to minimize errors, boost productivity, and allocate resources towards tasks that significantly contribute to the overall efficiency.

What is eQMS Software?

A modernized approach to quality management systems is the electronic quality management system (eQMS). It revolutionizes the management and documentation of organizational-wide business processes like product development, quality assurance, and compliance, eliminating the need for manual paperwork.

The cloud-based version of eQMS operates on cloud servers and is accessible only by authorized users from any location and at any time. Essentially, eQMS encompasses all the components present in QMS solutions but with the added advantage of centralized accessibility and enhanced security.

eQMS has demonstrated superior performance over traditional QMS software due to the ease, efficiency, and flexibility it provides compared to conventional quality management systems.

Difference between QMS system and eQMS system

What is EDMS Software?

An electronic document management system, or EDMS system, is a digital platform designed to manage various types of documents, whether they’re related to the Quality Management System, product development, HR, legal, or other categories. This system is versatile and can store different file formats like Microsoft Word, PDFs, 3D drawings, and more.

Traditionally, employees spent a considerable amount of time searching for and organizing documents manually, impacting their productivity in core tasks.

The transition from paper-based documentation to Electronic Document Management Systems has revolutionized accessibility, making documents available on smartphones or tablets.

EDMS solution isn’t limited to text documents; it accommodates various file types like images, videos, and audio files. It offers a unified view of all documents and incorporates features for printing, scanning, and storage.

A key advantage of an efficient EDMS software is its ability to automate document-related workflows, integrating seamlessly with other software such as ERP, QMS, or CRM systems. This connectivity streamlines processes and enhances overall operational efficiency.

This is how EDMS helps in building Quality Management –

To create a digital Quality management system, you can migrate all of your current quality documentation onto an EDMS, which is a cloud-based platform. It can benefit you with –

  1. Controlled document lifecycle: An EDMS streamlines document classification, organization, and archiving from creation to archival, enhancing searchability and indexing accuracy.
  2. Tailored workflows: Tailored for quality specialists, an EDMS offers pre-defined processes while allowing customization to suit unique operations, unlike an eQMS.
  3. Change and design control: Flexible adjustments to quality processes with comprehensive record-keeping for all modifications.
  4. Document review alerts: Ensures timely completion of review and approval cycles, maintaining the flow of documents within the system.
  5. Version control and audit trails: Automatically generates audit trails, displaying version histories, changes, and approvals for document transparency.
  6. Integration with e-signatures: Compliance-driven e-signature functionality (e.g., FDA 21 CFR part 11) to authorize documentations as per regulations.
  7. Enhanced SOPs and compliance records: Robust search and navigation features in an EDMS facilitate compliance inquiries, offering flexibility in SOP management while serving as a unified data source.

Difference between QMS, EQMS, and EDMS

While QMS solutions aim to meet quality procedures, they have grown obsolete and traditional; in contrast, eQMS has all the features built in accordance with technological advancements and rapidly shifting compliance standards. The line of distinction between these two names is extremely thin.

However, we may conclude that eQMS is a more contemporary and effective version of QMS solutions. The eQMS seeks to automate quality management operations, maintain compliance, monitor product quality, identify non-conformance, and conduct audit activities while reducing costs & time to market by keeping all of the important company information in a centralized repository.

When it comes to EDMS, it differs slightly from eQMS and QMS. The area that this solution covers completely is the documentation and its lifecycle from creation to storage, however, EDMS is also a part of handling quality and eQMS.

Difference between QMS, EQMS and EDMS

QMS, EQMS, or EDMS, which one do you need?

Choosing the right solutions out of these three depends on the type of need your business operations have. The choice becomes clear only when you know what your business requirements are, what your strategy is, and which solution fits the best within your business ecosystem.

Venn diagram of QMS, EQMS and EDMS Systems

You can prefer an eQMS system as it is a complete solution serving the needs of a QMS and an EDMS. It outdoes the traditional paper-based quality management systems in ways uncountable and is quickly becoming the new standard for quality management across businesses operating in various industries and of different sizes.

If you’re also looking for an eQMS that can take your quality management process to the next level and instills a culture of Quality, QualityMaster is the right solution for you. Contact our experts for details.