Correcting and Preventing Noncompliance Issues with Quality Data
As the backbone of any quality program, collecting quality data is the only way to make sense of the integrity of your company’s products. The quality of your products can vary at any given moment due to errors in the manufacturing process. That’s why it’s important to collect as much quality data as possible to correct and prevent these issues from happening in the future.
What Is Quality Data?
Without some context, you might think the term “quality data” refers to data from high-quality sources like prestigious news outlets and unbiased nonprofit institutions. But when it comes to quality management, the term “quality data” refers to information about your company’s quality management system. This may include:
Reported noncompliance issues
Federal, state, or city compliance requirements
Supplier certification records and other information
Product inspection and audit data
Customer complaints and product performance issues
Simply put, quality data refers to any information relating to the quality of your company’s products or services (which we’ll refer to as simply “products” throughout the article). This data should give you an overview of how well your company’s products compare to brand and regulatory standards.
How Does Quality Data Relate to CAPA?
If your quality data shows that some of your company’s products do not comply with brand and regulatory standards, you need to have a CAPA (corrective and preventive action) plan in place in order to resolve the issue. CAPA plans should be designed to do several things, including:
Reporting the noncompliance issue in question
Identifying the root cause of the noncompliance issue
Establishing a corrective plan to prevent the issue from happening in the future
Documenting that the problem has been resolved
As you can see, quality data is necessary when it comes to correcting and preventing quality compliance issues. You can’t resolve issues with your company’s products unless you’re collecting data on the quality of these products.
Quality data helps you establish a robust CAPA plan, so you can stop defective or subpar products from entering the market and maintain your brand’s reputation over time. If noncompliance issues occur, you can get to the root of the problem, find out what went wrong, and figure out how to prevent these kinds of incidents from happening in the future.
Streamlining CAPA with Quality Management Software
Quality data refers to a large network of information, with data coming from multiple sources at the same time. In order to make sense of this information and put a CAPA plan into place, you need to store all your quality data in the same location. This makes it easy to analyze the data and look for potential noncompliance issues.
A robust quality management software (QMS) allows you to do just that. You can collect real-time quality data from different departments, including all stages of the manufacturing process, while using a single interface to quickly make sense of the results. This type of software, you can pull information from your entire quality program, including product inspection reports, regulatory audits, your internet of things (IoT) devices, supplier information, and any other document you might need to upload. With the right QMS, can also analyze all your quality data using the same interface and then use the results to build a robust CAPA plan and improve results.
When you use RizePoint’s QMS, you can also visualize the data using a range of customizable dashboards and graphs, helping you communicate your findings to the rest of your team, executives, and other stakeholders. This makes it easier to spot quality trends, tell an effective story regarding the quality of your company’s products, and take necessary action to improve trends. Ultimately, RizePoint also saves you time, so you can spend more time working to mitigate risks and drive improvement.
Take control of your company’s quality data and schedule a free demo from RizePoint today.
In everything RizePoint does, we strive to help users collect better assessment data, see important information earlier, and act on that knowledge quickly. The October 2016 release provides RizePoint users with numerous ways to emphasize actionable data so that corrective actions can be completed quicker than ever before.
The RizePoint Management Console now offers a dynamic user interface with quick, at-a-glance visibility into the information users need most. Based on roles, users can be greeted with an Active Home Page that now includes recent audit results, Corrective Action Management items due, Program Compliance tasks due, administrative messages, internal news/bulletin boards, and RSS feeds that are easily configured for their unique needs by the system administrator. By bringing critical details to the surface in this manner, regional and district managers can easily identify and act upon the most critical results of recent inspections in their area.
Additional new RizePoint management dashboards continue to put the facts and figures users need most at their fingertips. Users can easily view top level details and drill down to specific data in each of the available dashboard options:
Corrective Action Management (CAM) Approval
CAM Plan and Approval
Scoring for Report Category
Plus, each of the dashboards can be configured to display the parameters needed for specific report consumers. For instance, an executive may want to see data for numerous locations over one year while a location manager may only need data for one location over the previous month.
Efficient site assessments are taken to the next level by enabling inspection teams to highlight important details while completing assessments. Mobile Auditor users can now upload short videos, attach files, markup images, and format text in order to draw attention to critical information.
RizePoint data transfers are modernized with our newly introduced API framework. IT administrators will appreciate the up-to-date integration methods made available through this new API framework release. And, users can appreciate the ability to combine data from multiple systems – such as systems of record, customer experience tools or security systems – with RizePoint’s management console.
This release also provides a system improvement update that makes scheduling site assessments even easier with batch scheduling of audits, accept and reject options, and the ability to add internal notes seen only by users with permissions.
For more information on these updates, contact your RizePoint Account Executive today.
Everyone in the food service industry knows about this multi-state outbreak of foodborne illness in 2016, and they know how deep the consequences ran. When an outbreak happens, food service providers tend to significantly ramp up their food safety and corrective action plans.
It’s always important to do everything you can to keep customers safe, but it’s also very complicated to do so. You likely have a corrective action plan in place, but do your executives, managers, and employees know how to follow it? And do you have the right technology in place to help both prevent outbreaks and quickly correct them when they happen?
Over the past 20 years, RizePoint has helped top-tier brands — including McDonalds, Arby’s, and Wendy’s — implement market-leading tools and best practices to improve their businesses and keep customers safe. Here are five best practices for corrective action plans that we recommend to give your food service organization a leg up.
1. Select the right corrective action leaders.
Great plans are created by people who understand the issues and may actually live with them day-to-day. This means that you need more than an executive team at headquarters to implement a great corrective action plan. Each of your restaurant locations also needs to designate team members to be in charge of corrective action when needed.
Line workers are critical team members because they work at the forefront with your processes and procedures. These employees know firsthand how well the procedures do (or don’t) work, and they will have terrific insight as to what to do when things go wrong. So it’s wise to ask one or more line workers to become a member of your main team.
2. Evaluate past compliance issues.
You may not have a current problem, but you might have plenty of information and data from previous food safety issues that you can learn from. It’s smart to use your past to create a strong corrective action plan that relates directly to your business.
First, collect all data, including documentation and reports. Next, analyze and validate the facts from your gathered information. Last, determine the problem’s scope, figure out its root cause, and understand how your team corrected the issue. This will help you make a stronger action plan that is specific to how your company and employees work.
3. Use technology to crunch your data.
Your performance management software is a strong ally. Make sure the software can review assessments, audits, and corrective actions. This will help you analyze data to establish benchmarks, forecast possible future issues, and discover trends. The results can also help you improve accountability and create performance notes, both of which contribute to creating better execution of all facets of your action plans.
4. Develop a plan before you need it.
Now is the time to build a workable plan. While you make your plan, you may find procedures you can correct now to make the likelihood of an incident even slimmer. But you should also create a fast-moving action plan if a foodborne issue does happen. Again, quality management software will be your best friend when creating a corrective action plan. It’s a tool that leverages workflow so you can automate your plan as much as possible, which means you can correct issues far more quickly than when using a manual system.
5. Include timetables in your plan.
Your corrective action plan should specify when to take specific actions. For example, if you’ve found that some food has been stored above 39.2 degrees F for more than two hours, your plan would include the requirement that all food stored at that temperature for that period of time is always discarded. This is where accountability is critical. Key stakeholders will know these dates and understand their importance.
With careful forethought, you can feel confident in your corrective action plans. If you want to make your plans even stronger, RizePoint can help. The software is purpose-built specifically for the food service industry, so you can stay on top of your food service and safety compliance performance as well as manage corrective actions and identify issues. Contact us today to learn more.
Like most professionals, I like to stay informed about what is happening in my field, which for me includes food service, retail, and hospitality industries. It amazes me when I read stories of companies failing inspections, or worse, being responsible for a foodborne illness incident that negatively impacts their brand. What is even more interesting is the minimal number of times that leadership publicly responds to inspection failures or instances.
It’s Not the Time to Look for Excuses
In a recent case involving a food producer, OSHA inspectors found several violations in their production facility, and in a second follow-up visit, OSHA found additional violations. In this particular case, the organization accepted $100,000 in penalties, signed the enhanced safety compliance agreement, and took full responsibility for the issues. Unfortunately, leadership assuming full responsibility for violations is not as common as one would think. In fact, they often deflect to other leaders in their organization or make excuses to avoid acknowledging that they weren’t in compliance.
Another example is of a recent string of restaurant incidents in Miami that its management made the decision to shut their restaurants down to take corrective action. Management, in this particular case, took responsibility without giving excuses. They stated, “We have rigorous health and safety policies and procedures in place that were not adhered to. There is no excuse for this, and we have retrained our management and staff to ensure this doesn’t happen again.” Although this organization’s management stated they have “policies and procedures in place,” one would have to wonder what, if any, control mechanism they have in place to prevent these incidents from happening again.
When significant issues or a non-compliant incident occurs within your organization, your team and the public will look at how you respond. If they see you taking full responsibility and providing an action plan to prevent future violations, the public will continue to support you. Taking responsibility is only one action needed in tough times, having full visibility of the situation and the appropriate data to put corrective measures in place is equally critical.
Understanding the “How?” of any incident and possessing enough details to determine if the situation was isolated or an ongoing problem will help you mitigate the impact of the situation and quickly restore your reputation and protect your brand. Whether you have multiple OSHA violations, are the cause of a foodborne illness event, or worse, it’s vital to engage as a trusted leader and ensure you have all of the information needed for an appropriate response strategy.
Below are a few key items to consider when incidents do happen:
Complete visibility: While there is a critical balance between being 100% transparent and ensuring the protection of your brand, being open about what happened, and presenting factual data about the incident, is necessary. Shareholders, customers, and employees will react accordingly to how you respond and your level of openness about what happened.
Be like Sherlock: Don’t make assumptions, make sure you gather as many data points as possible, and be prepared for your responses. You should have processes, standards, and systems in place before an incident happens, and be ready to modify them if something does. Seek out the experts to get their insight. Their expertise is critical to knowing how you should respond to the incident and what strategies are implemented to correct the problems.
Internal importance: Keeping your internal team updated about how you plan to respond to incidents is just as important as how you respond publicly. Your team will continue to look for your leadership and guidance. Regular updates keep everyone in sync, preventing rumors and other information from leaking out.
No finger pointing: Although one would assume that this is a given, the reality is it continues to happen. Pointing fingers and blame only aggravates the situation and can diminish your credibility as a leader both internally and externally.
Having a breadcrumb trail: My philosophy tends to lean heavily on preventing situations from happening, but you cannot avoid all incidents. I firmly advocate having systems in place to track the actions you took before events occur, during and after. This breadcrumb trail gives you an advantage in being at the top of your game before and if an incident or violation occurs.
Putting Everything on the Line and Online
How does a brand build confidence with their customers? By putting everything out and in the public and online. A famous Columbus, Ohio burger chain did exactly that by publishing its health inspection scores online. To quote one of the Vice Presidents of the burger chain, “This information we have, information our customers are interested in, why not make it easier for them to explore it”. This approach is bold and we applaud the organization for being pioneers in transparency. Why shouldn’t customers have easy access to health and safety information about the places they eat or about the places they stay?
No one wants to be responsible for safety or quality infractions, but if it happens, you’ll want to be confident that your teams are ready for action and that your reputation will be protected with RizePoint compliance management software. No more excuses!
For corrective action to really function on a brand level, decisions and actions need to come from the top down (from corporate headquarters to stores), instead of from the bottom up. What I mean by that is in too many franchises people do corrective action on a store-by-store basis — putting out fires as they happen — instead of being able to see trends of problems across the brand and putting preventative measures in place to fix problems before they occur. For this to happen, there needs to be transparency.
3 – Transparency
To make decisions from the top down, corporate headquarters must receive all evaluation data in a timely way, have a way to quickly analyze it, and then make corrective action decisions across the company. Talk to any senior executive in a company about opportunities for improvement, and they’ll quickly rattle off their top five actionable items. They realize there are inefficiencies, but rarely know which stores are specifically experiencing these problems and which managers need more training. And why don’t they have this information? Evaluation information is often stuck in an endless loop of emails and spreadsheets that never go anywhere, which cuts off the stream of data to corporate headquarters. There has to be a way to get information out of the email loop and into the hands of those who have the ability to make effective changes.
Solutions: An effective system will have:
A centralized hub of information, where people all along the evaluation chain can log in and see pertinent information.
Real-time data, so decision makers can solve problems before they turn into brand disasters.
Auto-generated reports, so people can spend less time crunching the numbers and more time making sure changes are implemented correctly.
With these key components in place, a system can make sure the organization has transparency from top to bottom to ensure the right people get the right information to make the right decisions.
4 – Legal Protection
One aspect of the corrective action process often gets overlooked. There is a tendency along the evaluation chain for people to not report violations that could come back to haunt them. For example, say food is left out and is not maintained at the temperature OSHA demands. With the old evaluation system, a report like this could float around, without being attached to the report of corrective action performed to remedy the situation. This old system of evaluations puts everyone involved at a legal risk, leading some people to hesitate to report it at all.
Solutions: To protect your company from these kind of regulatory and legal problems, you must utilize business performance software. RizePoint’s software technology allows you to document corrective action — preferably with pictures and work orders — and attach it along with the original evaluation. This way, companies can show due diligence should questions ever arise.
In summary, our system checklist of solutions:
Efficiency — mobile evaluations, automated reports sent to the correct people
Accountability — an automated system that reminds each individual of their evaluation and corrective duties and alerts upper management if those duties are not performed
Transparency — centralized information and auto-generated reports that are sent to those in authority to make changes
Legal Protection — a system that allows stores to connect evaluation reports with corrective action reports for future reference
As executives keep these key characteristics in mind, they’ll be enabled to choose the most efficient corrective action platform available.
One last thought: it’s vital companies recognize and reward those who are compliant and who enter corrective actions on time. When your corrective action system is operating correctly, it becomes an important tool in your toolbox to support the field team. Those who use it well should be recognized. Many companies today even tie financial bonus and incentives directly to the corrective action process. On a higher level, it’s also helping to strengthen your corporate culture.
I hope you enjoyed this two-part blog on corrective action.
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning.” Benjamin Franklin
All businesses face two major challenges to success. First, they must constantly detect inefficiencies and apply corrective action to stay competitive. Second, they must find a way to hold every single employee of your company accountable for completing these corrective measures to ensure improvements are made. When you take into account all the moving pieces of a company — regulation, compliance, risk management, employee satisfaction and customer experience — the task of improving a business (especially a franchise with multiple locations) seems like a daunting, if not impossible, task.
Thankfully, there are corrective action systems available that help address this problem. These systems come into play after a manager has completed an evaluation of his or her store and is ready to put corrective measures into play. Company executives should consider the following four key characteristics of an effective corrective action system:
Let’s say that a store manager has just completed a store evaluation. As we analyze what happens next, let’s look at how these first two values come into play with an effective corrective action system.
1 – Efficiency
An efficient evaluation system gets a store to the corrective action stage as quickly as possible. Oftentimes when an evaluation is complete, a manager has to then return to his or her office, fire up a laptop, input each item of data individually into a spreadsheet, then send it to the next person on the corporate food chain.
Let’s stop here for a moment. We’re already seeing a major problem in this process. It’s taking forever for this store to get to the corrective action stage. The manager is spending too much time by having to first complete the evaluation, enter the information, and then send it to the regional manager. The longer it takes to complete, upload and submit evaluations, the longer it will be before stores can fix problems with corrective actions.
Solutions: By taking the pen, paper and spreadsheet out of the equation entirely and replacing them with mobile evaluation software that can be used onsite on any smartphone or tablet, you can reduce wasted time, increase productivity, and improve employee satisfaction. This streamlines the evaluation process. Having a system that will automatically send these evaluations to the correct person also helps make the system more efficient and gets stores to the corrective action stage more quickly.
Let’s continue with our scenario.
2 – Accountability
After the store manager sends the report via email to the regional manager, a few different things can happen. First, the regional manager might not even read it. Second, the manager may read it, but not really know the corrective action to prescribe. Third, the manager may read it and respond to the email with the appropriate corrective action. This is only effective so far as the company has a system in place to ensure the store manager then completes the corrective action.
The problem with this part of the evaluation process is the lack of accountability. Who’s holding the regional manager accountable for reviewing and responding to the evaluation? Who’s holding the initial manager accountable for taking the corrective action? When evaluations are stuck in an endless cycle of emails and spreadsheets with no centralized hub of information, there isn’t a realistic way for upper management to keep tabs on corrective action. This means no one is being effectively held accountable.
Solutions: All companies need a system that makes each person along the evaluation process accountable. Such a system would give store managers a certain amount of days to complete evaluations and corrective actions and would remind them if they had surpassed their time. The system would also remind regional managers of their need to review evaluations, determine corrective actions, and follow up with the stores making those corrections. Finally, all of this information should automatically be transmitted to corporate headquarters, where company leadership can see problems and hold store and regional managers accountable for their performance.
In summary, an effective corrective action system will get stores to the corrective action stage as quickly and efficiently as possible. It will also hold store and regional managers accountable for performing the corrective actions required.
I’ll cover the next two characteristics of an effective corrective action system — transparency and legal protection — in my next blog post.