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The SAFE FOOD PRO Blog

 

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Written by Safe Food Sally
on September 17, 2018
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We all have one. And we're not just talking about a food control plan.

We're talking about that back office of your food business where you keep 4 years of food safety records.

Surely there must be a better way of managing a Food Control Plan in 2018 than this?

 

Managing your food safety plan digitally

As with any records that are stored on paper, you risk data being lost, stolen or damaged. Once stored, you also don't have easy access to see whether data has been filled in accurately, or whether anything has been missed. When those records are for your Food Control Plan (FCP), you should regard them as too important to put at risk.

And of course the repercussions of not having accurate and available FCP records can be serious for your business. Not being able to find records when required, or discovering that essential information has been missed, can lead to lost time and stress when dealing with verifiers. 

Screen Shot 2018-06-22 at 11.03.05 AMGoing digital can alleviate these issues, by making it easier to accurately record, practically store, and easily access all your FCP data. Giving you greater accountability, transparency, and potentially saving you time and money. 

 

Let's break it down by the three key areas, and look at how using an app like Safe Food Pro compares to paper.

There are 3 key areas where going digital can improve your business' handling of food safety data:

Recording

No one likes filling out forms. That's why our app is designed to encourage daily use, ease the process, and to make it as engaging as possible. (The key is to make it a simple daily checklist rather than a painful daily chore, and this is achieved through good design.)

The ultimate benefits of this are that the data actually gets recorded regularly and accurately. You know who is recording it – and you have real time visibility of everything.

Here's how an app designed for managing your FCP compares to paper:

Paper App
  • Need to remember to do it, what needs to be recorded when?
  • Paper records get damaged
  • Reading hand writing can be difficult
  • Recording gets missed
  • Back filling records prior to verifications
  • Lots of different forms for different situations
  • Printing out all the forms needed to run the business
  • User is given list of what needs to be done
  • User is guided through the questions so nothing is missed
  • User can use a PIN to digitally sign a completed form
  • As well as filling in forms you can also take photos and video
  • You are warned if recorded data is outside safe limits and prompted to remedy the situation
  • You can record what control measures you have put in place
  • When filling in an ad-hoc form (not scheduled) you have a library of forms to choose from


Storage 

As you probably know, storing 4 years of FCP data is impractical in lots of ways. It takes up space which could be put to better use, it's often messy, it's a pain to access specific records and dates, and things often get damaged or go missing.

With a digital solution, all this pain can be taken away, and all the data stored securely in the cloud. Of course this requires no physical space, and can be backed up as required on local devices.

Using a cloud-based app like Safe Food Pro means you the food business owner or manager having real time visibility of the data that is stored. Accessing and backing up your data is easy, and you can put those dusty shelves in your back office to better use!

Paper App
  • All records need to be physically stored for 4 years
  • Records can be easily lost or damaged
  • All information is stored and backed up securely in the cloud
  • Data can be accessed from anywhere

 

Access

When your Food Safety Verifier comes calling, you want everything to be as seamless as possible. Not only is it about giving the right impression by having everything they need to check to hand, it's about saving you time, money, and unnecessary stress.

Recording your FCP digitally makes this process easier in every way.

Safe Food Pro even allows you to create ‘Verifier Ready’ reports with the click of a button, so you can be well prepared for their visit.

Paper App
  • Prior to verification you will need to go through your records and make sure you have everything on hand for your verifier to inspect
  • Discovering you have missing records prior to verification 
  • Finding a particular record can be a nightmare without a robust filing system
  • Records sitting in folders are useless when it comes to the real-time management of your business
  • Create ‘Verifier Ready’ reports with the click of a button
  • Access your data 24/7 from anywhere in the world
  • Generate and share reports on any food safety aspect of your business
  • With a dashboard you get a real-time snapshot of exactly what is happening in the business, allowing you to make decisions as issues arise

 

And there are other benefits to having a digital Food Control Plan too:

Many mangers have KPIs relating to the management of the FCP (or should have!). Using a digital solution can give them much more transparency and control, to helps meet these targets. Being able to see which members of staff have completed daily FCP records enables managers and owners to identify training needs, or to reward those who are performing best at managing the FCP.

Added extras such as photo and video functionality enable you to capture incidents as they happen, or evidence of shortcomings. You can still go back to previous dates to fill in information that's been missed, but because the app alerts managers to overdue reporting, you should never have to.

Overall, when you look at the pros and cons compared to paper, there seems to be little reason why you wouldn't switch to an app to manage your FCP.  Are you still using paper? If so it might be time to stop and ask why.

 

Keen to give digitising your FCP a go? Try Safe Food Pro fro free:

 

Sign up for your 14 day free trial 

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