Automating HACCP Management Systems at Multiple Locations

If you serve food to customers, you need to be able to guarantee food safety. HACCP management is a big part of this. And it’s not necessarily easy. 

Especially if you’re overseeing several different locations, centrally organizing HACCP management can be a challenge. The solution? Automating the whole process from start to finish. Here’s how you go about it.

What’s an HACCP management system in the first place?

Companies that prepare, treat, process and/or sell food are legally obliged to draw up a food safety plan based on the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points)

A food safety plan must be able to guarantee food safety for guests or customers. The HACCP plan describes important processes such as: receipt of goods, preparation, production, packaging, storage and transport of foodstuffs and/or meals. 

In an HACCP plan, special attention is paid to critical control points (CCPs). These are points in the production process requiring additional measures to guarantee food safety, such as personal hygiene, temperature control and things like cross-contamination.

How do you set up an HACCP food safety system?

Companies can choose to draw up their own food safety plan in accordance with the HACCP guidelines. Another option is to make sure they conform to local hygiene codes and guidelines in their industry. 

When compiling the plan yourself, an HACCP study must be carried out and on the basis of this, all processes must be described, including the associated control measures and critical control points. 

A registration plan must also be drawn up in order to demonstrably work in a food-safe manner and control all possible risks. We’ve also written out the first step in developing an HACCP plan, if you’d like to get started now. 

Do HACCP food safety management systems also work for multiple locations simultaneously?

If your organization consists of several locations that work according to the same concept, such as a hotel or restaurant chain, naturally, it’s important that all locations work in accordance with the same food safety plan. 

You can simply carry out the study at one location first and provide all other locations with the same plan on that basis. 

It is, however, important that all possible processes at individual locations are described, including each type of registration. This way, you can customize plans for different locations that require specific measurements. 

How a digital QMS helps support multilocation HACCP management

If you opt for a digital quality management system, it’s very easy to adjust plans for individual locations without changing your overall plan. You simply select processes unique to this location in your central digital QMS and customize them to your liking. 

It also works the other way around. Quality managers can easily adjust the central plan if necessary and these changes are then automatically implemented at the locations.

With an automated system you can also monitor each location on autopilot, including the temperatures of cooling units and the corrective actions in the event of non-conformities. 

And if you’re opting for a cloud-based solution, you can get insights into the state of affairs at all locations from anywhere, at any time. Real-time monitoring and reporting, straight from a central app, basically.

What to look out for if you manage food safety at multiple locations

There are several things you need to look out for when you’re responsible for food safety at several locations:

  1. Uniformity of your hardware installation
  2. Instructions for employees
  3. Standardizing your food safety workflows

Let’s look at all these subjects in detail and work out what’s most important for each.

1. Uniformity of your hardware installation

If you choose an automatic system for temperature monitoring, such as sensors, it is recommended to choose the same system at all locations. The advantage of this is that within the same platform you can view the results of all locations without having to switch between different platforms or systems. 

It will also make it easier for you to monitor the correct installation and placement of the sensors in the various coolers/freezers.

By recording this, you have more certainty about the correct monitoring of temperatures. You can then make central agreements with the supplier about maintenance and mandatory calibration.

2. Instructions for employees

By using the same hardware and software at all the different locations, instructions to employees also become simpler. You can take care of instructions for several locations, at the same time. 

In addition, personnel can now be deployed interchangeably between all the different locations. And while you’re instructing employees on the food safety system itself, you can also immediately instruct them on how to go about digital registrations. 

By the way, did you know that annual training of your employees on food safety is a legal obligation?

3. Standardizing your food safety workflows

By developing and managing your food safety system centrally, you make it easier to standardize and maintain all processes. Standardizing processes also means communication with employees at all locations becomes uniform.

If an adjustment is necessary in one of the processes or procedures, you can easily adjust this centrally and then communicate it to all locations. If you work with an automated system such as Rmoni’s digital QMS, you can send these changes to all locations with the push of a button.

As a result, all locations are always up-to-date with regards to relevant legislation and associated processes and procedures. If it’s necessary to adjust registrations, you can also implement this very easily.

With standardized food safety workflows, all locations always work in the same way and you can monitor everything centrally and adjust where necessary.

Example: How Van Der Valk went from manual registration to digital convenience

Hotel chain Van der Valk has more than 100 hotels and restaurants worldwide. About 200 employees work at Van der Valk in Zwolle. One of them is sous chef Richard Sloos.

In addition to his work in the kitchen, he oversees the implementation of HACCP guidelines for the Zwolle, Enschede and Hengelo locations. Recently, together with Rmoni's implementation partner Gullimex, Richard digitized the registration activities for HACCP with Rmoni.

Read the full case study here: Van Der Valk: Moving from manual registration to digital convenience.

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