Where do we start?
Follow these eight steps to implement your Supplier Management process:
- Document your supplier management process
- Conduct a risk assessment for all raw materials, primary packaging as well as service providers
- Compile supplier selection criteria
- Identify appropriate supplier approval methods
- Evaluate your suppliers’ ability to meet the required specifications
- Compile an Approved Suppliers List
- Document a procedure for how exceptions are to be handled
- Analyse and review supplier performance at management reviews
1. Document your supplier management process
2. Conduct a risk assessment for all raw materials, primary packaging as well as service providers
- In Chapter 9 (Product Analysis) of our eBook series, we covered raw material risk assessment. When conducting your raw material risk assessment, you will score each
raw material (including primary packaging) with regards to food safety, quality, and legality. Read the Product Analysis ebook in conjunction with this ebook
- The extent to which your suppliers will need to be managed will depend on the results of the raw material risk assessment – the greater the risk, the higher the degree of management required.
- Review your raw material risk assessment when-ever there are changes to your raw materials, changes to suppliers, emerging risks or food safety incidents occur.
- The BRC Global Food Safety Standard Issue 8 Interpretation Guideline states that the risk assessment should be reviewed at least once every 3 years.
3. Compile Supplier Criteria for all Raw Material Materials, Primary Packaging as well as Service Providers
- Compile Raw Material Specifications – read Part 1, Chapter 2 of this ebook series and refer to the DOH Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs (R.146 March 2010) Guidelines for more information
- Identify supplier selection criteria – decide on suitable supplier selection criteria for each raw material e.g Copy of GFSI Intermediate Certification or higher, signed product specifications, sample of raw material to be tested by accredited laboratory for verification, supplier audit or visit, supplier trial period, COA (Certificate of Analysis) to be delivered per batch delivery
- Identify supplier selection criteria for your service providers e.g Laboratories to show proof of ISO 17025 accreditation, pest control services to show proof of DAFF registration and membership of the SAPCA (South African Pest Control Association). Service providers also need to have proof of the appropriate level of food safety training and demonstrate compliance to your facility’s food safety code of conduct
4. Identify appropriate supplier approval processes
The method of supplier approval with depend on the raw material / service provided and the associated risks and can include one or a combination of methods.
- Supplier questionnaire. This questionnaire will help you collate all the information that will help you determine whether your suppliers have the ability to supply you with raw materials that comply with food safety, quality and legal requirements. Refer to DOH Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs (R.146 March 2010) Guidelines. Suppliers of low risk raw materials or services may only be required to complete this supplier questionnaire and attach the required supporting information e.g raw material specifications, COA (Certificates of Analysis), Certificate of Acceptability, traceability and recall procedures etc
- Proof of supplier’s food safety certification – for suppliers of medium to high risk raw materials or services a second part or third party audit against the GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) Intermediate or even full food safety system certification such as FSSC 22000 or BRC Global Food Safety Standard may be required.
5. Evaluate your suppliers’ ability to meet raw material and primary packaging specifications
Initial screening of suppliers can include the following:
- Evaluate the completed supplier questionnaire
- Check all supporting information.
- Check that certificates are within the expiry dates
- Validate supplier certificates by cross-checking information with the certification body
- Request copies of the Traceability Procedure, HACCP Plan and Food Safety Policy document
- Request a copy of a recent supplier audit report
- Raw materials with a higher risk assessment rating may require a supplier audit in addition to the above supplier questionnaire
- Where you are purchasing raw materials through agents or brokers, ensure that the traceability details of the last processor or packer of the raw material or primary packaging is available
- Where supplier audits are required, these audits should be conducted by appropriately experienced and trained auditors and all audit records should be available. Verification of traceability system should be included in these supplier audits.
- Formal agreements or contracts are required with service providers who provide services that impact food safety, quality or legality such as labour, waste removal, off-site storage, distribution, maintenance and calibration of equipment, laundry service, pest control, cleaning, laboratory testing etc.
Ongoing supplier performance monitoring:
- Use a risk-based approach to determine the frequency of monitoring
- Review the supplier monitoring programme in line with changes to your raw materials or where emerging risks are identified, any food safety or quality incidents, or supplier audits indicate a food safety, quality or legality compliance risk.
- The BRC Issue 8 Interpretation Guideline states that where supplier approval is only based on supplier questionnaires, that new supplier questionnaires should be completed at least once every 3 years
6. Compile an Approved Suppliers List
What needs to be included on the list?
- All suppliers who have been assessed and have been approved
- Include all include suppliers of all raw materials, primary packaging as well as service providers
- Ensure that the list is available to those receiving the raw materials to enable the cross-checking of suppliers upon intake of goods
Is there a specific format of what this Approved Suppliers List should look like?
Food safety standards do not dictate the format.
Tip: always have alternative / back-up suppliers especially for suppliers of raw material used in large volumes and service providers who perform key services; e.g testing laboratories.
7. Document a procedure for how exceptions will be handled
In the event that a supplier is unable to fulfil an order, and you are unable to follow the supplier approval process, then you need to have a procedure that you will follow that will help mitigate any risk to your products. This could include:
- Assessing the risk of the purchase of the raw material from the supplier
- Increasing the product sampling size and scope of product testing
- Requesting the last second or third-party audit report
- Signed product specification
- Requesting a product sample of the batch prior to delivery
8. Analyse and review supplier performance at management reviews
Review the effectiveness of your supplier management programme by analysing the following information:
- Non-conformances reported on incoming raw material inspections
- Laboratory reports
- Supplier audit reports
- Communication from regulatory bodies
- Changes to raw material specifications
- New raw materials
Updates to the raw material risk assessment
- Updates to the food fraud risk assessment
- New or emerging risks to raw materials
- Risk to the raw material supply chain
- Food safety incident reports
How can Entecom help you?
With Entecom Online you can:
- Search and find supplier information with ease
- Pull Supplier monitoring reports directly from our Food Safety App
- Access Food Safety Certification, Certificated of Analysis and Raw Material Specifications online
- Receive notification when supplier certificates are close to their expiry date
- Monitor Suppliers Digitally
- Access your Supplier Questionnaires Digitally