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Friday, 7 March 2014

Right Solution Provider for the Right Purpose:

A business seeking to attain the highest achievement in food safety and quality management needs to retain the right kinds of professionals or solution providers. There are numerous solution providers offering consulting and training services these days and anything does not go. Make sure your business has a vulture repellant.

If and when you hire professionals or purchase solution services, you should seriously consider what you should be getting. You should not simply believe the advertisement promises or coaxed testimonials and dazzling paper qualifications. Many service providers sell project termination point results such as an audit pass or the paper certificate. Another form of results needs to be considered.

Developing Standard Operating Procedures that Fit Theoretical Standards without Making them Work in Reality:

Be on the lookout for “experts” who proceed with excessive focus on theory to the neglect of reality. Such "experts" are easily recognizable because the results of their work inevitably present an unflattering portrait to sensible observers. A flood of such portraits is currently sweeping across the food industry. 

The Difference Between Consultants and Compliance Facilitators:
Have you ever wondered about what would happen if the outcomes expected are defined in more practical terms? For example, what if, instead of only hiring scheme experts and trainers to achieve external certification (compliance facilitators), food businesses hire actual solution providers (consultants) to help them reduce incidents of quality and food safety failures? What if the payment for consulting or training solutions provided is (in a fair fashion) tied to how much is actually achieved in the reduction of unacceptable incidents?

The Best Choice of Consultant or Trainer for an Operation

Your company has a third party certification audit scheduled to take place in 3 months and is looking to hire a food safety consultant. You have two options presented and you would only have to pay for the consultant’s time to prepare the documentation for the scheduled audit at the same weekly rate:

Consultant 1 has a good knowledge of the third party audit scheme and can help you to prepare all of the required documentation for the scheduled audit in approximately 4 weeks but is not able to help you with on-the-floor reduction of food safety and quality failure incidents due to lack of experience with your type of operation. He or she insists on focusing on the audit preparation documentation work to “get the job done”.

Consultant 2 has a significant experience with your type of operation and can work with you to actually reduce food safety and quality failure incidents but is not very familiar with the third party audit scheme that you have to follow for your scheduled audit. He or she has to study the scheme in order to help with the development of the required documentation. This consultant also insists on seeing the floor operations as well to identify any needs. The combined work may take up to 8 weeks. The presumption (correct presumption) is that your company will definitely attain certification, given the current certification marketplace. It's just a matter of time.

You now have to pay for 4 weeks or 8 weeks respectively depending on which consultant you choose. Which will you choose on the basis of the total time cost? The answer seems obvious.

Let's say you look at the net cost instead, on the basis of a calculated loss (consultants pay) versus the gain (reduction in failure incidents), which consultant do you think could end up costing you more in the long run?

After reading the above examples, on what basis do you think your company should be paying consultants (and trainers) – on the basis of time spent to achieve certification or based on incident reduction?

If incident reduction is not tracked, or you feel it cannot be tracked in your operation, you really need a consultant and which of the above options would you prefer?
 Posted By Felix Amiri
Felix Amiri is the current Food Sector Chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection


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