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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Wrong Exit

Exiting is a wise move but. . . 

Lately, there appears to be a resurgence of each major customer with its unique supplier audit. I have learned that such audits exist for Yum! Brands, Nestle, Subway, McCormick, Costco (Addendums), Woolworths Quality Assurance (WQA) and others. These multinationals control a considerable market share in the manufacturing, food service and retail sectors.
While ignoring or even exiting the redundant certification craze is wise for food businesses, granting token recognition and returning to “everyone his or her own way” is a crazier alternative to what is being avoided. Going back to customer-specific audits is not the way to exit the centralized certification vogue that grew out of the frustration of suppliers having to deal with so many separate customer audits.
Token Option of 3rd Party Certification:
Although these major customers say suppliers selling to them may choose to be certified against “recognized schemes”, they appear unwilling to simply accept the scheme certifications in lieu of their unique supplier audits. The question is why and the answer is obvious: Centralized certification schemes are too generic to cover the unique requirements of the customers. Secondly, the over-commercialization and competition among the schemes has diluted the effectiveness and has led to questions about the reliability of the third-party certification process. It should therefore not be a surprise that we are seeing the tactical exit of major customers who seek a different basis for having confidence in their supply chain.
Essentially and sadly, the current setup is oppressive to both small and large food businesses. These businesses, as suppliers, must be certified to at least one generic scheme and must also go through unique supplier audits for customers A, B, C, etc. Depending on the number of customers, the burden can be enormous. In other words, for some operations, the centralized certification initiative has worsened the problem that led to it in the first place. Scheme certification audits are now required in addition to customer audits, instead of eliminating them.
There is a better way that:
  • Accommodates all customers
  • Drives collaboration between suppliers and customers
  • Engages all parties (suppliers, customers, third parties, regulators, consumers, etc.)
  • Encourages adaptive instead of formulaic approaches
  • Eliminates the use stagnant and generic audit checklists or requirements with numerous irrelevant and redundant clauses
  • Involves only one audit arrangement that is acceptable to all collaborating Suppliers
It is the way that is preferred by Fearless Guardians of food safety and quality.True guardians of food safety prefer Fortification instead of Certification
Posted by Felix Amiri
Felix Amiri is currently the chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection, and a sworn SSQA advocate.

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