Preparing for audits is one of the most burdensome tasks of running a food manufacturing facility. It’s tedious, it involves a ton of paperwork, and it’s a painful reminder of the inevitable inspections and audits in your future.
The sooner you get your ducks in a row, the easier it’ll be once audit time arrives. However, even proactive businesses often struggle to stay on top of hazard updates, new ingredients, and changing operating procedures. The reason? Manually managing this information is inefficient and time-consuming.
We engineered Icicle to not only make initial preparations quick and simple, but to make maintaining those documents and records easy as well. Let’s walk through four ways Icicle makes preparing for audits a breeze.
#1: Get Set Up Quickly with HACCP & HARPC Compliance
The process of defending an audit begins when you create your food safety program. Icicle starts you off on the right foot straight away, faster and much more easily than outdated systems. According to our research, it takes the average facility 6-8 months to become HACCP or HARPC compliant. When you think about how detailed the regulations are, it’s not really that surprising. Finding hazards, documenting control points, testing procedures, and keeping those records takes a very long time. To make matters worse, many popular templates online aren’t updated with the latest requirements, like radiological hazards, which are mandatory under HARPC regulations. Icicle saves months of confusing and tedious work. How do we do this?
Our smart software system updates every aspect of the HACCP plan automatically when any element is changed. So, instead of having to update dozens or even hundreds of documents and digital forms each new ingredient is added or a hazard control is changed, you only have to make updates once. We’re also able to mine datasets of hazards, controls, corrective actions, procedures, and interlink regulatory requirements that are specific to your business to jumpstart the process, saving months of setup time.
Icicle is built on top of one of the largest food safety database in the world. Our system helps you identify hazards, suggests processes, and continually empowers you to refine your HACCP using secure data collected from multiple industries and verticals. Setting up a thorough HACCP has never been easier and less stressful.
“I was surprised at the amount of paper a HACCP plan takes – binders and binders. Smart suggestions streamlined things and helped me understand what was needed at each step, with flow charts that made everything clear. This saved me a ton of time and paper.”
— Steven Crutchfield, Villa Cappelli
#2: Stay Audit-Ready by Easily Tracking All Your Ingredients, Materials, and Packaging
One area that gets many facilities in trouble is the collection and maintenance of vendor and traceability data regarding ingredients, materials, and packaging. It’s very easy to get behind when it comes to manually entering all that information and keeping it up to date, and this adds a huge amount of time to inspection and audit prep.
The worst part is, when a supplier changes, you don’t just have to update one document. You have to update every document that relates to that supplier, which can translate into hours of work for even the smallest of changes.
Icicle makes these problems disappear with a connected, automated approach.
- All data is interconnected and automatically updates. Change one piece of information and all the relevant suppliers, materials, or ingredients are updated instantly. Your traceability chain is never broken or inaccurate because of outdated information
- Your entire staff collects critical data just by doing their jobs. Shipping staff, product buyers, sales agents, maintenance workers, and safety officers can easily integrate their tasks into the Icicle system to streamline all aspects of data collection and maintenance.
- As Icicle users, vendors can update their own certifications. Suppliers can securely update and maintain their own food safety and quality certifications in your system.
Staying 100% updated on your ingredients, vendors, orders, shipments, and materials has never been simpler.
“Icicle is the central spot for all our information. This is not a dusty binder on the shelf, it’s a real-time solution that is accessible to our staff, and that is key.”
— Joe Falk, Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry
#3: Streamline…Everything with a Centralized System
Getting standard operating procedures documented isn’t the hardest part of this process, but it’s easy to fall behind on recording how your facility is adhering to regulations when you’re entering everything manually. Since you have to conduct a thorough review of your procedures every three years, you’re bound to waste hours when it’s time to make a handful of changes.
With Icicle, documenting your procedures for training, corrective actions, and reviewing systems is quick and easy. The software features an intuitive checklist and monitoring system that allows you to take a look at tasks completed from any device, including your smartphone. These procedures are incorporated into Icicle, which means that your team is actually using them all the time and feeding that data back into the system.
Once again, when one piece of information in a system changes, the software automatically updates all the relevant systems to keep every record consistent and save you time.
“The beauty of Icicle, actually, is not that the one particular component is great, it’s that it’s the integration of all the components that actually is the selling feature.”
— Paul Tolnai, P&S Frozen Foods
#4: Use Icicle to Conduct Audits
We’ve shown how using Icicle keeps you constantly ready for inspections and audits coming up down the line. This is crucial not only for planned audits, but also for the ones that come as a surprise. Our users report that this shortens the duration of audits by 40%, meaning that a five-day audit becomes just three days.
But Icicle also helps you conduct the audits themselves. You can optionally grant access to inspectors and auditors (with read-only permissions) so that they can review your documentation in advance and even conduct audits remotely. For those reasons, inspectors and auditors love Icicle.
“It gives me a great peace of mind in the sense to know we have all our information prepared and anything that an inspector is going to ask for, whether they’re looking for one product, a general system, a certain hazard, or a bill of ingredients or materials or an allergen. [During our last inspection] they asked for a certain product and what the hazards were there and I was able to pull that up within five minutes. They were in and out within an hour.”
— Mitchell Pugh, Chewter’s Chocolates
Want to save time, money, and headaches while prepping for your next audit or inspection? Request a demo of Icicle today and sign up for our mailing list to get feature updates, industry analysis, and more.