New Features: Internal Audits, Labour Costing, Maintenance Projects
The latest instalment of new features dates back to June, so the list is a little long. But that also means that there are many exciting new features to show you! Since there were so many new features to include, we created a separate list for the budding cannabis industry here in Canada, but note that most of those features can also be used by the food industry, such as destruction reports. Read on to find out how Icicle just got even better for maintenance teams, QA teams, and more!
When was it released? November 21, 2019
What does it do? Everyone has audits, but what about all the time in between them? You don’t want any surprises when the auditor comes by and you may also want to check in on the performance of your facilities. The new internal audit feature allows you to conduct a weighted assessment of your food safety program which results in a score that is calculated based on all the weighted factors. When you fill out the questionnaire, you rate each weighted item on a scale of 1-5 and Icicle undertakes a statistical calculation that assigns a score to the whole facility. The default questionnaire is based on GFSI standards but can also be customized for your specific requirements. Bonus: by looking at the audit reports over time, you can measure and evaluate the performance of any particular facility or to benchmark between facilities.
Where did the idea come from? Icicle already has an assessment feature and our all-knowing Senior Account Manager, Ethan Chen, realized that this same feature could be adapted in new ways for the benefit of Icicle users. We are lucky to have Ethan on staff!
Labour Costing for Production Runs
When was it released? October 21, 2019
What does it do? Calculating the cost of a product is a crucial part of any business, so isn’t it important that you factor in everything? Now Icicle can automatically calculate the labour costs associated with any particular production run. You can configure all of your workers with a loaded cost attribute so when you allocate the labour to a particular production run, you can use that information to determine the unit costs of product that includes the labour cost. This new feature helps you price your products appropriately and you can use the data to compare different production runs to investigate the causes of overruns.
This feature will soon be expanded to include the raw material costs as well, allowing you to have actual costing for all your products at any time.
Where did the idea come from? This very useful feature idea came from Markus over at Country Prime Meats. Thank you!
High Performance Upgrade to Purchase Order Interface
When was it released? June 7, 2019
What does it do? This upgrade to the purchase order interface preloads all of the items that are possible to purchase in your Icicle account into the client device, making searches return almost instantaneous.
Where did the idea come from? This one was just an improvement idea our development team had. It was fun to do!
Maintenance Work History
When was it released? November 16, 2019
What does it do? If you navigate to the equipment detail pages for any equipment, there is a new field for work history. Icicle already generates a barcode that you can put on each piece of equipment to make the work of maintenance teams easier and more efficient. Now you can walk up, scan the barcode, and Icicle will pop the equipment detail information in Icicle automatically, together with the new previous work history region. You can see all the work that has been done on a particular machine, making it convenient for maintenance staff to quickly assess the history of work and act accordingly.
Where did the idea come from? Another little idea from our CEO, Steve.
When was it released? November 19, 2019
What does it do? A major new feature release for Icicle’s Maintenance Management module, you can now create maintenance projects in Icicle and define milestones, assign collections of work orders, and explicit tasks to these projects. This helps you manage major maintenance projects such as the construction of a new building, renovation of filtration system, etc. By grouping all of these into a project, you can do all that planning as well as track the progress of the project and report against the projected timeline.
Where did the idea come from? Yet another great idea from Markus at Country Prime Meats!
Maintenance Activity Reports
When was it released? November 20, 2019
What does it do? With this new feature release, Icicle can now run comprehensive reports that can be sliced and diced by facility, date, etc. so you can see a comprehensive list of all the different maintenance activities that occurred in one or more facilities over a particular period of time. The strategic perspective that you can gain as a result gives you a high-level look at maintenance activities as well as the ability to drill down into the data – but you can start by reviewing all the work in one cohesive report.
Where did the idea come from? The maintenance team from Country Prime Meats was really on a roll.
Automatic QA Hold
When was it released? June 26, 2019
What does it do? The new QA Hold feature enables ingredients to be flagged as requiring testing when they arrive at your facility. When you receive the items, an alert is sent out to the QA Manager to notify them that the product has been received but that the items are being held in the QA Hold inventory location until approval is granted by the QA staff. This new feature helps you make sure that no ingredients are immediately put into production before QA staff has had a chance to confirm the safety of the ingredient.
Where did the idea come from? This feature was requested by Matthew from Honest Dumplings, thanks Matthew!
Automatic Best-Before Date for Ingredients
When was it released? July 7, 2019
What does it do? This feature release is a two-parter that will help you avoid getting stuck with stale ingredients. Firstly, we enabled a default best-before days attribute to be set for ingredients so that the best-before date can be automatically calculated if no such date is provided by the manufacturer. Secondly, a few weeks later we released another feature that enables Icicle to calculate the actual best-before date based on the lot code, provided the lot code is based on production date, as is most commonly the case. You first define a “lot code key” in Icicle that enable the system to read the production date. Once this date is known, Icicle calculates the precise best-before date.
Everyone knows that you should use the oldest inventory first in order to extend the shelf life of your products, but you can’t always guarantee that the item you received from the supplier today is newer than the one you received last week. Knowing the actual production date, and therefore the actual best-before date, helps you ensure that your suppliers aren’t sending you stale products and that you use your ingredients in the most efficient order for maximum quality and safety.
Where did the idea come from? These great ideas came from Dave and Neil at Snow Cap!
Unit Conversions for Received Products
When was it released? July 28, 2019
What does it do? Icicle already helped customers make those annoying unit conversions for ingredients, but now that feature has been extended for received products as well. Say you receive a 50lbs bag of flour and store it in inventory in kilograms. The system will automatically do the unit conversion for you, no sweat!
Where did the idea come from? This handy extension was sparked by Dave from Snow Cap.