Food Safety Systems Q2 2018 Newsletter
Eurofins Food Safety Systems is headquartered in Des Moines, IA, but we can be found all over the place at a variety of events. Check out our upcoming appearances and join us!
SQF Info Day
St. Louis, MO
April 10, 2018
PMCA (Production Manufacturing Confectioners Association)
April 16-18, 2018
Kansas City, MO
April 23-25, 2018
BRC Food Safety Americas
May 22-23, 2018
In 2018 we will be hosting a variety of webinars. Check the Resource Center for upcoming webinars.
To view or register for upcoming training events visit us here: https://www.eurofinsus.com/food-safety/events/
Because we don’t all get to know you personally, we want to open ourselves up and let you get to know the Eurofins Food Safety Team! We are proud of the group we have assembled, and it continues growing. Each quarter we will feature a brief interview with a different team member and give you a better taste of who we are, in and out of the office.
Bambi Brokaw, Project Specialist
What is your background (briefly)?
I have been in various different industries throughout my career. I have owned my own construction business and had the experience of running a day to day operation. My professional ventures have led me to high ranking opportunities with the state of Iowa to managing a local optical shop. My passion is people!
Why did you choose Eurofins?
I was contacted about an opportunity at Eurofins by a recruiter. At the time, I was not actively looking for a career change. However, the opportunity sounded very interesting so I approached my interview as if I were interviewing Eurofins. Needless to say, I was very impressed by what I learned. I chose Eurofins because I was intrigued by the industry, a new industry, that I had no idea even existed. I love the entrepreneurial atmosphere. I enjoy establishing and maintaining exceptional customer relations, and since one of Eurofins core values is Customer Focus, I knew it would be a good fit.
It’s Saturday morning. What are you most likely doing?
Favorite movie of all time?
I like a lot of different movies, but I only like to watch them once. My favorites include everything from Disney movies to suspenseful thrillers!
What is your favorite springtime activity?
I love walking my dog. It gives me exercise, fresh air, and good quality quiet time.
Outside of work, what is your biggest passion?
My biggest passion outside of work is my children. I have an 18-year-old, Maddison; identical twins Farrah and Felicity who are 10; and Sam who is 9 years old.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Definitely a night owl. I am not an early morning person. I do envy those who get up early to work out, but that just doesn’t work for me.
If you could live anywhere on this planet - and take everything that you love with you - where would you choose to live? Why?
I would choose a tropic island. Every day would be an adventure!
Project Management and Achieving Certification - Paul Smith of AFC, Inc.
It is exciting for the Eurofins FSS team to meet customers embarking on the certification journey and witnessing their successes. Obviously, a significant amount of work and preparation is required before that first audit can be scheduled. Many sites manage to keep to their desired timeframes, while others need to postpone their initial audit dates multiple times.
Last year, we were fortunate to meet Paul Smith of AFC, Inc. in Lake in the Hills, IL. Paul eagerly shared his first-hand experience utilizing his Project Management skills to achieve a GFSI benchmarked certification within a specified time. Paul and his team are working to become certificated to the BRC Standard for Storage & Distribution in 2018. Here, Paul shares helpful concepts that can be explored for planning and executing the work of a team to achieve certification or another specific goal.
Project Management in dynamic environments requires a strong balance of hard and soft skills. Often, smaller organizations are highly fluid and team members wear multiple hats, so it is possible that a team member who is non-degreed in PM—perhaps even without a PM Certification—can end up leading a high-profile project that requires formal management. Though there are plenty of Gant chart programs and other supports, one of the best tools I have found for maintaining focus is the PM Delta or Iron Triangle. There are a few variations of the format, but it is essentially a triangle with the sides representing Scope, Cost, and Time respectively, and Quality/Safety sitting at the center.
The formula allows that two of the sides can be set, the third side is the output (Quality and Safety are non-negotiable). So, for example, if Scope and Time are determined, then Cost is the fixed output, and this is works in any configuration.
e.g. Time (6 weeks) + Cost ($200) = Scope (paint kitchen and living room)
if, Time (1 day) + Scope (paint kitchen and living room) = Cost ($1000)
if, Time (1 day) + Cost ($200) = Scope (paint two walls)
if, Scope (paint house) + Time (1 day) = Cost (Market Price)
When setting up a plan for our BRC compliance, I understood that the Scope was externally driven and fixed: compliance to the BRC S&D Issue 3. What that gave me was two open sides for cost and time. This is less common, but, by keeping two elements soft, each team member could see how time affected cost and vice versa, such that it was not an abstract exercise with outside-imposed deadlines, but truly input-dependent with every team member influencing both cost and time.
e.g. Scope (BRC S&D 3000ft²) = Time (stakeholder managed) + Cost (stakeholder managed) where, if Scope drifts, Cost and Time both increase.
On the soft-skill side: this allowed for flexibility with accountability so that ownership of the project was shared instead of simply pushed down to an assembled team taking direction from a Project Manager above. On the hard-skill side: because our core business is so far removed from the project that required BRC Compliance, this allowed us to aggressively compartmentalize the project and avoid any scope creep as it would be immediately visible on the other two sides of the Delta: Cost and Time.
To read more about Project Management tools, we suggest referencing: https://www.pmi.org/
Eurofins Appointed to SQF Technical Advisory Committee
Eurofins Food Safety Systems is pleased to announce that it has been voted by our peers as one of the three Certification Body representatives for the SQF TAC.
The Technical Advisory Council (TAC ) members represent the SQF Stakeholders including consultants, trainers, certification bodies, accreditation bodies, retailers, foodservice and the pre and post farm-gate industry sector. TAC members are expected to be technically competent and experts in international food safety standards and be knowledgeable about advances in food safety standards and systems.
The role of the SQF TAC is to:
- Represent their respective stakeholder group
- Review the SQF Code and supporting documents
- Propose changes to the Code and documents where necessary
- Consider and endorse changes proposed by SQFI staff
- Provided overall advice and guidance on the application of the SQF Code
- Appoint technical sub-committees on a needs basis to develop or review documents or issues
- Consider the outputs of the technical sub-committees
- Make recommendations to the SQFI on improvements to training materials, implementation, audits and certification requirements
TAC members serve a 3-year rotating term with an opportunity to serve a maximum two 3-year terms. Meetings are held twice per year with one meeting in the spring and the other in conjunction with the annual SQFI Conference.
Eurofins is extremely honored to accept this new appointment. The expertise and dedication of Gary Smith, FSS Vice President, to food safety was considered in the decision and will help enhance the SQF Program to address the latest food safety and quality issues and build a safer supply chain.
Eurofins Scientific North America Food Division has announced its membership in The United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA), an international association of forward-looking companies dedicated to providing consumers with natural health products of superior quality, benefit, and reliability.
"We choose to join UNPA because of their leadership in the natural products industry," said Gary M. Smith, Vice President, Food Safety Services. "Partnership between UNPA and Eurofins will provide us insight into the needs of UNPA members, and an opportunity to connect the natural products industry to the full scope of Eurofins services.”
"We are honored to have the company and its team join the UNPA family."
- Loren Israelsen, UNPA president
By joining UNPA, Eurofins is able to connect with a large community of knowledgeable natural products experts. Organization members will also have a direct connection to Eurofin's host of food safety testing, training, auditing, certification and consulting services. Eurofins' membership also creates a connection between two leaders in the industry.
Don’t Be That Person
The conference call. A necessity of the modern business-place, yet sometimes a major frustration for all involved. The following rules, from Bo Barron, are an excellent guide. See the full article here.
- There must be a clear leader/moderator of the call – This is the person that keeps the call on track. Time is valuable. When you multiply the time spent on a call times the number of people on the call, multiples of hours are spent on a conference call. There has to be a driver of the bus.
- There must be an agenda – Not only must there be an agenda, but it needs to be in front of everyone. The agenda keeps the meeting on track and allows all on the call to know the purpose of the call. It gives direction.
- Announce yourself – This was the single biggest difference between the “free-for-all” call and the quick and efficient one. Announcing yourself when you speak has two huge benefits. First, it is polite to let those on the call know who is speaking since they can’t see you. Don’t assume people know the sound of your voice. Second, it almost entirely eliminates interruptions. I was surprised by this but think about it. You aren’t as likely to cut someone off or talk over someone if you are announcing who you are first. “This is Jack from Ohio and I’m going to interrupt you now.”
- Keep the group as small as possible – This is common sense. So what do you do if you have a large group? Divide them up. We are planning a national conference with over a dozen people on the call. One of our team had the brilliant idea to break into smaller teams depending on which day of the conference you had responsibility. We now have 2 calls instead of 1, but the groups are smaller and it is so much easier to make decisions and get off the call quickly.
- Practice impeccable phone etiquette – There is nothing worse on a call than background noise. Typing is heard. A side conversation is happening. The background noise kills the mojo of the call and is simply rude. It is so easy to be distracted on a call like this and start checking email, etc. I get it. Just make sure your line is muted.
- Make sure you have a good connection – Cell phones are tricky. Regardless of my love for Verizon, sometimes I will still have a bad connection. If at all possible, dial in from a landline. I am not a fan of VOIP in this context.
- Set these ground rules and the beginning of the call – This is the leader’s job. At the beginning of the call, the leader should welcome everyone and then lay out the ground rules. Don’t assume that those on the call understand the guidelines for a quick and efficient call. The leader’s role is huge in setting the tone, keeping the call on track, and making sure that everyone is engaged. If someone is not speaking up, call them out and invite them to share their thoughts.
We would add to these seven rules one more: Show the same respect for others as you would if they were in the room with you. Our wish for you is that your conference calls don’t go like this:
The FSS Playlist
The weather is warming up. Are you taking advantage of it by getting out and getting moving?
To help motivate you, we’ve collected the favorite workout songs from a cross-section of the Food Safety Systems team. This is a glimpse into the diverse and well-rounded team we have (musically, if nothing else!) Listen to it for free at Spotify. And remember…motivation is fleeting. Discipline is what will help you reach your goals. We are right there with you. Let’s stay moving, healthy, and fit!