First in Food

HACCP Vendor Management

HACCP based vendor management

For a truly effective HACCP plan, companies must formalize vendor policies and communication with vital service partners.

Janitors, electricians, plumbers, landscaping crews are all hard working professionals who carry out their jobs to little acclaim or fanfare, but whose respective functions are vital to operational success.  Often times these duties are entrusted to outside vendors, and when they are performing excellently, they fade into the background of the day to day cycle of commerce. Companies must not overlook these diligent service providers as components under the umbrella of analysis and controls that Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) places on all facets of operations.   A HACCP based vendor certification  program helps ensure safety and compliance through standard vendor communication, management, and traceability.

Where to Start: Know Your Processes & Communicate!

A vendor certification program will only be successful if a company has well documented

Columbian Logistics Network Food Safety Specialists  (L to R) Dave Cotto & Linda Rodriguez with vendor  Chuck Levine

Columbian Logistics Network Food Safety Specialists (L to R) Dave Cotto & Linda Rodriguez with vendor Chuck Levine

processes. A vendor policy  should serve as an overview of expectations and roadmap to the more detailed and specific processes contained within Pre-Requisite Programs (PRP). These PRP’s are individual components that make up the greater HACCP plan.

By providing access to these processes, companies can educate their vendors and avoid costly non-compliance issues, as well as avoid damaging important working partnerships. The vendor policy needs to be a part of a contract, signed or recognized as an agreed upon set of criteria for operation between the two parties.

Management: Compliance Audits & Tracking

Once vendors have been brought onboard with a compliance program, a system of audits should be in place to monitor compliance.  Monthly and yearly reviews to verify that any process changes have been communicated, as well as reviews of vendor practices, should be documented. For large companies that employ an equally large number of vendors, digital vendor management systems, also known as asset management software, can serve as a central and easily maintained repository for maintaining a program that may be spread across geographies and diverse locations. Smaller companies can achieve proper management with a simple spreadsheet matrix, as long as processes are in place to ensure diligence in maintaining updated information. No matter what tool is used, the basics of creating a central repository for tracking vendor communication & compliance must be functional and easily accessible to parties that interact with outside vendors.

Your Employees: The Best Defense

Your employees will always be the best safeguard and control to help maintain vendor compliance. “When employees are thoroughly trained and aware of the process and procedures that make up a HACCP plan, they will always be vigilant to any issue that might arise.” said Jim Gadziemski, General Manager of Warehousing at Columbian Logistics Network. In essence, everyone becomes part of the HACCP team. Training and frequency will differ for each PRP.  Posting an approved vendors list for facility managers to review prior to vendor selection can help speed the selection process and remove potential hazards that may arise from contracting with un-vetted suppliers.

A HACCP plan is only effective if every part of your organization participates, and that includes the important support provided by outside vendors. Clearly communicating your processes, and creating an audit system to track compliance issues will insure that there are no weak links in your vendor network.

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Questions? Contact Mandy VanHaitsma at 616-460-5489 or amavan@columbian.us

1,000 Days No Lost Time To Injuries

3 years, 33 months and 24,000 hours… that is how long the team at the Grand Rapids Distribution Center conducted operations with no lost time to injuries. The accomplishment is a direct reflection of Columbian Logistics’ dedication to safety, and the effectiveness of the processes and programs in place to promote safety every day. Jim Gadziemski praised the Grand Rapids DC for exemplifying all 5 of Columbian’s core values. “The banner year for business and quick response to customer moves within the facility as well as helping support the whole network are directly tied to Performance and Agility. Cheryl Vandenburg’s Legendary Customer Service award win, the MSHARP certification,

1000 days No Lost Time Team

The Grand Rapids DC team members, gathered to celebrate their achievement

and now 1,000 days No Lost Time achievement  really show how the team lives Service, Safety and Respect.” The 1,000 Days NLT achievement was celebrated with a ceremony and luncheon held at Columbian Logistics corporate office. Families were invited, and Grand Rapids DC employees were presented with specially design t-shirts and certificates by Safety Manager Linda Karel. “We have to recognize Linda for the tireless work she puts forth in support of our safety programs. She’s done a great job.” Said Bob Christian, COO.  Congratulations to all the employees who help reach this important milestone!