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Food Safety and Electronic Record Keeping—Moving Beyond Paper Logs and Excel



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Processors and growers are feeling the increased burden of reporting—both from FSMA and customer-specific requirements. Existing legacy processes such as paper and Microsoft Excel have never been efficient and may now no longer be compliant. Technology companies—from established vendors to startups—are responding with different solutions in the marketplace. Without an understanding of what is possible, companies may end up investing in a less-than-optimal solution.

This session will cover recent trends in data collection, analytics, and reporting tools available to food growers and processors. This will be an informational presentation to inform attendees about approaches they may not be familiar with and the pros and cons of several different technologies.

Some of the topics covered include:

  • How to move away from paper (clipboards) and Excel
  • Pros and cons of using phones or tablets for data capture in wet/cold/remote environments
  • Using barcode, RFID and/or Bluetooth Low Energy for employee-presence verification
  • Novel uses of GPS in data capture—geo-fencing, navigation, employee path tracing, and presence verification
  • Capturing hundreds of pictures every day and how to use the data once you have it
  • Using both simple and complex barcodes to streamline data entry and product specification verification
  • Communicating out-of-spec events to key players in a timely manner
  • Electronic authorization and verification of records by supervisors
  • Use of reporting and dashboards in-plant and in-office
  • Discussion of integration with financial systems, processing equipment, labs, and other third parties
  • Rather than seeing the additional reporting requirements driven by both new regulations and customers as a burden, we will attempt to reframe it as an opportunity. Companies that do a better job of data collection and reporting will be able to leverage that into increased efficiency, throughput, and quality. The right tools, implemented correctly, will not just ensure regulatory compliance, but will also be a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

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