Delta Partners Management Consultants
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Food Safety & Traceability

Delta Partners continues to provide the leadership and guidance that food and beverage producers need as they are pushed rapidly into a new reality of ever-increasing globalization and regulation.

In fact, we have been working closely with Food Safety Magazine and writing articles that go beyond the 'this is how we use this technology' approach, and provides managers with the often neglected skills that they really need to cope with the realities of leading people in an era of constant change.  Our recent contribution, How to Make Your Employees Care about Food Safety, has become one of their most read articles.

A Trust Industry

Pharmaceutical firms work in a heavily regulated marketplace because governments recognize that their citizens are concerned with the safety and efficacy of the chemicals that they ingest.  The drug companies also recognize that theirs is a trust industry.  If the buyingpublic comes to the conclusion that a company cannot be trusted, that they are willing to peddle medicines that might cause illness, then those companies will not survive for long.

Food and beverage producers are slowly coming to accept that they are members of this same trust economy.  Unfortunately for many of them, they waited much too long before accepting this reality.

Now they are faced with a wave of regulatory requirements and customer expectations with respect to the quality and safety of the products they offer.

They are faced with a renewed focus on accountability and traceability of inputs and distribution of products.  The ability to understand and comply with government regulations will become a crucial component of understanding food safety requirements, and will require companies to invest in more sophisticated IT solutions to maintain accurate records.  

Adapting to this new reality can position producers to take advantage of the new market opportunities and prepare them to expand their market horizons.

Where Do You Stand?

  1. How long does it take your organization to run a traceability report? 
  2. Is your traceability system automated or paper based?
  3. If you were asked to exchange electronic data with relevant inspection authorities, couldInjured apple you comply?
  4. What opportunities exist for your company or organization to take advantage of the harmonization of food safety approaches? 
  5. What are your next steps?

What We Do

Fundamentally, food safety is a people issue.  Software can support a food safety practice by providing relevant and timely information.  The food safety response, however, is based on people working together as an integrated team to protect the safety and health of workers, customers, and the general public.  We work with our clients to help you define your strategy, develop your “quality” culture, and improve your “people” engagement in ways that will allow you to leverage the investments you make in manufacturing systems and process improvements. In doing so, we will work closely with your quality group, your technical staff, your management team, and your IT solution providers to ensure the employee engagement, the supply chain engagement, the appropriate training, and the project management disciplines you require to optimize your brand promise.

Product quality in the food industry must be more than a compliance issue – it should be a strategic commitment and a key competitive advantage for an organization.

Alcide DeGagné, Chairman and CEO of Delta Partners Inc.

Delta Partners teams with Ithos to Help Integrate Food Safety and Supplier Quality IT Systems into Organizations

Effective implementation of supplier ingredient quality measures can help food processors and distributors minimize liability and brand risk. Delta Partners and Ithos are teaming up to offer you access to additional resources to maximize the ROI on your IT investment.

Our partnership will help companies focus on the tasks required to successfully implement Food Safety IT solutions, while allowing them to engage in the necessary organizational development and change management needed to unite stakeholders across the organization.

Ken Bubeck, Founder of Ithos, Inc.

Ithos provides managed content systems to address the challenges of supplier quality assurance and global regulatory compliance in the food, beverage, nutrition, cosmetics, and personal care products industries. Ithos products enable companies to track regulatory changes in domestic and export markets, determine compliance for new products, manage and publish product safety documentation, and quickly trace component ingredients back to their sources. Ithos’ Ingredient SAFE product provides secure product supply chain management, and their Web Discovery portal easily searches international guidelines to screen against restrictions on ingredients and additives. For more information,please click here.

Delta Partners focuses on the cornerstones of organizational success: strategy, people and process, and our expertise in food safety and change management can help you successfully integrate quality processes into your organizational ecosystem. One of the key lessons we have learned, as a result our broad experience in working with the implementation of IT solutions, including food safety management systems and projects, is that software implementation without recognizing and managing the “people' side of the equation can lead to unintended consequences. We can help you integrate people capacity with software tools. 

Safety, Quality and Corporate Performance

Companies that already have a robust Quality Management System (QMS) in place may look to take the issue of food safety and traceability to the next level – seeking to derive competitive advantage through their brand promise by placing themselves in the best-in-class performing food and beverage providers. This goes beyond meeting typical certification requirements; rather it recognizes food safety as the hallmark of a great brand. These two approaches – an awareness of the need to meet regulatory compliance, combined with an overt desire to improve—are taking food manufacturers to new levels in corporate performance.

Understanding your company’s maturity profile will provide you with the information that you need to reach best-in-class levels of performance.  Delta Partners can benchmark your organizational profile and guide your organizational development strategy as you pursue these goals.

Food Safety Organization Assessment

In the current quest to find solutions to their food safety challenges, most manufacturers are making significant investments to bolster their systems and processes. Others, feeling confident in their capabilities, are diving directly into the certification process for a quick fix. Surprisingly few organizations are giving any meaningful thought to the 'people and culture' side of the quality/production equation. They continue to play defense with checklists and technology investments.

If you are a food manufacturer seeking GFSI certification, your aim is to ensure compliance – meeting the above requirements demands a very high degree of due diligence in applying quality management systems at the process level. However, it also requires employee engagement efforts that go beyond simply implementing the appropriate IT solution.

Certification is an expensive, rigorous and time-consuming process. Many firms have started the certification process, only to find that their level of organizational maturity – in terms of quality management systems, organizational readiness, and controls – is inadequate.

For those pursuing GFSI certification, there is considerable pre-certification work to be done.  Our Food Safety Organization Assessment will help you identify a list of issues and priorities you need to tackle pre-certification, and:

  • Develop a clear description of the challenges your company faces in food safety and traceability in terms of the results to be achieved and the benefits to be gained.
  • Understand the challenges faced by your supply chain partners.
  • Identify the principle strengths, weakness, opportunities and risks (SWOT) facing your organization.
  • Map major issues with possible alternative solutions and strategies.
  • Report on opportunities and improvements related to the identified challenges.
  • Map out problems and opportunities, with associated risks (costs) and benefits (improved performance, productivity, savings).
  • Create a rank order of problems and opportunities.

The Food Safety Organization Assessment results in a recommended course of action that best leverages your organizational strengths and your planned investment in food safety systems and processes:

  • An assessment of current organizational capabilities and the gaps that must be rectified to meet certification requirements;
  • A risk mitigation plan and engagement strategy for employees and stakeholders;
  • A change management plan for enrolling, leaders, managers, employees, and supply chain members in a concerted effort of cultural and organizational growth;
  • A collaborative plan to leverage your chosen IT solution and food standard certifications;
  • A clear map of leader, manager and employee responsibilities, with the supporting QMS processes required to demonstrate the due diligence to the question: “Are you in control?” and;
  • A realistic plan with the associated project management discipline to guide implementation.

Our work builds a foundation that creates greater certainty for certification, accelerates the process, and provides a robust base to pursue more strategic food quality goals. The combination of successful certification PLUS a food safety culture, provides a launch pad for comanies to compete and gain market share with food quality as a competitive advantage and a characteristic of their brand promise.

Building a Quality Culture

Are you on Offense or Defense? Another way to ask this is:

  • Do you welcome regulators and inspectors?
  • Do your QA processes provide you with a competitive advantage?
  • Can you articulate your QA system?
  • Are you in control?
  • Can everyone in your organization articulate your QA system (you can't watch everyone all the time)? 

We can help you to 'reset' your quality culture. We start by benchmarking your organizational maturity against our maturity model, review your current quality culture and systems, assess the relative strengths, weaknesses and gaps in your quality culture, and make recommendations on tools and organizational change processes that can be used to build your quality culture. Based on our assessment of your quality culture and our recommended next steps, we will work with you to develop and implement an organizational change process that can include:

  • Development of a Quality Strategy;
  • The design and delivery of quality specific orientation and training materials;
  • Facilitation of a corporate training program for key managers and executives;
  • Working with your key managers and production teams in a coaching and development role; and,
  • Providing a corporate wide Quality Strategy communications program.

Successfully implementing any organizational change initiative is not easy. To build a corporate wide quality culture these key factors must be in place: 

  • Commitment of the highest level executives in the company;
  • That commitment needs to be publicly stated;
  • The Global Quality Strategy must be seen to be central to the on-going development of the future of the company; and,
  • Expectations for adoption and the necessary resources needed to promote, encourage and reset the culture are required so that the process does not become “flavor” of the month.

Any questions?

As the food and beverage industry copes with rapidly changing regulations, markets, and technologies, the reality that people are at the core of any successful transition has never been more apparent.  If you are struggling with your 'people' issues, we're here to help. 

Click here to learn more on how we can help you manage change.


If you would like to discuss your food safety and traceability needs with a Delta Partners associate please click here to contact us for a free, no-commitment consultation.


Recommended reading:

Food Safety and the Leadership Vacuum – Dallas 2013

Food Safety and the Globalization Challenge

How to Make Your Employees Care about Quality

Regulatory, Quality, and Food Safety – Lessons from Toronto

Food Safety Culture at the Heart of Canada's Largest Meat Recall

Leveraging Culture to Transform Results

The New Keys to Leadership (from 1500 years ago)

Food Safety and Traceability

Food Safety - A Complex Leadership Challenge (Part 1)

Food Safety - A Complex Leadership Challenge (Part 2)

Food Safety & Traceability: Managing Change & the People Side of the Equation

Harmonizing U.S. and Canadian Food Safety Goals

Download our Whitepaper:

A Strategic Approach to Food
Quality & Traceability