Managing Nonconformance Categories

CONTENTS

  1. Introduction
  2. What is a non-conformance?
  3. How are non-conformances Identified?
  4. Why record non-conformances?
  5. Corrective and preventive action
  6. Cause and effect analysis
  7. The true nature of non-conformances
  8. Developing a robust non-conformance structure
  9. Organising folders and categories in Safefood 360º

1. Introduction

Every day, food companies collect data on non-conformances within their operations but this valuable informantion can often be lost in paper piles and poorly designed systems that have been devised for analysing the data. In this white paper we will take a closer look at what exactly is a non-conformance, why we need to record them in the first place and how to design the systems that will facilitate effective analysis and improvement in your business. Finally we will provide tips on how to set up your non-conformance categories in Safefood 360º.

2. What is a non-conformance?

The variation in how companies manage non-conformances in their food safety system is vast, and the design of these systems
can either support or hinder the effectiveness of the continuous improvement policy. Good design and management of nonconformance data and specifically non-conformance categories is crucial to making improvement a real part of the company’s
activities and not just a documented policy.

Non-conformance relates to a failure to comply with requirements. A requirement
is a need, expectation, or obligation. It can be stated or implied by an organization, its customers, or other interested parties.

There are many types of requirements. Some of these include food safety requirements, quality requirements, process
requirements, product requirements, customer requirements, management systems requirements, and legal requirements.

Whenever your organization fails to meet one of these requirements, a nonconformity occurs. For example the ISO 22000 standard defines food safety management system requirements. When your organization deviates from these requirements, a non-conformance or nonconformity occurs. Requirements by type include food safety, quality, process, product, material, supplier, systems and legal.

3. How are Non-conformances Identified?

Within a typical food safety management system non-conformances are identified though a number of channels. These include customer complaints, internal audits, product recalls / withdrawals, external audits, regulatory notifications, incoming as
well as in-process and final product inspection, testing and casual observation. A food business with a food safety management system certified to a specific standard will have in place a system for recording these non-conformances. These standards will include the ISO 22000, GFSI and other industry standards.

4. Why record non-conformances?