New Statistical Process Control Features in Safefood 360°

In order to address new requirements in various global food safety standards, several enhancements in the area of Statistical Process Control (SPC) will be introduced to Safefood 360° over the coming months. The first of these updates has now been implemented into the software and provides Automatic SPC Analysis for Monitoring Programs.

What is Statistical Process Control?

SPC is a method of quality control which employs statistical methods to monitor and control a process. This helps to ensure that the process operates efficiently, producing more specification-conforming products with less waste, rework or scrap. SPC can be applied to any process where the “conforming product” (i.e., a product meeting specifications) output can be measured such as manufacturing lines. Key tools used in SPC include run charts, control charts, a focus on continuous improvement, and the design of experiments.

Until now, the application of SPC tools and techniques in food safety management has not been widespread and process capability based on statistical analysis has only been utilized in exceptional cases. Nonetheless, the food industry relies on processes to produce final products as much as other industries and many of the unit operations employed in the food sector such as thermal processing are ideal for SPC applications.

Benefits of SPC analysis

Each day, a typical food business will collect large quantities of data from their monitoring activities such as CCP and oPRP checks, receiving inspections, packaging checks, pre-operational inspections and final product tests.

Normally this data gets filled away in paper form on in Excel files, never to see the light of day again unless an auditor or customer requests it. However, hidden in this data is a wealth of valuable insight about your operations if you can unlock it.

The new SPC feature in Safefood 360° makes light work of bringing this information to life and revealing new insights into your data. It will automatically crunch your monitoring data to produce process control charts, distribution curves and calculate your Cp and Cpk values to give you a clear picture of process capability. It will even tell you immediately whether your process is In or Out of Control and can handle both variable and attribute data.

All this happens in real-time. No complex implementation is required. Simply set up your monitoring programs and Safefood 360° will take care of the rest.

SPC Requirement in Food Safety Standards

Food safety standards, such as the SQF Food Safety Code for manufacturing Edition 8, now require food businesses to conduct statistical analysis to achieve certification. This can be a major challenge for food businesses since the time and expertise required to gather, collate and analyze large volumes of data can be resource intensive.

Many of our customers are certified to GFSI standards and use Safefood 360° to help maintain these systems. However, recent changes to several standards are driving businesses towards having to identify and use SPC and other statistical analysis to make better use of collected data arising from monitoring and control activities. Underpinning this change is the principle of seeking areas for improvement based on data analytics.

SQF Quality Code Edition 8: The SQF Standard now requires certified businesses to use SPC to control and improve processes.

Product Sampling, Inspection and Analysis  Processing parameters or in-process measurements shall be established, validated, and verified at a determined frequency to meet all customer requirements. On-site laboratories and inspection stations shall be equipped and resourced to enabled testing of in-process and finished products to meet customer expectations and meet quality objectives Statistical Process Control methods shall be used to effectively control and optimize production processes to improve process efficiency and product quality and reduced waste. Control charts shall be in use for control of key processes and have defined upper and lower (process) control limits (+/- 3σ). A sensory evaluation program shall be in place to ensure alignment with agreed customer requirements. Sensory evaluation results shall be communicated with relevant staff and with customers where appropriate. Records of all quality inspections and analyses, and statistical analyses, shall be maintained.

It specifically states that for key processes, control charts shall be used and control limits using +/- 3σ standard deviations.

ISO 22000 Food Safety Management Standard: The new ISO 22k standard requires companies to now analysis operation data to drive improvement. While not explicitly requiring SPC, companies can meet this requirement through statistical tools.

Automatic SPC Analysis for Monitoring Programs

The first phase of SPC upgrades is now live and sees the introduction of automatic SPC reporting for all monitoring programs in Safefood 360°. The will cover both Variable and Attribute Data Test. Key SPC analysis will be presented in real time based on current data in addition to producing distribution chart, control charts and process capability metrics. The analysis will also indicate whether the process is statistically in or out of control.

The main benefits are as follows:

  1. SPC analysis is produced automatically with any input from users. This means users do not need to engage in detailed SPC training.
  2. Companies will be compliant with the new requirements of the SQF Ed 8 without having to do any work.
  3. Users will a level of insight into key processes which to date would have required significant time and energy to generate the analysis required.

Coming in 2019, the second phase of SPC upgrades will see the introduction of Calculated Field Upgrades into Safefood 360°. This will allow SPC analysis to be conducted with the test record itself, producing calculated test results required for passing and releasing processes and products. More updates on this will be announced closer to launch.

More Information

As always, our support and sales teams are on hand for customers and those who would like to know more information.

For support please contact using the query tool in the software or by email: [email protected]

For sales queries, please contact [email protected]

User training will also be announced over the coming weeks. In these sessions, users will have the opportunity to become familiar with SPC, understand how it works, its benefits and how it can be applied to their data. These sessions are open to all users and we welcome your comments, questions, and feedback during these sessions.

If you are not an active user of Safefood 360° but would like to see how your business can benefit from SPC analysis and would like to see the latest enhancements, registration is now open for our webinar on January 30th. Click here to register.

2 replies
  1. Benson Chiamaka
    Benson Chiamaka says:

    The statistical process is a rapid process used in food industries to ensure that food being processed is under control thereby ensuring that consumers get to consume safe and wholesome. This is a welcome development in the world of food safety. Want to get my self well rooted in the area of food safety so that I can deliver effectively in my field because Food Safety have ever being my dream career and I know that some day I will get there.

    • Barry O'Neill
      Barry O'Neill says:

      Hi Benson,

      Thank you for your kind words and all the best for your journey into Food Safety! When you think it is appropriate that our software can help you, please do not hesitate to reach out in the future.



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