What makes for effective pet food supplier management?

Whether I’ve stood beside one child who was saying goodbye to their pet chameleon, or I was standing with another child as we paid our last respects to a pet guinea pig, one thing I knew for sure is that pets are not simply “just pets” – they are part of the family and, as a father, even though I knew in my heart that the death of a pet was something that my children would need to learn to deal with, I wished that I could shield them from the pain that they were feeling.

Over the last year, the pet food industry has been rocked by several recalls.

Many families have had to go through the same scenario as described above, and unfortunately – some families even endured a more tragic scenario as they found out the reason their four-legged companion became ill was due to a treat or pet food they personally fed them from a trusted source.

When I was younger my father used to buy the dog food you would add water to and it would make gravy.

We did this because it was a good way to save a penny, and although it wasn’t as pleasant to look at as dried kibble, we never worried about whether the food might be recalled or not – only how much it cost.

For my wife’s birthday, I bought her an Australian Shepherd puppy.

Aside from the fact the dog seems to have the hyperactivity like that of Sonic the Hedgehog after 4 or 5 shots of Red Eye Espresso, she has won the hearts of our entire family and she quickly became a big part of all our lives.

Every time I purchase a bag of dog food at the supermarket I think of all of those emails that are choking my inbox reminding me of yet another pet food recall and I hope this batch will be ok.

What has changed in pet food?

Why is it that pet food recalls seem to be more rampant today than they were 30 years ago? Has pet food become more dangerous today than it used to be?

According to the American Pet Products Association the US spent over $72 Billion dollars on pets in 2018 versus $30 Billion dollars just 25 years ago.

One can make the obvious conclusion that the rate of pet food manufacture and supply has increased steadily along with this rise in spending.

The unfortunate side effect to the boom in any segment is the inevitable rise of the nefarious would-be swindlers who are quick to get their hands on their slice of the pie.

the unfortunate side effect to the boom in any segment is the inevitable rise of the nefarious

For an example of this, all you need to do is google “melamine pet food recall” to find out what happens when a company decides to throw safety to the side and replace it with the almighty dollar.

If you are unfamiliar with the chemical hazard melamine and want to understand why it would be added to food and its effects when it is, you can download our free detailed datasheet for more information.

This past year, several big-name pet food companies have been the subject of a pet food recall, after pet food recall, after pet food recall.

The public was seldom at a shortage for a reason to be concerned that the next purchase of canned pet food might be their last one!

Fast forward to today and not only do I need think about these pet food recalls every time I buy a bag of dog food, I need to check the FDA website to ensure that it’s safe to feed my dog a pet treat or not.

Just in case you’re wondering, yes – you can finally start feeding your dog pig ears again, but the FDA/CDC rightfully ask the public to use caution.

Given all the above it’s no surprise that each week either in my inbox or on the news there seems more on yet another canned cat or dog food recall, if not a leafy green recall – but that’s the subject of a different blog.

The onslaught of cautions the public has received can have the reverse effect in that we can become numb to the seriousness of the myriad issues that are plaguing the industry.

What changes can you do to be effective?

As a responsible pet food manufacturer, what can you do? I’m sure the FDA (or another regulatory body) has already been telling you what you ought to do, but what should you do?

Manage your supply chain! How?

Firstly, what does the typical supply chain even look like?

The complexity of your company’s supply chain all depends on how your ingredients/materials are purchased (does your company purchase direct from the manufacturer or is there a broker in between – or perhaps both scenarios exist within your supply chain).

Regardless of how your supply chain might be set up, the typical supply chain starts at a manufacturing facility, then to a supplier or an agent/broker, then to you, next the finished product would be distributed through your distribution network, then on to the retailer.

there is risk which needs to be assessed at each step within the supply chain

At each step within the supply chain, there is risk which needs to be assessed, and this risk increases the greater the complexity of the supply chain!

Ensuring you properly assess the risk is also another of which the importance cannot be overlooked.

In the past, you might have used a 3×3 or 5×5 risk assessment matrix which was typically standard for assessing risk (Probably x Severity = Risk).

This type of risk assessment is more appropriate for HACCP, but when assessing the risk of our suppliers or materials, a criteria-based risk assessment should be used.

Once you’ve properly determined the risk you will be able to adequately determine the controls required at that step within your supply chain.

The approval process itself can be broken down into 8 basic steps:

This process is not a once and done activity. Supplier approval is an ongoing process. Not only do most regulations require approvals to be repeated every year or two, but it’s also simply good business practice to work with likeminded partners who have prioritized food safety just like your company has.

whenever the words “Supplier Approval” showed up on my to-do list, I started to cringe

If you’re anything like me, whenever the words “Supplier Approval” showed up on my to-do list each year, I started to cringe because the entire process was a headache.

Luckily today, there are tools like Safefood 360° available that can help you out and take your company’s Supplier Approval program to a whole new level.

In the food industry, the burdens that we are faced with are ever-increasing and we need a lifeline.

Given the nature of the challenges, it’s clear that technology is the only thing capable of solving these challenges medium to long term. What that looks like remains an open question.

For an in-depth webinar on the above topic, you can visit this link: https://safefood360.wpengine.com/2019/11/ifsqn-webinar-supplier-approval-intelligence-the-next-evolution/

Here at Safefood 360, our Supplier Quality Management Solution allows you to complete, not only all of the above 8 steps, but you can manage a complete world-class, state of the art enterprise-level Food Safety Management system from a centralized database.

Contact us for a web demonstration to learn more.




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