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Note From the CEO: HeavyConnect Is Now an All-In-One Compliance Platform

Image of Patrick Zelaya, CEO & Founder
Patrick Zelaya, CEO & Founder

Everyone involved in the first few miles of the food supply chain needs to document and demonstrate compliance, and they deserve tools that empower them to do so easily. In 2021 we’ve released two crucial new features: digital self-auditing and a personalized compliance dashboard. Now, our customers can leverage the simplicity of the HeavyConnect mobile platform to manage any area of compliance virtually, in real-time, from anywhere.

Here’s how we’ve evolved from a time tracking system to an All-In-One Compliance Platform:

In 2016, my team started building time tracking software based on all the different labor regulations that apply to food production. We worked with attorneys and regulatory bodies to understand what we needed to track and which rules applied. We attended seminars and breakout sessions in conferences to get a full understanding of the regulatory environment to be sure our software was compliant. At these events, we saw presentations on other regulations, like quality standards, worker safety, and required training records. We knew we were solving an important problem, but our customers faced many other aspects of compliance in food production that we weren’t addressing yet.

Following the successful deployment of HeavyConnect TimeKeeper, we started building paperless documentation tools for food safety, in response to the rollout of FSMA and the FDA’s requirements for record-keeping and documentation. We went into researching compliance and validating feature-fit the same way we did for time and attendance.

In early 2020 we started providing COVID-19 compliance documentation tools to help our customers comply with CDC regulations. Around the same time, we began to wonder what other compliance needs were out there that we weren't addressing. Though we were originally building features our customers requested, we eventually realized that we were creating a platform to help anyone demonstrate their compliance with all relevant regulations.

We spoke to our customers and industry experts about the idea of having a single technology solution that addressed all compliance requirements from the perspective of farmers, shippers, FLCs, processing facilities, and cooling storage operators. We went to visit several of our customers' offices and focused on the wall of binders that seems to exist in every farm office. Every single one of these binders was used to demonstrate regulatory compliance in one way or another. Our vision was to replace all the binders with digital document management and compliance record-keeping. We knew we could provide a virtual farm office where compliance and record-keeping could be managed from anywhere.

That’s what All-In-One Compliance means to us: One unified place to manage documentation for all applicable regulations.

We were able to identify the features that needed to be added to the platform so our customers could manage their entire compliance program in one place. We spent the second half of 2020 deploying those features, including the ability to manage quality assurance and conduct digital self-audits. What brought it all together was the compliance dashboard, where a HeavyConnect subscriber has a unifying dashboard and compliance score when they log in to their portal. A user can start their day by getting quick answers to the questions: “What is my overall compliance health?” and “Are there any areas that I need to address today to maintain or increase my compliance score?”

We’ve finally reached an era where compliance is not prohibitive to the success or growth of a farm. Technology is now available in our industry that makes life easier just like it does in the healthcare, insurance, and fintech industries. The purpose of our platform is to improve the human side of farming by providing easier operations to small and medium sized farms despite increased regulatory requirements and a more evidence-based compliance environment.

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