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Why Facilities Should Document HACCP Compliance With Digital Tools

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HeavyConnect Team
Inspecting tomatoes at a facility

Your HACCP plan is a proactive approach to food safety management that aims to stop problems before they occur. You’ve already put in the time to thoroughly evaluate your facility’s processes, identify every potential risk, and get your organization on board with the necessary precautions. But did you know that a paper-based HACCP plan might still be costing you time and money?

Instead of relying on food safety binders and paper checklists, more facilities are using technology to streamline their food safety compliance. This article will cover the biggest benefits your organization will gain from a software platform, the specifics of how your HACCP program can be digitized, and how to start the transition.

Top 3 Reasons to Manage Your HACCP Program with Software

Facilities that use software to document HACCP programs are able to maintain centralized documents on web dashboards and complete food safety checks on mobile devices. Here are the top 3 reasons to consider using digital tools to maintain your HACCP plan:

1. Keep Your Team on the Same Page

Traditionally, facilities have used paper record-keeping procedures, including printing copies of the HACCP plan and providing one to each team member. But what happens when a part of the plan needs to change? That requires reprinting and distributing the plan. Someone needs to monitor that every employee is operating based on the most up-to-date version of the plan. With a digital solution, you can immediately implement changes across your whole organization. One administrator can use their online dashboard to update a document or checklist and every employee will have access to the latest version automatically, with no risk that they accidentally follow an old procedure.

2. Prepare for Audits and Exceed Buyer & Consumer Requirements

Your HACCP plan is a crucial part of your operation’s success. You’ll need to provide evidence of your food safety plan at regular intervals throughout the year to auditors and buyers. By maintaining digital documents, you can be ready for an audit year-round. When a buyer or auditor requests reports from a certain day at a specific location, you can quickly filter your digital checklists and send the exact report needed. You’ll save yourself the stress and time needed to prepare, and more importantly you’ll inspire confidence that food safety is a high priority.

3. Streamline Your Organization's Time and Budget

Paper processes are quickly becoming outdated throughout the food supply chain. They leave space for errors, miscommunications, and process failures. Digital systems hold your operation to a higher standard while also making it easier to meet your requirements. Beyond saving money on paper and the time it takes to manage binders and more frequent site visits, you’ll save over the long term by lowering your risk and consistently exceeding buyer expectations.

Which Parts of Your HACCP Plan Can Be Digitized?

Digital tools can simplify and improve your workflows every day. Consider the following elements of your food safety plan and how they function before and after adopting a software platform:

Record-Keeping Procedures:

  • With Paper: Employees fill out paper forms and checklists and bring them back to the office for review. If they took relevant pictures, they text them to a manager who has to print them out or forward them on.
  • With Software: Employees use a mobile app on any device to complete a simple digital checklist in any language. They can attach photos and notes. Once completed, they click “Sync” and the report is uploaded to a web dashboard where it can be reviewed or shared. Corrective actions can be taken right away and documented for future reference.

Verification Procedures: 

  • With Paper: Managers need to remind employees about their responsibilities in maintaining HACCP compliance year-round. Stakeholders are out of the loop unless they get a call about an issue.
  • With Software: A digital system uses automated alerts to alleviate the administrative burden. You can configure notifications to go to employees reminding them to complete a certain report or set up email notifications for stakeholders when a document needs review.

Document Storage: 

  • With Paper: Reports are written or printed and stored in a food safety binder. When an auditor or customer asks to see a log, a manager has to search for the right report from the right day. Assuming they can find the right paper, it may have errors or lack the proper signatures. HACCP plan updates are cumbersome and require printing and replacing old documents.
  • With Software: With digital cloud document storage, your written compliance documents are always available to all employees, from anywhere. All your documents will be archived and easy to search and filter.

Manager Notifications: 

  • With Paper: If a critical limit is exceeded or a hazard is noted, an employee needs to manually alert their manager. In turn, the manager may have to come in-person to the office. This slow notification cycle means too much time is lost between identifying a hazard and taking the steps to correct it. 
  • With Software: When a digital report has a severity level, it can trigger an automatic alert to management. They can log into their dashboard from anywhere and view the flagged report, see if a corrective action has been taken, or contact the employee who filled out the report. 

Ultimately the purpose of any HACCP food safety plan is to prevent foodborne illness and protect consumer health. With such a high-stakes goal, it’s important to prioritize your HACCP program and give it the institutional resources necessary to maintain high standards. 

Ready to Look for Digital HACCP Solutions?

HACCP Checklist

HeavyConnect is a compliance documentation platform for the food supply chain. Facilities use HeavyConnect to maintain their HACCP programs by storing documents in one centralized location that any employee can access, providing easy-to-use digital checklists that work on any mobile device, and giving managers data insights that help them make better informed decisions and avoid big picture risks. 

Switching to a digital solution isn’t as big of an obstacle as it may seem. With HeavyConnect, you can complete the onboarding process in less than a month and have your new digital HACCP process up-and-running quickly. Not only will you have 24/7 customer support and an Account Manager to help digitize your reports and ease your transition, but you’ll also have access to many pre-built HACCP checklists which you can add to your account instantly.

Hear what our customers have to say about their experience with HeavyConnect or book a personalized demo today. Have questions about how to document your HACCP plan with HeavyConnect? Call us at (833) 722-5727. 

HACCP Customer Testimonial:

"Our operation has recently switched over to HeavyConnect after using the traditional pen and paper method for decades. I can think of two great benefits from the implementation. First being, time. What used to take days to reach my desk is now accessible in real time. I don’t have to track down employees, make requests for paperwork and I can provide feedback instantly. If this were the only benefit I would easily recommend HeavyConnect to anyone, but honestly, it’s the second one that takes the cake for me. HeavyConnect has increased employee participation at all levels. Not only do I have managers proactively checking reports and asking questions, I have employees reaching out wanting to be a part of the process."

- Food Safety Professional, Bay Baby Produce

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