Quality Control for Quality Food: SPC Is the Answer
InfinityQS SPC Software
Attention to food quality involves far more than simply monitoring the quality of what people eat and detecting after-the-fact errors. For the food industry, careful monitoring of manufacturing processes to ensure the safety of the product is only one aspect of food quality; compliance with established industry and governmental regulations, consistency of product and reduction of manufacturing costs are also important. Statistical process control is the one tool that can support these four critical components for creating a successful manufacturing process.
SPC involves actively monitoring and managing manufacturing process variations with statistical models that help determine the stability of the production process and its ability to meet expected performance criteria. SPC uses real-time analytical data collected on a production line to detect statistically significant process and product changes before a problem manifests itself. This allows the quality engineer to make corrections and prevent the process from going unacceptably out of control. Statistical techniques used in the food industry help improve quality and productivity, reduce costs, and increase efficiency.
Food manufacturers today realize the importance of maintaining quality with their food processing systems. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science recently released a report titled, “Scientific Criteria to Ensure Safe Food,” that addresses this movement. The report urges all food processors to use SPC to monitor food processes and link SPC for continuous improvement. Additionally, good manufacturing practices are increasingly quantified by SPC.
InfinityQS International, a provider of enterprisewide quality control manufacturing solutions, is providing The Kroger Co., one of the nation’s largest grocery retailers, with its SPC software for the company’s dairy plants. Kroger operates (either directly or through its subsidiaries) 2,519 supermarkets and department stores in 32 states under two dozen banners, including Kroger, Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, King Soopers, Smith’s, Fry’s and Fry’s Marketplace, Dillons, QFC and City Market. Kroger also operates (either directly, through its subsidiaries or through franchise agreements) 794 convenience stores, 444 fine jewelry stores, 412 supermarket fuel centers and 41 food processing plants.
Kroger has already implemented InfinityQS’s SPC solution at Kenlake Foods in Murray, Kentucky. In addition, Kroger will implement the software at other affiliated manufacturing plants during the next two years.
Kroger will use InfinityQS’ software to control the fill weights of all dairy products. As part of the purchasing decision, the company ran a comprehensive pilot program at one of its dairy plants to prove the effectiveness and measure the results of investing in SPC software.
In addition, McCain Foods, the world’s largest processor of frozen french fries and other quality food products, has installed InfinityQS SPC software in almost every region of the world, includ-ing the United States, Asia, Europe, South America, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Canada.
For McCain Foods, InfinityQS SPC software is the standard for managing quality and statistical process control. McCain Foods uses the software for collecting information on quality and monitoring manufacturing processes for the frozen foods it produces.
“InfinityQS SPC software has made tracking of quality information easier and serves as the central repository for all of our quality control,” says Guy Métivier, manager of McCain Foods’ Manufacturing Execution Systems Global Technology Center. “On the statistical process control side, it has enabled us to produce metrics and control the quality of our products based on the needs of our customers.”
Métivier adds, “InfinityQS International has been extremely responsive to our needs. They are a nimble organization with a culture that resembles McCain Foods.”
The role of quality is changing from an afterthought to a fundamental part of the manufacturing process. Manufacturing process capability, measured by SPC, will become the foundation to quality claims. SPC is becoming the tool used to process safer and higher quality food, decrease production costs, increase process efficiencies and comply with industry regulations. InfinityQS International is helping major food processing plants streamline their quality control and keep up with constantly changing food regulations.
InfinityQS SPC Software
- Manages the tracking of quality control processes
- Decreases costs, increases efficiency and helps with regulation compliance