Nestle Talks Traceability, Recall Management

— 04/05/2010

Food safety embraces many proactive activities starting with the sourcing of raw materials, extending through enabling visibility into manufacturing operations and distribution, and ending with the customer experience. Food safety initiatives demand that critical processes be well defined and established in advance to enable a swift response while minimizing the impact to the bottom line. Meanwhile, traceability and recall management contains more reactive measurements in case of a product defect to mitigate the risk on the market.

On March 23, 2010, during a CGT Web event, Giles Mann, head of IT - Technical & Production at Nestle, provided a real-world perspective on recall management processes, highlighting traceability successes and more. Also, Matthew Littlefield, senior research analyst for Aberdeen Group, shared recent survey data and analysis based on more than 200 responses from manufacturing executives. Here are some key takeaways from the event:

--Matthew Littlefield set up the Web event by reviewing Aberdeen's survey demographics. Out of 240 current survey respondents, 20 percent were upper management (CSO, CEO, COO, CFO, CTO, President, VP), 23 percent were food/beverage industry and there was even spread of revenue size. He also revealed learnings from the research including how to become best-in-class when it comes to food safety; explained P.A.C.E. (Pressures, Actions, Capabilities and Enablers); gave a technology drill down and recommended actions for the audience to take back to their companies for food safety success. "The best place to start is with building in compliance and traceability into the production process," says Littlefield.

--Giles Mann gave an illustrative view of high-level product control and traceability in Nestle starting with the inbound process. This includes inspection (capture of results, evaluation against defined limits and storage of results history); decision (human release decision, stock status change and seamless review of results while releasing); and update (capture of supplier's batch, capture or calculation of shelf-life and data stays with material during lifecycle). Mann also detailed the production/manufacturing process and the distribution process to round out the three parts of Nestle's traceability process. He adds, "This [integrated system] is largely enabled by having SAP, which gives us a robust, scalable solution that matches the size of Nestle."

--As the solution provider in this case, E.J. Kenney, vice president, Consumer Sector of SAP, gave his perspective on the full visibility and built-in compliance. Kenney believes companies should protect brand equity, tighten supplier relationship and consumer trust. He says that integrated traceability and compliance guarantees product integrity and allows fast and accurate response to any threats throughout the value chain.

To listen to this event in its entirety, click here.

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