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FLEXO Magazine : April 2013
huge time commitment and if your practitioner also has other responsibilities it is a lot to take on for one person. Support and understanding from upper management will be crucial to success. In our case there were long stretches of time that I was working away on documents and upper man- agement had seen no visible changes or strides being made toward certification. While they were impatient to see where I was spending all my time and wanted to see results, they understood that there was a lot of behind the scenes work that had to be done to support the SQF framework. In addition to the immense amount of documentation need- ed for SQF, the practitioner must also be Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) trained. Let me tell you, for a QA Manager with zero experience in food safety this was defi- nitely out of my realm of expertise. I chose a reputable online course for my HACCP training and I learned a whole lot about things I never thought I would learn about. It wasn’t the easi- est course I have ever taken, but in the end it unquestionably showed me how important this all is and why our customers are pushing it. FROM TEXT TO TASK Now came the time to put the documentation and the newly learned knowledge to use—making the physical changes and implementing the procedures. This is no small task. There is no “right” way to interpret the code, and you don’t know if you’re “ wrong” until the day of the audit. You really have to use your head and your best judgment. I always felt that if I could defend my rationale to our consultant and persuade him to agree with me then I would be able to do the same thing with the auditor. There were multiple issues that I took the defensive on and had to “fight” for why we were not posing a risk to food safety at a certain point. Another difficulty lies in getting employee buy-in. We had to take a lot of “privileges” away, while implementing some not- so-fun procedures. Obviously this is not well received. It takes time and dedication to implement SQF, and it was a huge culture shift for our company, but slowly our employees came around. I didn’t always have a good answer for their ques- tions, which was hard, but I found that by explaining to them that a new procedure is in place just because SQF requires it to be there is generally a good enough answer. 20 FLEXO april 2013 www.flexography.org