HACCP is a way of controlling a process to ensure that the resulting products comply with predefined Quality Assurance targets. HACCP today is frequently applied to food production, but the concept has its origins in general manufacturing.
The concepts embedded in the HACCP programme have been around for fifty years or more. I had personal knowledge of one project which nicely illustrates the concepts. This was a high tech manufacturing company that initially operated without the benefit of HACCP. The accepted and traditional approach was to manufacture a lot of widgets, test them to identify the thirty percent that don’t work, and pay skilled technicians to fix them.
There are lots of problems with this approach. It needs a lot of people to do the repairs. The reworked product is less reliable, as a consequence of damage inflicted during the repair. Production costs are unknown. Production schedules are unpredictable.
The situation was resolved by a new production manager. The previous management team had invested a million dollars in developing a robot, hoping to replace the expensive and unpredictable fault finding technicians. To emphasise (somewhat dramatically) the change in direction, the new production manager personally picked up the million dollar robot and placed it in the dumpster. He then started a whole new approach, based on the same principals that have led to what we call HACCP today.
His theory was simple. If a widget does not work, there is a fault, and it can only be in the design, the components, or the assembly process. Nothing else. Put the other way, if the design is good, the components are good, and a good assembly process is followed, then the widget must work. It has no other option.
Applying this principle instead of the million dollar robot moved the defect at test from above thirty percent to less than one percent. At this point, defective product need never be repaired. It can be analysed to determine the cause of the failure and prevent it from recurring, and then discarded.
This is an effective process for making electrical widgets, and is a prime cause of the low price and high reliability that we expect of electronics today.
This concept is also valuable in the food industry, perhaps more so here than in other types of production. Here we don’t have the luxury of testing prepared food to see if it is going to make us ill. So we ensure that we have good components (the ingredients), good design (the recipe) and a good production process (which includes hygienic preparation, cooking and storing at the right temperature). And this one of the places where HACCP is applied today.
So what is the link between SageData and HACCP? We provide data collection, analysis and reporting tools to help management ensure that an affective process is being followed, and we can provide the evidence of compliance required to satisfy both internal and external audits.
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We design, supply and support systems built around RFID, Barcodes and Handheld computers.
For further information, or for advice and assistance with your application, contact Doreen Wallace or Trinity Joseph.
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