The management of supplier documentation can be an extremely time intensive task for any food company. Even for a small size operation with 30 suppliers for 90 ingredients, each ingredient could require 5-10 documents each for it's risk assessment. In this typical case, that could lead to the need to capture anywhere between a total of 450-900 documents! The ConnectFood Supplier Portal seeks to vastly reduce the time required to manage this significant amount of documentation with features such as: automated notifications to both suppliers and client of document status, a centralized view of all supplier documentation, a dynamic 'checklist' of required file types, and more. Below are the steps for client companies to activate their supplier management program.
1. Activate the Supplier Management Program
Navigate to the supplier management system by clicking "Ingredients" then the "Supplier Mgmt" tab. Identify the files required for each supplier ingredient/product. Then identify the files required at the supplier / company level. Last, select how often you would like to have reminders sent to your suppliers to upload their files.
Example types of documentation you might request regarding supplier ingredients:
- Food Safety Preventive Controls Plan for each product
- Validation of each product and/or process and Ready-To-Eat statements (if applicable)
- All applicable Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) documentation (including Foreign Supplier Verification Program)
- Certificates of Analysis (COA); list tests conducted and why
- Third Party Audit Certificate, Report & Corrective Actions
- Product Specification
- 100g Nutritional Information
- Allergen Grid / Statement
- SDS / MSDS Statement
- GMO / Non-GMO Statement
- Country of Origin
- Kosher Certificate (Provide Yearly when due)
- Halal Certificate (If Applicable)
2. Create a New Supplier
If a supplier's name does not exist in the system, click "Add Supplier". The three most important data fields are: Supplier Name, Supplier Contact Name, and Supplier Contact Email.
3. Create Supplier Ingredients
Add your supplier ingredients by clicking "Add Ingredient". Once the ingredient is added, then associate one to many suppliers with the ingredient by clicking the menu item "Add Supplier".
4. Send a Request for Documentation
Find the supplier you wish to get documents from. Select the menu item: "Request Files".
4.1 Email Received by Supplier
Here is a screen shot of what the supplier invitation email looks like that the supplier will receive. Here is an article that walks through the simple steps the supplier will experience to upload their documents.
5. Formal Invitation via Email
To further support the invitation sent from the supplier invitation form noted in previous steps, you may also send a formal request letter from your own email address to reinforce the request. Here is an example:
[Your Company Address]
[Supplier Example Name]
Dear [Supplier Contact Name]:
We are writing this letter to request a copy of your food safety plans for the following ingredients that you supply to our organization: [Product A, Product B, Product C, and Product D]. This request is in accordance with the rules of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) for Human Food. The FSMA supplier verification program requires that food manufacturers obtain food safety plan documentation and records of ingredients supplied that have identified biological, chemical, or physical hazards. If documentation is not obtained that identifies what controls are in place for the hazard, then the ingredient may not be used in production.
In order to comply with this rule in the most cost-effective manner for us and our suppliers, we have selected ConnectFood as the software vendor to generate and mange food safety documentation. Shortly after receiving this letter, an invitation to the ConnectFood Platform from email address firstname.lastname@example.org will provide a free account to either upload your food safety documentation or have the ability to use the step-by-step planner to generate one.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office.