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Bringing data to life for in-depth compliance monitoring

Market interest in the growth of traceability technology is driving a string of changes across the industry and creating new benchmarks.

More than ever, full traceability in the food and beverage industry is becoming the benchmark standard. As global awareness around health and safety increases, so does market interest in conditions along the production chain. Consumers are seeking to become more informed, and stakeholders require comprehensive reporting on regulation compliance.

Based in Brisbane, Theta Technologies is a software development and implementation firm offering improved safety and traceability through their flagship software platform, InformationLeader. Within the food industry, this tool has been used to track red meat, dairy, poultry, fresh produce, baked goods, ready-to-eat meals, grain, and seafood production. 

Utilising an extensive history developing industry-based auditing and quality assurance infrastructure, Theta aims to overcome the inefficiency of paper-based systems such as ISO, HACCP, and Workplace Health and Safety. In addition to the mitigation of excess paper usage and waste, turning to digital solutions like InformationLeader ensures complete visibility and process control, leading to more accurate, efficient results.

“After the firm was established in 1996, they identified a need for a paperless record keeping system in the red meat export industry,” explains Abram Bobis, senior business analyst and Implementation Services manager.Some of these exporters had individuals filling in 90 to 110 sheets of paperwork every shift, multiple shifts a day.”

The InformationLeader platform facilitates a start to end solution for compliance in food and beverage processing, taking the data a step further by turning it into actionable KPI indicators and business improvement strategy.

“Take the HACCP plan, for example, which is just a pile of paper documents that you would have to dig through every time there was an audit or product recall situation. Instead of spending time trying to find the right file, the tailored analysis on risk assessment becomes available at the click of a button,” Bobis says.

Accessible reporting suites and dashboarding assist in breaking down large amalgamations from data entry points, helping to identify trends of positive or negative impacts over time. According to Bobis, this has significant benefits when catering to regulation authorities in different regions such as the Unites States, Europe, Japan and China.

“You can essentially feed the same collected data through different standards tracing systems, like HACCP or a hazard table, to produce up-to-date reports based on who is requesting it,” explains Bobis. “You only have to maintain one set of information, without having to manually duplicate it and create even more paperwork to keep track of.”

“Operators can also grant external, read-only access to remote stakeholders, if necessary, with full control over what information is visible to them and for how long,” he furthers. “The system can schedule access windows, and trace which documents have been looked at as well, which gives the user full understanding of what they are being audited on.

As industrial operations make the shift to digitalisation, record-keeping is often undertaken with a hybrid approach – partially maintained with manual logging, while also integrating smarter software tools.

“The system is very flexible and can adapt to the level of automation required for each plant,” Bobis elaborates. “Using a milk room for example, workers can manually log data into the InformationLeader system, which will store it and action the live reporting. Alternatively, on a more automated site, the sensors can monitor the exact time and volume of milk flow, and it will convert into the system’s ‘paperwork’ very rapidly, as if somebody was filling it out.”

The platform is also customisable to unique applications, and currently being employed internationally across a range of other sectors including healthcare and animal welfare compliance.

“Since its conception, the system has been incredibly scalable. It’s being used on everything from preoperational hygiene for national health providers, to tracking child protection services at a hospital facility,” Bobis says. “In food, we supply to a five-person operation, through to multi-plant manufacturers with hundreds of staff using this suite.”

The cost saving benefits of implementing InformationLeader are two-fold, says Bobis. Not only will it help to reduce the manual labour required to log processes and convert raw data into useful information, it also vastly increases batch traceability to avoid product recall.

“With the recent increase to the national minimum wage, there will be a strong focus on labour costs in the coming months. This, combined with ever-tightening food safety and nutrition regulations, will put even more pressure on businesses to go digital. The technology needs to be able to support the transition by facilitating manual and automated processes working in tandem.”

“We are thrilled to be showcasing Information leader at FoodTech, as well as our offline-capable app, InformationM8,” he concludes. “It’s compatible with iOS or Android tablets and smartphones, and allows more flexible data capture to reduce administrative overhead and ensure more comprehensive compliance.”

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