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August 22, 2017

The 3 Lenses of Digital Food Safety

Written by Jeremy Macdonald

While many people consider digital food safety to be driven by technology, there are multiple non-technology drivers which will determine the real success of your program.  We use The 3 Lenses of Digital Food Safety: People, Environment, and Process, to evaluate each program through 3 distinct dimensions. The time spent looking at your program through these lenses enables you to select the right system and then configure a system that maps to your unique organizational needs.

Lens #1: People

The “People” lens considers the stakeholders involved in food safety and the people-centric factors affecting their behavior.

An effective digital system is flexible enough to accommodate the various needs of the People using it, including:

Culture: The system must align with your organizational values and beliefs, and your implementation program must navigate existing biases.

Politics: To get buy-in for the system and to set up appropriate reporting, it is helpful to consider the hierarchies of authority and the incentives that exist should be programmed into the system.

High Turnover: An intuitive system is critical for environments where there is high employee turnover, reducing the need for training and enabling people to easily adopt your food safety system.

Ownership: Motivation can differ depending on whether a food establishment is franchised or company-owned. By focusing on meeting the unique needs of franchisees and company-owned stores you will help introduce a system that gains broad adoption.

Collaboration: A collaborative incident management system facilitates workflows that cross sites and cross organizational teams. A collaborative system will allow assignment of incidents to any team member and will contain a timeline on each incident that documents activity and comments.

Lens #2: Environment

The “Environment” lens looks at the physical, regulatory, and security aspects of your business. Launching a digital food safety system must complement the environmental constraints and requirements of your organization. For example: 

Tight Space: Many food service areas have little room to move and storage space is at a premium. Therefore, the system must be compact and out of the way.

Regulatory: The system must be flexible enough to comply with regulations (e.g., be able to generate on-demand reports during surprise inspections) and meet your requirements for documentation and corrective action.

Security: IT security is a top priority for many firms and digital food safety technology must meet the rigorous standards for access control, encryption, and audit logging.

Deployment: To achieve widespread adoption the system needs to be “plug and play” and be deployable in minutes. To achieve this, it is important that the system is self-provisioning and is remotely managed and configured.

Lens #3: Process

The “Process” lens looks at the food safety workflows and procedures.

Iterative Completion: Foodservice work is fraught with interruptions, so applications must be able to be saved and resumed at a later time.

Customized by Experience: The system must be configurable to meet the needs of both site level users and above site, corporate users. Configuration should extend across dashboard views, reporting, organizational structure, and alerting.

Reporting: Reporting needs to be available on-demand, on a scheduled basis, and on an exception basis. This includes easily creating reports for quality control, equipment maintenance, and regulatory needs.  

Workflows: To achieve organizational impact digital food safety systems must improve the workflows that exist in your organization. Some workflows to consider include, facilities management, regulatory compliance, restaurant operations, and risk management.

To gain the benefits of digital food safety, organizations need to change both WHAT they do, as well as, HOW they do it. During this process, keep in mind that your digital food safety system should adapt to your organization, and not that your organization should have to adapt to your digital food safety system.

Please let me know what you think and if TempAlert can be helpful as you consider digital food safety systems for your organization.

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Topics: Food Safety