The LobbyGuard team attended the SQF (Safe Quality Food) Conference in San Antonio on November 5-7, 2019. As food and beverage processors and manufacturers know, SQF is a food safety management certification organization, and the SQF Conference is an education and networking event for SQF stakeholders and other food safety professionals. With the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) food defense deadline approaching, food facility visitor management was a hot topic at the conference.
Of course, not everyone is familiar with the term “visitor management,” so let’s define that first. A visitor management system that can screen each visitor and record every detail of each visit, including entry and exit time and employee host, can help food processors and manufacturers ensure FSMA compliance and audit readiness. It will perform background checks, screen visitors against custom watch lists, print visitor badges, notify employees when their visitors arrive, and maintain a complete record of all visits. It helps prevent the intentional adulteration of food and potential widespread harm.
So we attended, we had discussions, and we learned. What were the top 6 takeaways?
1. Pen and paper to protect against intentional adulteration and food fraud is not a viable option but is very prevalent in the industry.
2. Final Rule for Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration is coming, and “I am not ready.”
3. How to impress customers and auditors the moment they set foot in your lobby.
4. SQF GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) sign-off made easy.
5. “We just need to do this—it’s a no-brainer.”
6. Nobody likes to be on a red flag list.
Learn how the LobbyGuard Visitor Management system works
Pen and paper to protect against intentional adulteration and food fraud? Not a viable option.
Walk into almost any school these days, and you will see a visitor management system. Or any downtown office building. Or any building where harm can come from the wrong people entering the building. So we were surprised that so many food manufacturers still have a paper and pen process to try to keep the wrong people out of their facilities. Many were sheepish when they said it, admitting that visitor management is a pretty simple solution and makes sense. It’s just another thing to do on their list and hasn’t been a priority. Which led us to our second takeaway.
Final Rule for Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration is coming, and “I am not ready.”
Everyone seemed to know about the Final Rule, and most said they have a ton to do to comply. But we heard “I am not ready” more than once—way more. Visitor management is just one element of a food defense plan, but it is proven, quick to implement, and affordable. Some of the other things food companies need to do are much harder and more complicated. Now, we are biased, but we think it makes sense to just let us help food companies implement visitor management, get it done and check it off their list. Oh, and impress some important people as well.
How to impress customers and auditors the moment they set foot in your lobby.
We had an interesting conversation with one senior executive at a food manufacturer. She said that a visitor management system would not only help with compliance, but her customers and auditors would see that they are absolutely taking food safety seriously. Think about it—a big customer visits your plant, and they see a scanner, a kiosk, and a professional-looking badge with their name on it. It leaves a great impression. When an auditor shows up, this is the first thing they see. As they say, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.
SQF GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) sign-off made easy.
In our demos at the conference, we got lots of smiles for one small feature—automating your SQF GMP sign-off right in the visitor management system. One person said, “that is just too easy.” Easy is good, right?
“We just need to do this—it’s a no-brainer.”
And of course, we loved the conversation that ended with “we just need to do this—it’s a no-brainer.” And it is. But why does it seem like the simple things often get put on the back burner? This is an easy, obvious thing to do for food processors and manufacturers. Check it off your list.
Nobody likes to be on a red flag list.
And lastly, we had a bit of fun. In our booth, we set up a LobbyGuard system and randomly put some attendee names on our “green flag” list and the rest on our “red flag” list. A quick scan on the LobbyGuard kiosk showed if you were on the green-flag list and won a $25 gift card. Which made us some new friends. We also learned that people HATE being on the red flag list. It just bothered them. And these are all good people! Just think about how those on your real red-flag list (disgruntled ex-employees, watch lists, banned visitors) will hate it when they are turned away from your facility. It would feel much worse than just not winning $25, our guess.
So that’s it. We had fun in San Antonio and look forward to meeting many of you again next year in Orlando. By then, you’ll have your visitor management system installed, you’ll be ready to share some of your success stories and visitor management wins, and you’ll be moving on to bigger things, right?