It’s Leap Year, and while 2020 gives us an extra day in February, it comes after two of our biggest days of the year — our annual BRCGS (Brand, Reputation through Compliance Global Standards) Recertification Audit.
While some may think that “audit” is a four-letter word, for ACS it’s a way to re-examine and prove that the daily procedures we follow every day not only meet global standards, they often surpass them. It is critical for ACS to embrace the high standards established by BRCGS. Compliance not only benefits us, it also benefits our customers, who rely on our results to satisfy their internal quality assurance/quality control corporate compliance requirements, as well as the FSMA requirements.
The two-day audit takes place in late February and examines the company in eight categories:
- Senior Management Commitment, which looks at how management provides the proper resources to maintain the standards;
- Hazard and Risk Analysis examines how our company manages the daily implementation of our established Food Safety & Food Defense plans;
- The Quality Management portion of the audit takes a close look at our internal operating procedures on how we handle the loads we receive into our facility that both conform to national standards and those that arrive at our facility that don’t conform; keeping a clear record of both types is key;
- In addition to procedures, the audit includes a physical inspection for Site and Building Standards as well as Vehicle Operating Standards;
- The Facility Management audit includes an examination in how we maintain our equipment, our tools, and how we take care of waste;
- Good Operating Practices includes examining the procedures for handling and storing our customers’ products, as well as how we control for allergens, brittle plastics and glass. Facility and personnel sanitation practices are closely reviewed as well.
- Finally, the Personnel audit looks at how we keep, train, and maintain our most valuable asset: our employees who work daily to exceed the standards and keep ACS as an industry leader.
Last year, we had zero non-conformities — a rarity in our industry and something that may never happen again in my lifetime … but it won’t be for lack of trying!
BIO: Ben Adams, Jr. is an owner and president of Adams Cold Storage, LLC, in Auburndale. He has been directly involved in citrus production, warehousing, and distribution, as well as state and community support, since 1980. His facility incorporates some 250,000 square feet of multitemperature warehousing and is AA rated by BRCGS.