Xpert-Ease will bring together LFR's extensive food safety knowledge with the smart IT tools available through the Qadex Vision system for food safety and supply chain quality management. Those behind the project claim it will enable its users to stay one step ahead of the game as far as food safety incidents are concerned.
The food supply chain needs to adopt smarter approaches to food safety management, said Dr Jo Head, a consultant with extensive food safety experience, who helped to develop the initiative. The industry had to move away from traditional paper-based systems and make use of intelligence that is already available, she added.
"Carrying on as we are is not an option and smarter approaches are required," said Head. She chaired LFR's recent food safety conference at which the new initiative was announced.
Head said that better use could be made of tools currently available, such as quantitative risk assessment, horizon scanning and communications tools. By combining these with collaborative platforms, supply chain and specifications systems and the risk management infrastructure, it would be possible to handle food safety incidents much better in the future, she claimed.
"The exciting thing we will be doing is joining up what is going on in people's businesses with all the knowledge that is here in Leatherhead," said Qadex's business development director Stephen Whyte. "Some of the tools here allow us to spot the good supplier that is going bad."
As more and more consumers use social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook to air their complaints, Xpert-Ease will also help companies to pick up on potential issues at an earlier stage, Whyte suggested.
"Twitter and Facebook and tools similar to them are quite frightening from a consumer control viewpoint," he said. As a result, Qadex is planning to incorporate elements of social networking within its customer service manager module.
Xpert-Ease would help to "join up the pieces of the jigsaw" and allow the industry to do things a lot smarter, said Head. It effectively moves food safety from being "reactive to proactive" in its approach, said added, while offering more consistent advice.