Major processors trial ‘Nirvana’ system for technical managers

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Management

One down, more to go: Stephen Whyte says more food groups are considering the system
One down, more to go: Stephen Whyte says more food groups are considering the system
A software system that keeps technical managers up to speed on tricky quality management issues that need regular monitoring in food factories is being tested by leading lights in the industry.

Qadex Vision was unveiled last month to technical directors and managers at a user forum organised by supply chain assurance and product specifications firm Qadex.

Qadex business development manager Stephen Whyte described it as “a bit of a Nirvana system​”. “We have got one big food group with seven UK sites that already wants to roll it out. Another 10 or 11 groups are considering it as well​.”

The software enables technical staff to see the status of tasks at a glance on a computerised dashboard, rather than constantly chasing half-finished paperwork. It could also make common administrative errors or procedural gaffes easier to trace and spot quickly before bigger problems developed, said Whyte.

Signs of pest infestation are flagged up in reports, for example. “They might be left somewhere, but the piece of paper isn’t picked up until Tesco sees rats in the warehouse. Qadex Vision allows you to take in feeds from other systems so you see where everything is being done according to plan. If not, it will alert you to what needs to be done.​”

In the case of hygiene compliance, for example, it alerts cleaning staff that they need to clean an area. They send a text alert when they complete the task.

Colour coding

The system uses traffic light colour coding, said Whyte. “Green means something is going to plan; amber means something is not right, but someone is dealing with it and red means something is not going to plan and no one is dealing with it.​”

Qadex Vision is designed to manage all quality management systems and is free to Qadex members. Non-members must join Qadex to use it.

In a separate move, Qadex has launched what it describes as the first ever UK allergen validation system.

According to the firm’s research, up to a third of raw material specifications held by manufacturers contained mislabelled allergens. Even in cases where spec sheets were correctly completed, they were sometimes not altered when subsequent changes to processing practices made this necessary.

Errors might only become apparent years later, resulting in product recalls. Allergen management is complicated by the fact that it is often handled using laborious paper-based methods.


Qadex’s new supplier auditing and allergen specification software flags up changes to allergen specs as soon as they occur and alerts manufacturers to incorrect specs. Again, the system is free to Qadex members. The cost of joining Qadex could be up to £20,000 for large companies. But even accounting for this, the tool could halve costs for managing allergen specs and recalls and free up technical staff to do other jobs, said Whyte.

Food Manufacture​ is holding a Product Recall Conference in association with the Institute of Food Science & Technology on November 23 at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull. Speakers include Andrew Rhodes, Food Standards Agency director of operations, and Richard Matthews of Eversheds. For more details, and to book places, call 01293 610433, contact or click here.

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