Change and Risk Management in the SMS: a Continuous Feedback Loop

Posted by Rachel Beavins Tracy on Thu, Aug 27, 2015

Plan-Do-Check-Act. It’s a universal concept that cuts across many disciplines including quality, safety and risk management. In the Safety Management System (SMS), it’s represented by the continuous feedback loop between change and risk management. 

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Tags: Aviation

Good Sanitation—The Key to Pathogen Control [Podcast]

Posted by Traci Slowinski on Tue, Aug 25, 2015

I recently participated in a webinar with a couple of industry colleagues where we discussed best practices for controlling Listeria.  We have seen a number of Listeria recalls recently.  It has been showing up in the usual suspects but also products that we used to think as being exempt from Listeria propagation—ice cream, caramel apples, jerky, etc. A key message was you need to have a comprehensive Sanitation Program to ensure you are eliminating any pathogen introduction and propagation concerns. A Sanitation Program should be a part of your Prerequisite Programs and will also be an area to focus on as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls (HARPC) come into play.

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Tags: Traci's Tidbits

Risk and Reporting: 3 Hidden Problems With Point Solutions

Posted by Rachel Beavins Tracy on Thu, Aug 20, 2015

Many companies today are highly specialized, from auto mechanics to home contractors to staffing agencies. “That’s all we do,” they say, whether it’s repairing foreign cars or rehabbing 1920s Craftsman bungalows.

From the company’s perspective, it makes sense—focus on what you do best. And in many cases, it’s good for those on the purchasing end, too. I know I’d rather work with a contractor who has experience remodeling post-war homes in my specific neighborhood, just as an energy company might hire a consultant who works exclusively with the oil and gas industry.

But when it comes to building your quality, safety or environmental management system, cobbling it together with different software platforms—even if each is designed specifically for your industry—is a dangerous game.

Let’s look at a few of the hidden risks associated with using point solutions this way.

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Tags: quality

Top 3 Challenges Facing Biotech Today (and How to Tackle Them)

Posted by Rachel Beavins Tracy on Tue, Aug 18, 2015

There are many challenges facing the biotech industry today. Many issues—like those discussed below—are more fundamental, requiring a proactive approach to meet them head-on.

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How to Create a Risk Matrix, Not Everything has to be a Corrective Action and More

Posted by Brenda Percy on Thu, Aug 13, 2015

In this monthly roundup, we will pull from the EtQ archives to bring you our most popular blog posts. In this edition, you'll learn tips for creating a risk matrix, and how the Quality Management System (QMS) can be applied in any scenario (even parenting).  You'll also learn why not everything has to be a Corrective Action and we'll take you where no blog has gone before, with a look into Star Trek’s QMS.

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Tags: Blog Roundup

Which Superhero Is Your Quality Avatar?

Posted by Rachel Beavins Tracy on Tue, Aug 11, 2015

It’s easy for our day-to-day work routines to take on a humdrum quality. We go to work, answer some emails, deal with some issues, process more emails and go home. Rinse and repeat.

But what if we’re actually quality superheroes in disguise? What if we’re really more like Clark Kent or Peter Parker, just going about our business until we’re called on to prevent a new quality or safety disaster?

Well, dust off your cape, because we’re here to help you discover which superhero is your quality avatar.

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Tags: Fun Takes

The Lorax Guide to EHS Management

Posted by Rachel Beavins Tracy on Thu, Aug 06, 2015


The Lorax has always been my favorite Dr. Seuss story. If you’ve read it, you know that it’s actually a pretty dark tale, so I decided to turn it on its head (with an EHS twist, of course).

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Tags: Fun Takes

Why the EQMS is Critical for Quality Success [Infographic]

Posted by Brenda Percy on Tue, Aug 04, 2015

A recent LNS study, “EQMS Solution Selection:  Best practices for Global Enterprises” indicates that Enterprise Quality Management Systems (EQMS) are a critical tool in successful quality management.

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The EtQ Team Applies Lessons from Quality Management during Habitat for Humanity Build

Posted by Emily Ysaguirre on Thu, Jul 30, 2015

The EtQ family recently participated in a Habitat for Humanity build. Habitat for Humanity is a great cause that helps an individual with building an affordable home at a cost much lower than comparable houses. The organization accepts volunteers from around the world who are interested in donating materials, money or their time. I have to say, going from no experience in construction to helping build a house all within one day is a pretty fulfilling feeling. We laughed, we cried— I’m kidding there was no crying (surprisingly)—but there definitely was plenty of laughter!

Looking back on the experience, I realized that the lessons we used to ensure a successful day were traits that you’ll find in the best Quality Management Systems (QMS).

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Tags: Quality Management

Environmental Monitoring 101 (Podcast)

Posted by Traci Slowinski on Tue, Jul 28, 2015

Listeria, Salmonella and E. coli related recalls, USDA ready to eat (RTE) requirements, the new upcoming FSMA proposals—it is becoming clear that all food and beverage businesses need to have an effective Environmental Monitoring program. Pathogen Environmental Monitoring (PEM) programs are often considered a prerequisite program within your HACCP plan. Basically it helps to verify that your sanitation and cross-contamination prevention efforts are effective. It can help to identify and locate any pathogenic hazards within your facility. Once identified, you can put a plan in place to mitigate this risk. While the ultimate goal is to keep foodborne pathogens out of your facility and out of your product, we know this can be very challenging. Therefore, implementing a PEM program in order to find any rogue pathogens hiding out in your facility is critical to your food safety program. So, what makes up a good PEM program?

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Tags: Traci's Tidbits