The British Retail Consortium (BRC), once responsible for food safety standards only in the U.K., now sets the standard globally with more than 17,000 BRC certified sites in the world. Walmart, the largest U.S. retailer, is adopting BRC to ensure they meet the most stringent food safety requirements, and many other retailers in the U.S. are following their lead. BRC certification ensures that companies meet international food safety requirements, including the General Product Safety Directive and the Food Safety Act 1990. The BRC was the first to meet the standards set by the Global Food Safety Conference, formerly known as the CIES International Food Safety Conference, at which the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) provided benchmarks designed to increase safety while reducing the number of audits required.
BRC certification is not a legal requirement but instead, one that is demanded by consumers. To meet the stringent requirements set by the GFSI, the entire supply chain has to work together. Producers have to be efficient and have processes in place that demonstrate they meet the strict standards. At TMS, BRC standards do not change the way we manage our client’s needs. They must have a p
lan in place to address breakdowns and other issues; we help our clients develop a reliable plan and we’re there to make sure that plan is employed properly.
If a line isn’t functioning or if they have a breakdown that causes them not to produce at the level they need to, TMS is responsible for getting them up and running in the shortest amount of time possible. We are also there to help them install new machinery that leads to better efficiency or to make the adjustments they need to existing equipment when they develop a new process. We play a huge role in helping our clients maintain the quality they need to achieve BRC certification.
Because these producers run so lean, with only a small warehouse space and most of their inventory already spoken for, having a reliable mechanical contractor is critical. The time these producers have to make changes inside their facilities is precious. They can only afford to create enough bridge inventory to get them through the downtime with no errors. When I tell a client that they’ll be down for three days and then I’ll bring them back up and running with the new process, they need to be able to count on that, because they will not have any more inventory than that to cover the downtime. You have to be able to meet the timeline you promise to prevent a breakdown in the entire supply chain.
This efficiency is part of meeting BRC certification, because – especially with food supplies – the less time spent in storage and transit, the better. We help our clients get their products into the consumers’ hands safely and reliably.