This time in the blog we give the stage to our customers who are using the Sensire digital food safety solution. They are here to tell about what kind of challenges they wanted to solve with digital HACCP, what it has been like to use the solution in the everyday work, as well as what kinds of benefits they have gained by doing things in this new way. So, without further ado let’s get down to business!
Why our customer wanted to digitalize their food safety and quality monitoring processes?
There are probably as many reasons for adopting a digital food safety system as there are those wanting to do so. Still, there are a few themes which come up in most customer comments, the top of which are undoubtedly process transparency and making routine food safety work easier and faster.
For example, Hannele Portman, the CEO of the Finnish City of Joensuu catering company Polkka Oy, describes the reasons for adopting Sensire’s digital food safety and quality solution as “wanting to have greater transparency into restaurant service processes. [The Finnish food authority] Evira has login and access to our cloud UI, so they can access and inspect any deviation information at any time they choose.”
For Polkka Oy, the transparency they were looking to gain was then easily extended to other relevant parties, in this case namely to the Finnish food safety authority. This makes the communication with the inspectors much easier and faster.
The Food & Beverage Manager for AS Tallink Grupp, Külli Joakit, mentions similar reasons for digitalizing food safety processes:
”Food safety is an ongoing, fundamental and crucial matter to us in properly handling the food, beverages and all raw materials on our vessels. We therefore wanted to introduce an automated HACCP solution, which would simplify the monitoring processes for us, improve efficiency and guarantee accurate and trustworthy data.”
These are some of the challenges the Sensire food safety solution has offered answers to, but how has it taken its place in supporting the daily performance of food safety tasks? Let’s let our customers tell it as it is.
Digital Food Safety Solution as a part of the kitchen routine
How the food safety tasks are recorded shouldn’t naturally affect the success of food safety processes themselves – the same tasks must be logged whether a pen-and-paper or a digital solution is used.
The difference can be found in how much work these tasks require to perform. When tasks and measurements are logged directly into the cloud without any extra recording needed, it is faster than if those records had to be filled in separately.
But let’s see what the Service Manager for the City of Varkaus Food Services, Eija Heinonen, has to say on the matter.
“It’s a big part of the staff’s workday. For example, when our cook prepares multiple batches of the same food, she’ll measure the temperature of each batch and records the results on her mobile device.
All other food safety tasks are recorded similarly, as well as certain cleaning tasks. On the storage side, an employee performs receiving inspections by measuring temperatures of incoming food products."
"In other words, every employee gets their own set of tasks, and when this person logs in to the food safety app, the application shows them just the tasks that they need to perform that day.”
In Heinola, on the other hand, both paper-based and digital food safety monitoring methods are being used simultaneously, as Lääveri explains:
“Here at food services we measure temperatures at different situations, i.e. in incoming goods receiving, during food preparation, in catering and in storage, which are our primary monitoring targets.
These measurements are then either written down on paper and archived for three years in case the food safety inspector wants to see them – or in the three locations we have the Sensire system in use the measurements are kept safe on the Sensire Cloud platform.
In addition to temperatures, we also perform hygiene measurements with bacterial culture strips, the results of which are saved into the Sensire Cloud, or in the minor locations where Sensire isn’t used yet, they get recorded on paper.
In Sensire locations the cleaning tasks in the kitchens are also recorded. This makes it easy to monitor which cleaning tasks have been performed, and especially those tasks which are only performed infrequently are getting done.”
Of course moving from paper records to a digital solution can also be a worrying concept, particularly if this means getting to grips with unfamiliar technology. We understand this, and have actively worked towards creating a working solution. The Operations Manager of YLVA, Paula Korhonen, can attest to our success:
”Naturally our staff members are of various ages, so at first I wondered how everyone would adjust. For the young people this kind of thing is very much a reality, but how would those a bit older people fare? But it turned out this was built in such a way that, no matter the age, it’s still easy to use.
And that should really be the guiding principle, being easy to use for everybody so it will actually get used.
And talking about the user, it’s a much more agreeable way for the person doing the tasks, when recording is easy and quick. Also, all data will be kept safe when some pieces of paper aren’t getting misplaced.
Of course, there was a bit of learning to be done at first, but we’ve had it in the unit for a few years now, and I have yet to hear one reluctant word why someone wouldn’t want to use it.”
As you can see, these comments keep bringing up a few of the primary points of Sensire’s solution, which are security and ease. So, to bring this blog to a close let’s look at some of the additional benefits our customers have found by digitalizing their food safety processes.
How does digitalizing food safety processes help you?
One clear advantage that a digital food safety system has over a paper one is that it’s much easier to examine the records. This is something which Mrs. Lääveri has also noticed.
“The most important benefit in digitalizing our food safety process is probably the clarity of measuring results, which means there’s no possibility of typos or being unable to decipher someone else’s handwriting. Of course, with all results being kept safe in the cloud, there’s no anxiety over misplacing them either.”
This makes it easier for especially the person managing the kitchen(s), when they can simply search all info on multiple locations in the cloud platform, rather than by having to go through tons of archived papers and spreadsheets. Lääveri mentions this as well:
“Looking at this from the point of view of kitchen management there’s a major benefit for being able to monitor multiple locations at a time and having the option to offer the food safety authority access to our food safety records.”
Being able to create their own food safety checklists for different locations in the system has also agreed with our customers, as Paula Korhonen explains:
“Another thing that’s good about the system is that you can create it to fit what you’re doing and modify it according to unit so you don’t have to work with a single concept.”
A majority of our customers also use automatic temperature monitoring in their kitchen facilities as an addition to their basic food safety system. This has created some additional benefits. Here’s what Korhonen has to say:
”Of course this shows in a concrete way what is happening. So, if we’re talking about a cooling cabinet or a freezer for instance, if there’s a sensor in there, then that gives a whole different approach to monitoring.
And then, when you have alarms set up, you get a notification to help you make sure a freezer won’t just melt. For instance, we have these sites that remain closed for longer periods and with those alarms we can react directly if something was to happen. It also gives faster and clearer access to root causes.”
Lääveri agrees: “There’s time savings with automatically monitoring the temperature of the cooling equipment, as you don’t need to physically go into the cold room to check up on temperatures.There’s actually no need to worry about the whole thing unless you get an alert.
"And the Sensire system is so handy that it notifies directly to my mobile phone, and it’s so quick that at that point there’s no product spoilage, and it’s rather the time to go into action.”
In Varkaus, there’s a more concrete example of what this looks like:
“One morning, as I woke up and checked my work phone, I noticed that one of our cold rooms had sent multiple alarms.
That morning I drove directly to that site. Here the employee who was the first to arrive at work that morning hadn’t checked the cool room temperatures and it’s likely that the food kept there would have been served and that would have run the risk of food poisoning.
As some of our customers are ill and elderly, there’s a very real risk of food poisoning leading to serious consequences. So, this alarm ensured that nothing like that could happen.”
As you can see, our customers have some very good experiences with our food safety solution and the results they’ve been seeing. So, let’s end on a high note of letting them sum up what they think about the Sensire digital food safety solution..
Paula Korhonen, YLVA:”I recently visited the site that uses this electronic food safety system, and it really feels like that doing those things on paper is like something out of the ice age. This electronic solution is considerably more 'now'".
Mrs. Heinonen from Varkaus has also been happy with the solution:“This is a much more sensible and more easily monitored system than any of our previous ones. As I see it, this does exactly what we’re looking for it to do.”
And finally, here’s what Mrs. Lääveri from Heinola has to say of the most important benefit of digitalization:
“But most of all, this brings security to our food safety process, because you know it’s pretty much watertight.”
But how about you? Are you still handling food safety manually?
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