Hart Industries manufactures food contact packaging materials in Owings Mills, Maryland. FDA guidelines, as well as vendor-specific guidelines, are continuously expanding and evolving making it important for manufacturers to stay up-to-date in order to pass critical inspections. We sat down with TJ Hart, Quality and Regulatory Compliance Officer at Hart Industries, to see how this affects them:
“You can’t sell your products in certain stores if you aren’t up to vendor qualifications, which are defined by the Food Safety Modernization Act. Food contact materials can be considered an ingredient in certain products, so we need to follow the strict guidelines that other food companies do.
Knowing that, I decided we needed a system to help keep everything straight. I started looking at maintenance-based applications since that was an area we were struggling with. We needed to be able to show records of when equipment was worked on, when it was inspected before putting it back into operation, and a way to give supervisors appropriate notice. A lot of that is hard to manage without any kind of system in place. There are actual quality management tools out there but a lot of them don’t have the flexibility to touch on everything. They will either be maintenance and training based or they might be quality control based — but none are all in one.'
After coming across Brightly, we realized that we can do a lot more with their work and asset software than just maintenance as we progressed and learned more about the system.
It looked so easy to develop and implement. It was basic, but at the same time very adjustable and open so we could really make it our own. Being able to put multiple tasks into routine schedules is what made us move forward with Brightly. The software gives us ability to have our inspections in the system with multiple different tasks listed within in them, with working instructions attached, and we are able to take photos and attach them as well — all of that is so important to us. Also, being a web-based system made it very easy to implement. We got our login info on a Friday and had it working on Monday.
After we got going with Brightly, we were focused on our SQF III Certification. That meant we needed to start documenting in more detail and have preventive programs in place that would verify that things are being done, and being done on time. All of those new changes had to be implemented very quickly since a lot of our customers require these audits. What SQF provides is a comprehensive quality and food safety system that meets or exceeds all the standards put forth by the FDA and by our customers. Therefore, when we have the certification it is a very easy approval process for vendors to work with us.
We actually got a perfect 100 our first time being audited and we might be one of the only packaging companies to ever do that!
Our auditors were shocked at the robust attention to detail in all of our records and Brightly played a huge part in that.
The software is usable to manage everything from training to sanitation, and inspections to internal auditing of programs. Basically everything can be incorporated into the Brightly system, and we are always finding new ways to use it. It has really become an excellent tool to manage all aspects of our operations.”