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Real-time assurance and predictive insight from LRQA Assist.

There are many challenges facing the food supply chain including food fraud, emerging pathogens and growing consumer expectations. At LRQA, we have long recognised that digitalisation can support this key area.

Here, Stuart Kelly, talks about the business benefits that real-time assurance via LRQA Assist can bring.

Tell us about LRQA Assist; what does it do?

In simple terms, it provides all the information a business needs to manage its compliance - whether to brand or legal standards - in real time. It alerts key personnel to any issues, real or prospective, and it allows the monitoring of corrective actions to support due diligence and the right behaviour for well performing companies.

You talk about real-time insight; what does this mean for the client?

Good question! What this means is up-to-date information at your fingertips; trend analysis that can help predict the risks your business faces, thereby allowing you to react and prevent situations.  All this is underpinned with data that can be modelled to highlight the risks you face in an ever changing landscape.

LRQA Assist, and importantly, the expertise our staff can bring to your requirements, can help to develop this insight and maintain it in a current state that ensures your business is always ‘compliant’ with the standards.

Does LRQA Assist need complex technology and platforms to make it work?

The beauty of LRQA Assist is that it can be accessed over any web through any browser, 24/7 from anywhere in the world.

If that wasn’t simple enough, we recognise our clients are busy people and therefore we also set up pre-determined reports to be emailed to the right people at the right time, so you don’t have to go searching!

Is it expensive to use?

It’s one of the most cost effective brand compliance solutions on the market. It is an integral part of our service offer, as we believe that our client’s assurance is fundamental to their success.

Technology is at the heart of everything we do, supporting the skills and expertise provided by our worldwide team of technical experts. As such, our tailored assurance service solutions, that meet your exact requirements, will be managed and reported through LRQA Assist at no additional cost to you.

What type of organisations serving the food and beverage sector is LRQA Assist for?

If your company has a part to play in the food industry, from feedstuffs to farms, processing to serving, this is the solution for you.

It has been designed by food experts for the food industry, making it a solution of choice, rather than a software product providing part of a requirement. It is used to help monitor supply chain assurance, product specifications, audit results, corrective action closure and risk based models of compliance, all supported by the right staff in the right locations for your business.

What makes it unique?

Simply put, it’s built with the food industry in mind, underpinned by robust technology, LRQA Assist has been developed to support the work of our experts, with many years of industry experience solving problems, keeping businesses compliant and dealing with critical issues in a timely manner.

Not only that, it is continually evolving, as new technology emerges and new requirements are needed, the team of talented developers work with our food specialists to keep LRQA Assist current, robust and fit for purpose.

Can dashboards be created, tailored to a client’s specific needs?

One of the things I find critical when developing assurance solutions for clients, is the need to ensure their information and data is at the front of any solution.

Customised dashboards, client specific reports and tailored alert solutions are at the heart of the programmes we develop and partnerships we form.

LRQA Assist claims to help with brand protection; how does it do that?

At LRQA, we believe that in the world of brand protection, prevention is better than cure. To that end, we ensure LRQA Assist is tailored to the exact risks and requirements for each client, kept current through our assurance programmes and account management.  This enables us to highlight risks to brands through our services, changes to status and agreed escalation protocols. Your brand protection is our brand’s purpose.

How does LRQA Assist help to pinpoint problems across a network of sites?

LRQA Assist does this in a variety of ways, all agreed and tailored by our team of account management specialists, with you. Using agreed risk matrices, bespoke audit scoring methodologies and with the ability to take data from other sources, it is second to none in profiling your network in a risk based dashboard.

The difference from other software solutions is how we work with clients to tailor solutions to their needs, keep them current and learn from industry trends and client audit data, to maintain a best in class solution.

Does LRQA Assist offer in-depth and root cause analysis and if so how?

Many companies find their management systems becoming cumbersome and unwieldy through continual additions to provide ‘solutions’ to problems or situations.

Our industry experts will strategically review all such systems and site practices to challenge all requirements, analyse against industry best practice and offer innovative solutions to continually improve business. Stripping cost whilst adding robustness is our area of expertise.

Is LRQA Assist solely focused on compliance or does it offer additional functionality?

It is the core of the service we offer, but the beginning of the solution our clients enjoy. There are too many to mention in this short session, but examples range from menu development with calorific and nutritional analysis; contractor competence solutions for health and safety requirements; brand specific audit checklists with your customer expectations at their core through to innovative e-learning modules to aid corrective action closure. As a core service platform, LRQA Assist becomes the heart of our clients’ brand assurance.

What about exporting reports; can this be done in a professional manner to drive internal - and potentially external - stakeholder engagement?

In addition to our generic management report suite, we can tailor reports specific to clients’ needs, designed in a way to be automatically ready for use, whether in graphical format, raw data for auto-input into client portals, or workbooks for detailed analysis. We work back from our clients’ report requirements and design the solution that meets their needs.

Can you have multiple users on LRQA Assist?

We provide the platform as part of our customised solution for each client. This can allow access for one site or thousands of sites across multiple languages and continents. The solution depends on our clients’ needs.

Can LRQA Assist be accessed 24/7 by clients?

Yes, but this is also supported by emailed reports to the right personnel at the right time, as we know our clients are busy and this helps them get the information they need when they need it.

Is it scalable across multiple sites and geographies and importantly is LRQA Assist - and the customers’ data - secure?

Using secure web access, encrypted transmissions and being available 24/7, the platform already services thousands of sites across all time zones and is built to scale to our clients requirements, with data held on secure servers managed by third parties, to satisfy the cyber security requirements of every IT department.

Can LRQA Assist track progress against non-compliance findings?

It’s one of the key functions of the solution. Fully auditable communications, actions and supporting documentation (including photographs), support robust corrective action closure methodologies that meet the requirements of certification schemes and accreditation bodies. As such, it can fulfil any client specific requirements.

How can LRQA Assist help to predict trends and risks?

Working closely with clients, our account team ensures the right technical experts and detailed data feeds of non-LR information, input into unique risk models that identify likely issues and compliance risks to business.

The resulting dashboard flags higher risk sites, suppliers and parts of the supply chain for clients. Uniquely, these models and dashboards can be client specific and kept current with tweaks and changes to reflect trends and results.

How does LRQA Assist work across supply chains?

By providing ‘One Single View’ of all parts of a company’s supply chain, it provides a unique view of your compliance status. Different audit and data solutions, supplier and product specifications and client specific date feeds, all come together in one place, to provide a single view of brand assurance.

The platform is unique in that it can manage and report on all aspects of the food supply chain, from feedstuffs to farm, from sea to fork.

Can LRQA Assist quickly identify dishes that have been affected by recalls, contamination or quality issues?

Alerting protocols, agreed with every client at account management reviews, immediately highlight agreed personnel to any issues. This is typically done on a number of issues per product in 24hrs to include foreign object issues as an example. Put simply, LRQA Assist ensures that you know of issues as they arise and can deal with them proactively, rather than reacting to media attention.

Why should an organisation choose LRQA Assist to manage their real-time data, compliance and reporting?

As part of a comprehensive compliance solution, supported by the best technical experts in every area of the food chain, LRQA Assist sits at the heart of any programme.

Real time information, real time escalations and real time dashboards of multi-site and multi supplier chains means that no organisation can truly manage risk without it at the heart of its assurance operation.

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