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Quality Food and Safety Insights

It’s the principle: Right First Time

September 1, 2020 | 3 min read


Since this is the first entry in our new Quality & Food Safety Insights blog, I want to take a moment to introduce myself and let you know what you can expect to read in this space. My name is Kristine McDonald, and I am a Corporate Quality Manager at Tree Top. Like so many of my counterparts, working for our valued customers, I have a passion for assuring our food supply is safe and meets all our stringent quality parameters.

As the name of this blog suggests – Tree Top’s Quality & Food Safety (QFS) Insights – will cover either QFS practices, proposed regulatory guidelines, new food safety requirements, or topics readers have expressed an interest in discussing.

Getting down to quality

With the housekeeping details out of the way, I want to jump into the topic at hand – QFS. The subject of this blog, the Right First Time quality principle, is not only followed throughout many CPG companies but also here at Tree Top.

For anyone unfamiliar with the Right First Time quality principle in food manufacturing, the concept involves making sure all activities in the production process are done right, the first time, all the time. The benefits of conforming to a Right First Time philosophy is that supplies, man-hours, equipment time, etc., are optimized. Whenever rework is necessary or product is held for non-conformance issues, overall product cost increases.

Food manufacturing is a highly competitive environment, which makes the need for Right First Time quality essential to remain productive. As government regulations and customer requirements increase, the food industry is constantly changing and evolving. By using the Right First Time philosophy, food manufacturers can meet their Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and deliver a high-quality product to consumers while still gaining profit. The less Right First Time production occurs the more money and resources are lost in the rework or reevaluation of the products. Not meeting Right First Time production also results in higher wasted finished product and work-in-process goods.

Keeping on track

Manufacturers want to achieve Right First Time to reduce wasted money, time, and resources, however, measuring Key Performance Indicators and finding inefficiencies that cause product to be out of conformance or result in undue waste must be measured and evaluated. Products that must be reworked, reevaluated or even discarded do not reach our customers in the expected timeframe if ever. These errors in the process can lose customers, cost money, or cause quality issues with the product.

Here are the basics of implementing the Right First Time concept:

  • Track metrics of how first-time quality is achieved or not achieved.
  • Evaluate root cause analysis of issues that prevent Right First Time compliance.
  • Put into place preventive actions to increase the quality and efficiency of manufacturing process.

Once you identify the metrics to measure Right First Time, then you must dive into the root cause of the failures to Right First Time. Finding the why to each failure is key to preventing the failure from recurring. Even the “small stuff” should be evaluated, because the small stuff can add up. Corrective and Preventive Action Plans are great tools in evaluating faulty processes and systems. Adding Right First Time KPIs are also good at continuing to evaluate systems put into place to achieve Right First Time metrics.

Right First Time is essential to continually improve processes and systems to reduce cost and wasted resources. Evaluating failures to produce Right First Time is key to finding root cause and implementing preventive actions. Continuous monitoring of the metrics and improvements is crucial to achieving Right First Time products.

At Tree Top, we evaluate monthly the amount and cause of all Hold product and use this metric as a KPI. Our goal is to provide the highest quality products to our customers and consumers, so we constantly strive to reduce waste and increase our Right First Time product.

If you have any questions about Tree Top quality processes, please reach out. I’m also interested in hearing about your experiences in quality management.

More about the author:

Kristine holds bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a minor in chemistry. She is CQI certified through ASQ. Prior to joining Tree Top three-years ago, Kristine worked in the nutraceutical field as a Director of Quality and Lab Manager. Her favorite fruit is Mango. Her favorite Tree Top product is Three Apple Blend Apple Juice.

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