IFS Blog

IFS Faces - Stephan Tromp

IFS stands for resilient and reliable high-level certification and supportive digital services at the cutting edge of technology to create added value for our stakeholders.

Stephan Tromp, IFS Managing Director

The Face behind IFS

My name is Stephan Tromp, and I am both managing director at IFS and deputy secretary-general of the German Retail Federation HDE. I have built up IFS's business case from the very beginning with representatives from German and French retail companies and certification experts from the field.

IFS´s ambition 

Right from the start, it was our ambition to develop resilient high-level standards to check the conformity of products with food safety-, legal requirements and customer specifications. Also, the founding working group emphasised the integrity of the certificates and the qualification of auditors. Therefore, IFS is a pioneer in establishing its own integrity programme and auditor exams. We still are the only certificate programme owner for which auditors must fulfil specific requirements, pass both a written and oral exam, and do calibration training every two years to renew the IFS Auditor permission.

Digitalisation made by IFS 

For me, it was also essential not only to develop a resilient standard but also to support those who work with it. Accordingly, I have driven digitalisation right from the start. In 2002, when the first IFS Assessments took place, it was an absolute novelty that the report and certificate had to be entered into a database. We had also developed a specific IFS Software, auditXpress, for that purpose. Until today, certification bodies can easily register and manage the audits and assessment reports with the IFS Software. We have developed it further, and currently, also the IFS certified sites can also use the new auditXpressX software to perform and document their internal audits. We have made it available to them free of any charges.  

Futher supportive services and tools from IFS 

Besides the software, IFS offers the certified sites more tools. The IFS App Audit Manager is an excellent example of that. With this app, they can plan, perform, and follow up on internal audits.

Also, we have developed digital services to support quality managers in their risk management. The IFS Trend Risk Monitor appears when they go into the IFS Database. It gives its users a comprehensive overview of alerts sorted by product scopes and hazards and allows them to monitor issues in their supply chain more effectively. It may sound a bit futuristic, but here, we use a system based on artificial intelligence. My claim is not to stand still but to continuously integrate the latest advances into the IFS Tools to always be at the cutting-edge of technology . The IFS Trend Risk Monitor is a complimentary free service we offer. The monthly Trend Risk Report supplements it.

Finally, I would like to mention our latest tool, the IFS Pathway. It is a unique platform that offers many technical resources. It supports IFS Global Markets assessed companies as they progress to the next level. It also assists businesses already IFS certified or preparing for their initial certification to an IFS Standard. Also, this is a free service we offer together with over 50 supportive partners.

Future of IFS 

Together with our stakeholders, IFS will develop all its standards, programmes, and tools further. We have a considerable amount of data that we will use to optimise our products and services further. As the legal environment and customer expectations continuously develop, we are constantly looking at new fields to engage in and in which we can offer added value to our stakeholders. We already have some exciting projects in the pipeline. Keep following us on LinkedIn to stay up to date on the latest news about IFS.

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