IFS Blog

The IFS – Pioneers of digitalization in quality management

At the GFSI conference in Tokyo the IFS Trend Risk Monitor was announced. The Pro and Cloud versions of the IFS Audit Manager App were recently released. IFS was the first GFSI scheme owner to develop an app supporting internal audit processes. Right from the start, the IFS has developed several digital tools in order to support the work of the quality managers and food safety experts working with the IFS Standards. With these unique features the IFS differentiates itself from other standard schemes.

Passion for digitalization

So, what drives IFS to put so many efforts in offering tools to make the lives of people working with the IFS standards easier? What you should know, is that the managing director of the IFS, Stephan Tromp, is very passionate about digitalization. It is also one of the topics he is responsible for in his job as deputy managing director of the German Retail Federation. When IFS started, it was Stephan, who came up with the idea of supporting the scheme with the IFS Database and auditXpress software to administer and manage the audit results. This way he wanted to make the job of the quality managers and auditors a little easier.

IFS Tools to support quality managers

Let me give you a quick overview on the tools IFS has developed over time: 
​The IFS Database: This is an essential tool for all IFS Users. In the IFS Database, retailers, authorities, as well as certified companies, can manage their suppliers or search for new ones and find all the necessary information, including the IFS Certificates. 
The IFS audit software auditXpress: The software helps auditors and certification bodies to prepare a standardized audit report through intuitive and user-friendly software. With the aid of the software, reports can not only be compiled, but also directly loaded into the database – organized, comprehensive and standardized.
IFS Audit Manager App: With the IFS Audit Manager App the IFS provides an opportunity to assist internal auditors or consultants during their audit. The basic version came out in February 2017, followed by the Cloud and Pro Versions in autumn. The IFS App can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Essential idea of the app is to facilitate the internal audit process, so that quality managers can save time and work more efficiently. It is in the best interest of the IFS that companies are well prepared, when the IFS Auditor, that's why IFS came up with the app
IFS Audit Time Calculator: The IFS Food set rules for the duration of an IFS Audit. The IFS Audit Time Calculator is a free tool for calculating the audit time according to those rules. The tool can be used both on- and offline and should make planning easier for all users. 
IFS Unannounced Audit Calculator: Companies which are using the option "unannounced audits" (IFS Food, IFS Logistics and IFS PACsecure) have to be registered for this option within a certain time frame defined in the IFS Standards. With this tool deadlines can be calculated correctly. 

Coming up next: the IFS Trend Risk Monitor

 The IFS Food 6.1 comprises a food fraud chapter. Companies need to show how they are able to identify dangers and risks in their supply chain. They need to do a risk assessment analysis and to establish a plan to minimize those risks. To support the producers IFS is developing a Trend Risk Monitor. This dashboard has been designed exclusively for IFS. It enables quality managers and IFS Recognized Consultants to effectively scan the market development regarding risks for the product scopes of their specific interest. Users will be able to customize their dashboard individually and choose to retrieve important data analyses from a variety of relevant food safety databases. In addition, extra RSS-Feeds can be added to get news from authorities, magazines specialized media and other relevant private organizations in real time. 

The pilot version of the IFS Trend Risk Monitor was shown to an expert audience at the GFSI conference in Tokyo and the Food Safety Congress in Berlin. At those occasions IFS was able to test the tool and receive feedback from the specific target groups. The reactions on the newest digital tool if the UFS were just fantastic. The feedback will be taken into account in the further development of the dashboard. In due time we will also report on it in this IFS Blog.

Is there more to come?

 Well, knowing Stephan, I would definitely answer this question with yes. Stephan and his team are always looking towards the future, finding ways to better facilitate the work of quality managers and food safety professionals. IFS chose an innovative, data-driven approach right from scratch and will definitely continue to do so.

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