About Graham Freeman

Graham Freeman is a content writer and editor at Intelex Technologies in Toronto, where he writes on topics relating to quality management. You can follow Graham on LinkedIn by clicking here: www.linkedin.com/in/graham-freeman-aa5a575b/

Do You Know How Cold-Chain Requirements for the COVID-19 Vaccine Can Impact its Time to Launch?

COVID-19 Vaccine cold supply chain
The Good News: The Vaccines Work


News of promising results in COVID-19 vaccine research has brought a glimmer of hope to people around the world. Within the space of two weeks, both Pfizer and Moderna have announced that early results of their front-runner vaccines show an effectiveness rate of about 95%. The news catalyzed an upsurge in the stock market and spurred governments around the world to begin planning for delivering the vaccines to the most vulnerable populations.


The Bad News: Delivering the Vaccine Will Be Challenging


While the world’s attention has been on the vaccine as a way out of the COVID-19 crisis, distributing the vaccine globally will require one of the largest logistical operations in modern history. The most significant barrier to large-scale distribution is the requirement of a seamless cold-chain. Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be stored at an ultra-cold -75C, while Moderna’s vaccine requires storage at … Read more...

How to Sell Your Software Solutions to the C-Suite

Sell Software to Chief Officers

EHSQ practitioners know the value they bring to an organization. Keeping workers safe, protecting the environment, and meeting customer requirements are elements at which every business wants to excel, so anything we can do to help achieve that should be met with open arms by leadership, right?

Well, not always.


When the Value of EHSQ Software Doesn’t Sell Itself


If there’s anything EHSQ practitioners know as much about as their own value, it’s the feeling of rejection when pitching digital solutions for compliance and EHSQ software to leadership. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the benefits of EHSQ should practically sell themselves, it’s not always easy to convince leadership that software is what the organization needs. Even fact-based arguments focusing on benefits like decreasing recall risk, giving leadership access to data, maintaining compliance, and improving audit preparation are not enough to loosen the purse strings for your … Read more...

World Quality Day: Food Safety in the Spotlight After Supreme Court of Canada Decision

Food safety

The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an appeal that would have seen Maple Leaf Foods held responsible for financial and reputational losses that occurred during the listeriosis outbreak in 2008.

The outbreak at the Bartor Road plant in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 2008 resulted in 22 deaths and is considered one of the deadliest food safety outbreaks in Canadian history. The contamination affected a number of cold cut products produced at the plant. The cause of the outbreak was the cleaning procedures of two slicing machines that had meat residue lodged deeply inside their internal workings, which allowed the bacteria to grow unchecked over a long period of time despite the thorough cleaning and maintenance of the working surfaces. Maple Leaf Foods had an exemplary record for food safety up to that point and had demonstrated a high level of attention to food safety and quality for several years. … Read more...

How Home Renovation Projects Have Exposed Supply Chain Fragility

Supply Chain Fragility

Like many people around the world, you’ve probably been working from home for the past six months. Perhaps you’ve also been monitoring your children as they navigate the improvised labyrinth of online learning. All day, every day, you’ve been immersed in your home environment far more than you ever thought you would be. It seems like you’re constantly preparing food, loading the dishwasher, doing laundry, getting snacks, and engaging in a seemingly infinite number of other mundane activities that have turned your quiet home into a concerto for frazzled knowledge-worker soloist and obsolete-appliance orchestra.

If this is you, then perhaps your familiarity with your home has bred contempt for its flaws. Perhaps, you reason, if you’re to be imprisoned in your home during the dreaded second wave of the pandemic, it’s time to switch things up a bit, time to retire your veteran appliances and draft in a new generation … Read more...

Mitigating Threats and Uncovering Opportunity: Learning About the Complexity of Risk

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the concept of risk-based thinking to worldwide attention. The global scale of the pandemic and the indiscriminate way in which the virus is transmitted mean that risk experts must consider a vast number of risk profiles when calculating the threat.

Consider this: COVID-19 can be transmitted from anyone to anyone, which means every single person on the planet is at risk. Yet the nature of the virus and the different contexts in which people live mean that not everyone shares the same level of risk. Elderly people and those with pre-existing conditions are at very high risk of serious complications from COVID-19, while young, healthy people are at a much lower level of risk.

The economy is facing an extreme risk from the disruption to the labor market and mandatory isolation of consumers who would normally be out spending money, yet fully digital enterprises like … Read more...

Why Risk-Based Thinking Should Be Part of Your Quality Management System

While the concept of risk is easy enough to understand, figuring out how to apply it to your organization can be somewhat more complicated. Learning how to manage the effect of uncertainty in such a way as to determine the impact on how value is created and sustained requires a deep understanding of your organization’s processes. Many organizations are tempted to avoid these difficulties by ignoring risk management altogether, which can lead to cost overruns, time delays, waste, rework, or even to more serious problems that have an impact on health and safety or the environment.

Fortunately, ISO 9001:2015 for quality management systems (QMS) can provide some much-needed guidance on how to make risk-based thinking the cornerstone of your QMS. ISO 9001:2015 incorporates risk-based thinking throughout to help your organization make better quality decisions that anticipate and prevent process problems. It also incorporates the high-level structure of Annex SL to … Read more...

What Is a Quality Management System (QMS) and Why Do You Need One?

A quality management system allows an organization to link business objectives with customer expectations, provide data that supports evidence-based decision making by leadership, reduce waste and prevent rework, and ensure transparency at each stage of the supply chain.

The cost of poor quality can be high for many organizations. Expensive waste, product rework or recalls, supply chains that lack accountability, and lack of insight into your customer requirements are symptoms of a quality management problem. If you’ve thought about implementing quality practices in your organization, you’ve probably heard the term “quality management system” or its acronym “QMS” and wondered what it means. Is it a software application? Is it a group of people? How can I learn about it? 

This short guide will help you to understand the basics of a quality management system and where to find the best guidance to get started on the path to continual quality improvement in your organization. 

What is a

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The Deepwater Horizon Disaster: Why it Holds Important Lessons for Every Organization

Ten years later, the lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon incident remain important.

On April 20, 2010 at 9:49 pm, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers and injured 17. By July 15, five million barrels of oil had flowed from the ruptured well into the Gulf of Mexico. This caused untold environmental and economic disaster for the region, the effects of which continue to resonate to this day. 

Ten years later, the story of the Deepwater Horizon remains important. The Report to the President by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling summarized the technology failures. On the face of it, these failures were responsible for the immediate disaster.

Significant Technology Failures

In summary, the most significant technology failure was that of the blowout preventer (BOP), which did not sever and seal the well … Read more...

How Hello Fresh and Intelex Are Managing the Global Food Supply Chain

Today’s global food supply chains are more complex than they’ve ever been. Until recently, consumers ate the food they grew in their communities and would adjust their diet to suit the seasonal availability of various products like fruits and vegetables. Today, consumers can have food from any part of the world as part of their regular diet. In the United States alone, food travels on average 1,300 miles from farm to fork, with 33% of products and 80% of seafood imported from other countries. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates food products that are processed by more than 300,000 different facilities in over 150 different countries.

In such a complex supply chain, food travels around the world in the custody of multiple agents, with variations in documentation and processing resulting in loss of critical information about food origins and authenticity. In many cases, the food itself goes … Read more...

Using an Integrated Management System in Your Organization

Many of today’s organizations use management systems to establish policies and procedures for achieving their objectives. Most frequently, organizations have management systems to support quality, health and safety, environment and sustainability, and data privacy. Management systems are not, by definition, technology solutions. Instead, they are conceptual models of the organizational processes and responsibilities that help coordinate everything in the direction of a common goal. However, while a management system can theoretically use paper-based manual processes, the increasing complexity of the global marketplace and the attendant compliance requirements mean that most organizations will need a reliable cloud-based technology solution to support their management systems. 

Management systems are often segregated from one another in the organization. For example, the quality management system might be separate from the safety management system. This creates the risk of isolated responses to incidents that impact each individual management system. It also means considerable duplication of effort, which wastes both human and financial resources. To … Read more...