In control of Quality Control

Marel’s crucial software module fits in each processing plant

Quality Control Manager Emma With Background

In every poultry processing plant worldwide, the role of the Quality Control Manager is crucial. Topics such as food safety, hygiene, health, integrity and traceability are under the close scrutiny of authorities, customers and consumers. Reports drawn up by the Quality Control Manager are decisive for the plant’s reputation. Innova’s Quality Control module helps build a structured database of reliable quality data.

Let’s meet Emma, Quality Control Manager at a European poultry plant, processing at 10,500 bph [175 bpm]. Together with a colleague, she’s responsible for making sure that every product leaving the plant meets all required food safety and quality standards. When authorities or customers request an audit, Emma is responsible for providing correct and accurate figures. The tool she relies on for this accuracy is Innova’s Quality Control software module.

Quality inspections

It’s in the best interest of everyone in the poultry processing business to produce food of the highest quality. Keeping quality under control at all times is the job of the QC manager. Quality checks are done in primary, secondary and end-of-line processes, from raw material inspections to product and box/pallet checks. They can include inspections for truck cleanliness, lighting in the lairage, sample collections of leucosis, equipment inspections, interventions for reducing pathogens, feet samples to check for lesions or samples of chicken core temperatures.

Real-time status

Emma’s job is to carefully monitor the integrated QC process at every step in the production. She has to follow product flow through the factory. She looks into the day’s orders to track the flock that is going into a customer´s order. She is constantly using histogram reports, graphs and tabular charts. Innova’s Quality Control module gives Emma paperless control of the QC process. It lets her capture and monitor critical quality data on the factory floor in real-time. Reliable information on her screen gives her an accurate status of all quality issues with easy-to-read graphics. With this, Emma can collect valuable information for custom reports and trend analysis, enabling her management team to improve their processes even further.

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Paperless and automated

How paperless is Innova’s Quality Control Module? Emma used to make her inspections around the factory with a clipboard, manually filling out many paper forms by hand. Later, she would have to re-enter the same figures in Excel sheets on her computer. Today, Emma walks around with the appropriate dashboards of Innova’s QC module on her tablet computer. At designated control points throughout production, she enters the relevant quality data on the tablet, no longer needing paper. Her inspection rounds, which she does every two hours, are no longer the only source of all her information. Using the QC module, Emma can use existing devices as inspection points. Machine operators can perform their own basic QC checks, lightening Emma’s workload. Innova’s QC module incorporates an automated real-time monitoring process that produces reliable data about critical processes much earlier than before. It allows Emma to respond quickly to quality deviations.


On one hand, real-time data acquisition paves the way for increased efficiency. Emma can monitor performance and respond in real-time, allowing her to benchmark suppliers and avoid future problems by learning from past issues. On the other hand, QC also plays a part in traceability as it links real-time quality data, obtained during the inspections, directly to production processes, raw material source or final product ingredients. Using the connection between quality control and traceability, Emma can place a lot, item, pack or pallet on hold because of a failed quality control inspection. This prevents it from entering production.

A box of checks

Apart from routine inspections required by the central authorities, Emma may also need to do customized checks on her own initiative or prompted by local regulations and legislation. Based on experience, Marel put together a ‘pre-built box of checks’ which covers around 75% of all the standard checks needed by Emma. This package will help meet requirements demanded by the major regulation authorities. The remaining 25% of specialized quality checks can be addressed with tailor-made solutions. Emma will find Marel’s experts at her side to help devise customized quality control procedures and ensure they are appropriate for the plant. This can even be done without other Innova software or Marel equipment present. The ‘box of checks’ speeds up implementation considerably, making life a lot easier for Emma.

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