Raw Material Workshop Draws Strong Attendance
For the last five years, Silva International has been running a raw material supplier workshop in China. Each year we see higher attendance and a significant increase in participation from our partners in this region. This year the workshop spanned two days, with 42 raw material partners and farmers attending, bringing a total of almost 100 people to “our hometown” of Qingdao, Shandong province. In addition, the entire Silva-China team was on-site—seven people—with the workshop being led by Roger Clarke, Silva’s International Quality Director (right).
The focus of this year’s workshop was agricultural control and the requirement of the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), especially focusing on requirements related to Supply Chain Preventative Controls. The Silva team in China spends over 1,000 man-days onsite with raw material producers and farmers, driving an agenda of continuous improvement and compliance. These workshops are focused on educating our upstream partners on our expectations regarding food safety and quality.
With our qualification of raw material, processing of all finished goods, and product testing all located at our facilities in Momence, Illinois, we use our material analysis to educate the upstream supply chain at our workshops to the areas of most concern. Over the first day and a half of this seminar, our team in China covered 10 modules: four covered agricultural practices, four covered facility controls, and two were on requirements under FSMA.
The final afternoon was set aside as a food safety clinic where our raw material partners and farmers were given the opportunity to have one-on-one sessions with a member of the Silva team so they could talk about their specific areas of concern.
At the end of the workshop, each participating partner site worked with their designated Silva quality manager to develop an individualized continuous improvement plan. These plans will be monitored by our group in China over the coming months, as we start our work alongside our partners in preparing facilities and farms for the coming new season. Our team is typically very busy in the period after Chinese New Year, also called Spring Festival, in assisting our partners with planting plans and implementation as the spring season is approaching. Alongside that work, we also work with our raw material facilities through our vendor audit program to ensure they are ready for the new season.
As all of our raw material is funneled to our U.S. production facilities for cleaning, sorting, cutting, and testing, last year we added additional capacity to this portion of our supply chain as well. Continuous improvement throughout our supply chain, from the field to the finished ingredients we produce, continues to be a main priority of Silva. More plans and activities are planned for 2018 and we will keep you updated as those activities move ahead!