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Three Features to Look for in a Brewery Quality Software

Brewing beer isn’t an easy process.  Brewing consistent beer is even harder.  An effective Quality Software ensures everyone knows what has to be done at every stage of the brewing process to produce a consistent, safe, and traceable product.

There are three important features of a quality software:

  1. Easy Access to Specifications and Procedures
  2. Monitoring and Corrective Actions
  3. Learning by Reporting

 

1. Easy Access to Specifications and Procedures

The first step in building a solid quality program is being able to have and access formal documentation regarding lab procedures and product quality specifications.  Keeping these all-important product quality specifications in more than one location can quickly become a nightmare if all files are not synced upon update.  Even the simple enforcement that additional product quality spec files be “read-only” can save time and trouble as your quality program grows.

To increase lab accuracy and efficiency, an effective quality software will include documents such as Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for easy access.  This is especially helpful if an intern or new employee is hired and quick access to viewing these files may help enforce the foundation for proper technique.

While the above documents are critical in being able to compare practices with official specifications and procedures, it’s important to not overlook a quality software’s ability to keep track of calibration records and testing results via a highly searchable database.

 

2. Monitoring and Corrective Actions

The ability to monitor the data being brought into a quality software can save a considerable amount of time.  This saving is only compounded by setting alerts and alarms on this quality data based on your target values.  A goal of an effective quality software is to help employees be able to eliminate time-consuming, clerical tasks.

When corrective action is needed on a bad data point, the ability to set and update user permissions is of high importance.  Do you want the tester to be able to edit any and all data, only data that is deemed a “suspect reading”, or not allow re-testing at all? Defining these authority levels varies completely from brewery to brewery, but it’s a benefit to have a highly customizable quality software to do accuracy checking automatically through multiple methods.

 

3. Learning by Reporting

Now that you’ve followed the proper procedures and routines, collected quality data and information, and it’s stored in a secure database…what do you do now?  There are many ways to report on your data, including:

  • analytical charts comparing how accurate and precise your values are against defined values
  • preventative reports combining various quality data in case of product recall
  • generation of automatic emails comparing lab results with sensory analysis reports to help clear batches for distribution

Whichever templates you create or use, all reports, charts, and graphs help ensure you remain in control of your brewery.

 

– Luke Gordon

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