Show 2023 who’s in Charge – Planning Tips for your FSMS

Show 2023 who’s in Charge – Planning Tips for your FSMS

Hello 2023! We hope the first few days of the New Year have not yet sucked the life out of you.  It’s disappointing how fast we can go from super-motivated to rock bottom uninspired and downright depressed.  The food industry is certainly no place for “sissies”.  So, put on your super-hero cape, kick-butt safety boots and don’t forget the flattering hairnet, gloves, mask, and whatever other PPE required on-site.  We are going to give you a crash course on starting the year right by planning ahead, and anticipating change…

Whether you had the privilege to take a break over the festive season or not, our advice is to start the year with a proper planning session.  Get your team onboard and use an annual planner to highlight important dates; management review meetings, certification and/or customer audit dates, training days, staff leave dates, etc.  Sure, we know a lot can change as the year progresses but an overview of what lies ahead for the year allows us to look at our resource needs and determine any potential clashes well in advance.

As part of the planning process, we recommend that you get your 2023 internal audit programme up and running.  January is a crazy month and although you may not have planned any audits for the first month of the year, it is wise to get that programme set up and resourced before you run out of time and find yourself in an impossible situation.  With BRCGS requiring that at least four internal audits are scheduled throughout the year, last-minute planning may lead to a non-conformance.

Another very important element that requires proper planning, is your annual training plan.  Whether you are looking at your hygiene refresher training programme, task-specific training or competency assessments for CCP operators, induction training for new staff, or the identification of specific training for internal auditors and food safety team members, planning is key! Lucky for you, this is our exact area of expertise, and our team is on stand-by to assist with your FSMS training needs.

It is no secret that the new BRCGS Food Issue 9 Standard was published in 2022 and that audits against the new version will start in February this year.  FSSC and IFS Food will publish new versions of their respective Standards sometime this year too.  Anticipating and preparing for change is crucial in maintaining your certification status (and managing your stress levels).  It is practically impossible to comply with a new version of a Standard if you are not already complying with the current version.  Use your internal audit system to assess to what extent the current requirements have been met.  Review previous internal and external non-conformances and make sure that they have been addressed by effective corrective actions.  Progress Excellence is already running BRCGS bridging workshops aimed at assisting you to identify the gaps and drive project plans to implement the new requirements.  Click here to register for one of our bridging workshops.

We are excited about the New Year and will be introducing new training workshops to make your life easier.  Our Fundamentals of Risk Management Workshop was launched towards the end of 2022 and is proving to be very popular – our first workshop for 2023 is scheduled for 13 March.  This year will see our ISO 9001 Implementation Workshop return to our programme as a public workshop on 30 January to 1 February 2023.  Our first Supplier Quality Assurance Workshop is scheduled for 22 February and our brand-new Change Management Workshop will run on 14 March 2023.  If you prefer, all of our workshops are offered as on-site training for groups of 6 or more delegates.  We look forward to hearing from you regarding your specific training needs – e-mail us at or click here to visit our website.

Happy New Year from the Food Bites Team.