9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Quality Management Solution
By iFoodDS Team
April 4, 2023
For grocery retailers and foodservice operators, a quality management solution can directly impact the bottom line. Reduced shrink will save you money and decrease food waste, while increased quality will attract and retain loyal customers.
Before selecting a food quality software vendor, you’ll want to gather as much information as possible to ensure the best fit for your needs and priorities. Here are 9 questions you should ask your team and potential vendors.
Questions to Ask Internally
1. Is our current process working?
Start by evaluating your current quality management process, and asking yourself (and your team) if there are gaps or potential areas for improvement. Be sure to identify what’s working too. Before engaging with a new vendor, it’s important to look at what you know is inefficient and needs to be fixed and what you need to keep because stakeholders require it.
For example, maybe your organization requires additional sampling on certain commodities that are high-value or high-risk items. You need to keep that aspect of your process, even if it’s not as efficient. However, you would like to speed up the inspection process for the rest of your commodities to make more time for your highest priority items.
2. What are the main issues or problems we’re trying to address, and what are they costing our business?
Once you’ve identified gaps in your current process, ask yourself what problems they’re causing and what it’s costing you. Perhaps you lack historical data, making it impossible to objectively evaluate your suppliers. Can you quantify how these gaps are impacting shrink and profitability? Make a list of your biggest pain points and keep them in mind as you talk with vendors.
3. What does our ideal future look like?
Ask yourself what you wish you could do with a new quality solution. What would be a game-changer for the future of your business? For example, how would it impact your business if you had the data to objectively evaluate historical quality from your suppliers, driving them to deliver the highest-quality products?
Also consider key stakeholders’ needs, including your C-suite and leadership teams. What information would be valuable for them to have? How can you tie an investment in a new quality solution to their priorities? The process will be easier if you have buy-in from key stakeholders. They will support your decision and smooth the way to implementation when they can see how the solution helps accomplish their goals.
4. What outcomes do we expect from our chosen solution?
Set specific, measurable goals and key metrics for your new quality solution. For example, you want to see $20,000/month in shrink reduction or save 30 minutes on each rejection report. Maybe you want a solution that can create supplier scorecards that objectively identify your top-performing suppliers by commodity, region, and season.
Ultimately, the goals and metrics you set are all indicators of your return on investment (ROI). Don’t just pick a solution that fits into your budget, but rather choose one that provides a return on investment. Recall the issues you identified and the cost you assigned to them, and you’ll have a good picture of the true value of a quality solution.
Questions to Ask Technology Vendors
Now that you’re clear on your needs and priorities, the problems you’re trying to solve, and the value you need to get out of a solution, start talking with vendors and evaluate them according to the criteria you’ve set.
5. Clearly communicate your priorities and needs, then ask how the solution provider will address them.
You know your needs, but not necessarily the best way to address them. Let the technology vendor describe their strategy for meeting your highest priorities. This is a great way to see what each vendor can bring to your organization and evaluate the overall fit. It will also give you creative ideas for how to tackle the needs you’ve identified.
6. How will the solution implementation affect our employees and workflows?
While implementing a new solution may change workflows, you want to keep the impact to a minimum. Ask the vendor how long the typical onboarding period might be while employees train on the new system. How will the solution improve employee’s efficiency and consistency overall? How will workflows be improved?
Also consider how the implementation will affect your IT department. How much IT engagement does the solution require? Does the vendor make the process straightforward by providing a project plan and clear communication? Ask the vendor about their experience in enterprise software implementation and request a high-level project plan.
7. What level of support does the vendor offer?
This question goes hand-in-hand with the impact on your employees. Here are a few key things to look for in a vendor’s support model:
- Do they provide dedicated project management and customer success teams?
- Do they follow structured implementation plans and timelines?
- Will they provide implementation and technical support?
- Do they provide training on the use of the solution?
8. What value can the vendor provide beyond our current needs?
When selecting a vendor, think about how else they could benefit your business in the future. Do they offer a point solution or a comprehensive platform? Are they focused on collecting specific data sets, or do they strive to connect data across different sources to give you the bigger picture? In other words, do you see growth potential with this company? Look for a partner rather than just another vendor.
9. Who else uses this solution?
Knowing who else in the industry uses the solution can help you further evaluate fit. Does this vendor work with companies similar to yours? Are they focused on the food industry, or are they generalists who sell to a variety of industries? If possible, find out the percentage of their business focused on the food industry. This can reveal a lot about company priorities.
iFoodDS delivers value for our customers with our Quality Insights solution
Our quality inspection app optimizes inspector efficiency and standardizes procedures across DCs to ensure consistent evaluation of incoming shipments. Our analytics dashboards provide insights that can drive sourcing decisions, uncover hidden quality issues, and maximize your margins.
Learn more about our Quality Insights solution by requesting a free solution sheet.