Food Processing Industry

Indian Food and Grocery market is the sixth largest in the world. The food processing industry in the country accounts for 32% of total food market. The industry is the 5th largest in India in terms of production, consumption, exports and growth. The sector is expected to attract foreign direct investment of over $33 bn over the next decade and produce 9 million new jobs.

As a result, the existing players have experienced exponential growth leading to multi business, multi location expansion. This growth has resulted in greater complexity in compliance management and day to day challenges in assurance and governance management.

Our Client

Our Client is a leading manufacturer of pickles, instant mixes, blended spices, ketchups and sauces amongst various other varieties. The company is geographically spread with 2 offices and 4 manufacturing plants located in Western and North-Eastern part of India. They employ over 1,000 employees including contract employees.

They have state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities including microbial, and quality control labs certified with hi-tech automation by ISO and HACCP.

The client has domestic and international operations with exports to countries like France, Australia, South Africa and Malaysia.

Our Client has a complex business environment leading to a complex compliance program. They had a compliance officer who was playing a dual role of a company secretary as well. The compliance officer was facing a number of challenges on a day to day basis. Here are a few of them:

  • Not sure about Applicable Acts and Compliances
  • Not receiving timely and relevant Legal Updates
  • High amounts of Penalties and interest expenses on account of delays
  • Lot of time spent on getting status of compliances across the company
  • Missed compliances on account of human errors
  • Poor awareness of risks arising out of non-compliance among stakeholders

Our client needed a solution which could help them improve day to day tracking and visibility into their compliances. An ideal solution would help them bring greater control and transparency. They wanted a cloud hosted solution which was quick to implement and did not need any further technology investments.

Avantis Engagement

Avantis engaged with the client in January 2017. A team of subject matter experts was constituted to work with the Compliance officer. The team spent one week at their headquarters based in western india and interviewed their leadership to understand their business and requirements better.

The implementation of AVACOM (Avantis Compliance Automation Solution) was initiated in February, 2017.

Phase 1 - Business Discovery

This phase of the project focussed on understanding their business to establish the applicability of Acts and Compliances. Comprehensive information was collected via in-person interviews / meetings / discussions with the management, individual department heads, and other representatives in the company. The following items were collated:

  • Business Set up (Group, Entities, Locations, clients, number and nature of establishments, Industry, export)
  • Products (Type of Products)
  • Equipment & Machines
  • Internal Compliances

Phase 2 - Compliance Applicability Assessment

Avantis identified several hoists, lifts, weighing equipment, packaging machines, vessels, mixers, grinders, pressure vessels, gas cylinders among others. These equipments were located in various plants based in different states leading to applicability of different Acts and Compliances.

Our Client was a private limited company and a number of secretarial events and other non secretarial events were also applicable. They had 2 offices and 4 factories and hence Shops & Establishment Act and Factories Act became applicable.

The team identified over 75 applicable Acts with over 3,000 applicable compliances including time based and on-going compliances. An additional 550 event-based compliances were also found applicable.

Over a hundred licenses, registrations, permissions, consent orders, approvals were identified.

Our client was a key player in the food processing industry. As a result, FSSAI and allied packaging compliances were critical. A deep dive was conducted during the assessment.

A gap assessment was done and it uncovered several critical gaps between statutory requirement and actual requirements which were to be met by the company.

Phase 3- Implementation

This phase is the most critical phase of the project. During this phase, Avantis assigned a 3 member team of subject matter experts to work with the client’s project team. This phase lasted about 2 weeks during which the following items were accomplished:

  • Map the Client Organisation (Group, Entities, Sub-Entities, Locations, Departments)
  • Review of identified applicable Acts and Compliances with respective department heads
  • Discussion on identified gaps with department heads and compliance head
  • Mapping of Compliances to specific users along with their roles
  • Hands on training sessions with user groups based on their locations and roles
  • Activation of system for a predetermined go-live date

The client was keen to leverage IOS and Android based mobile Apps to stay on top of their compliance. Our team helped them download the app and securely sign in and start using. A total of 45 users were identified across the organisation mapped to performer, reviewer, approver and management roles.

In Conclusion

It has been over two years since the client has been actively using the system. The users leverage chat based support as required. There are multiple review meetings with the compliance officer every year. Avantis has conducted additional training sessions for newly inducted staff on need basis.

Today, the client has migrated from an ad-hoc, people dependent and paper based predictable, process based and digital compliance program. The Compliance officer is enabled with real time dashboards. This has enabled him to improve on time performance dramatically. The penalties have gone down across the company. Missed compliances have almost disappeared. There is a cultural shift within the company and key stakeholders have started a compliance program to appreciating the importance of timely and accurate compliances.

Project Highlights