We never thought particularly about buying in to one of the auditing and inspection products that are available, mostly because as an SME with very varied needs the cost would have been comparatively expensive in comparison.

Instead we made a gradual shift, moving our data from spreadsheets to databases first in order to make report production simpler, before eventually making those databases responsible for producing the reports themselves.

We did not really think of it as building a Platform in particular, we were simply generating efficiency and moving our reporting online.  We've always tried to be strong with data and report presentation, no matter how they are produced, and this was just a natural progression.  It was the same quality inspection reports, giving the same food quality data, but presented online.

 kernelfood reporting data on food qualityAs we have always asked our clients to tell us what they need in their reporting following each inspection, and as we continued to do that while moving the whole system online, it has actually allowed our clients themselves to receive a completely bespoke set of online reporting.  In other words, there isn’t really an FSL Reporting Platform.  We actually have one for every individual client we work for.  That would certainly have been difficult to achieve via someone else’s product.

During the same period, we have also been fortunate to experience some strong growth, so we now carry out more inspections, at more locations on more food products and food premises than ever before.  Here is our online reporting in numbers:

  • We are generating 40,000 rows of data from our inspections every month
  • There are 350 registered users of the system, accessing their data when they need it
  • They visit between them, 70,000 pages each month
  • They are visiting from 21 different countries
  • We are sending 9,000 emails via our reporting system every month, sharing data and information with the right people

We had not truly considered the growth in our data management over recent years, it was simply something we were getting on with, rather than making grand plans about, but clearly we are now the owners of a Platform, no matter what we think.  

That, of course means that we are making plans for it, undergoing a redesign, a rebrand of the whole system, we are laying out the first briefing documents for our inspection App, having planning meetings about servers and real-time backups, and of course ensuring the compliance of our data management and protection systems.  In short, we are doing all of the things you would expect from a software company.

After 25 years running an inspection company that has been an interesting discovery, and proves you should never be too certain what you do.  It always pays to pause and take a look at what you and your team spend your time actually doing, as it may present an opportunity.