Migrating temperature logs from pencil and pad into a digital format greatly enhances the accuracy of these logs. The benefits of a digital thermometer such as http://www.freshtemp.com/smart-food-probe/ are well understood. However, many establishments still use paper-based logs to capture this digital data. Traditional paper-based logs record information that is hard to read, easy to manipulate, and prone to human error. This makes the transcription of data the weak link in the quality chain. In contrast, digital temperature logs automate the recording process, eliminating human error, and they also provide accurate answers to 3 important questions: Who? What? When? Most managers who have been responsible for maintaining paper-based logs would have difficulty answering those 3 confidently. Let’s see how this can be done.
Who: Automate Reponsibility
It is important to know who took specific measurements. This can be useful in situations where an out of range measurement needs to be traced back to its root cause, or in identifying systematic difference in temperature logs between staff members. This can be a difficult chore with conventional methods, but becomes easy with a system such as FreshCloud™ (http://www.freshtemp.com/freshcloud/). With FreshCloud™, a store general manager defines who is authorized to take temperature measurements, and each authorized staff member is given a unique ID, as shown in figure 1 below.
What: Insure the Correct Item Is at the Correct Temperature
A temperature log is only as good as the data that is input into it. FreshCloud™ has incorporated several features that assist the operator in making correct measurements. The mobile app provides visual cues about what should be measured, what temperature range is required, and confirms that the measurement was taken in range (figure 2). Simple graphics such as a green check for an in range measurement and a red “x” for an out of range measurement empower the employee to take proactive action, rather than just passively record a measurement.
A store owner, or general manager, has control over the visual cue that is provided on the mobile app, as well as the required temperature range. This can be controlled through a simple web-interface accessible from any internet connected computer or smart device (figure 3). This allows a store to uniquely configure their system, or a multi-site owner to enforce a consistent configuration across all their locations.
When: Insure Measurements Are Taken When They Should Be
Perhaps the biggest uncertainty with paper-based logs is that there is no verification that temperatures were actually taken at the time recorded. The process of dry labbing, where logs are filled out, and sometimes with false data, at the end of a shift is a known problem in the industry. FreshCloud™ provides three protections against inaccurate measurement times. First, every measurement is electronically timestamped, at the time of measurement. This eliminates any doubt about when a measurement was performed. Second, since the logs are uploaded securely to the Cloud, they can’t be modified by employees at a later time. Third, FreshCloud™ has an automated alert system that notifies managers if measurements are past due. This easy configuration is show in figure 4. This feature is very powerful for managers of remote locations. You receive notification that a measurement has not been taken, and can proactively take corrective action. Taken together, these two features not only increase the accuracy of temperature logs, but also improve the consistency of temperatures being taken at the correct time.