Holiday Party Hosting Tip: Get an eQMS

2017-bl-holiday-party-hosting-tip-get-an-eqms-page-imageIt’s that time of year when we get together with family and friends and enjoy holiday festivities. Sure, all the mingling and merriment of a holiday party can be fun, but organizing an event — not so much. If you happen to be the designated planner/host of your holiday soiree, you may want to consider using an electronic quality management system (eQMS).

There’s no doubt that you’re very organized, good with lists and well versed in the social graces. But any event involving a large group of people is almost guaranteed to have a few oversights and incidents that you didn’t plan for. An eQMS can keep you and your guests on the same page, aware of every detail and possibly inclined to continue speaking to one another after the event. Below are just a few of the party planning tasks that can go much smoother with an eQMS.

Make managing documents manageable

Whenever there are parties, there will be information and documents to manage. You have guest lists, contact lists, menus, food assignments, invitations, activity instructions, a reminder to get the car serviced, etc. The thing is, all your data is likely scattered across multiple locations. Your contacts are in your phone, your guest list and food assignment might be in a spreadsheet, game instructions are in a document file and the menu is written down on a napkin somewhere. Tracking and updating data stored in various locations is like the home version of whack-a-mole.

With your eQMS document management system, all of your lists, email addresses, menus, trendy recipes, decoration theme ideas, dry cleaning ticket, etc. are in one place. You can quickly find, retrieve and revise any information without having to remember where you stored it in the first place. If only it was that easy to find car keys and the TV remote. When you’re ready to distribute information to guests, you have all the party details, current contact information and metadata you need in front of you to create multiple emails or texts — personalized for each recipient.

Keep party guests "in the know" in real time

If you have teenagers you know how much they “enjoy” being interrogated by every single guest at your party ... How’s school going? Are you dating anyone? What movies have you seen? Have you thought much about life insurance?

Your teenagers might be more motivated to make an appearance at the party if they can avoid being cross examined. Your eQMS eliminates the need for awkward small talk. Your kids can simply tap out their canned responses and accompanying emojis on their phones and upload them to your document repository. Using their mobile devices, your guests can retrieve up-to-the-minute information about all of your teenagers’ happenings:

  • School is still going, at least it was yesterday.
  • No, I’m not dating anyone.
  • No, I do not want to be set up with your neighbor.
  • I have no idea what type of career I want. I’m hoping for something that involves listening to music and playing on my phone.

Correct, better yet, prevent incidents 

Social events often include a potluck meal, which in itself is an FDA draft guidance waiting to happen. Potluck meals usually involve multiple people spread out across a variety of kitchens and any number of different opinions on sanitary food preparation. One pot luck meal could rack up more food safety violations than there are selfies taken at Comic Con. Under these circumstances, you want the ability to audit all food-related processes to ensure that quality and safety best practices are followed by everyone.

The CAPA functionality in your eQMS helps track and mitigate quality events before they escalate into a corrective action—such as a trip to the emergency room to treat a foodborne illness. All guests bringing food to your party can have a real-time view of all the food preparation best practices and CAPA processes from their own kitchen. For example, you might discover that the container of guacamole you pulled from the fridge was actually cottage cheese in a past life and should probably not be used in the salad. You can immediately route a CAPA form to all food preparers reminding them to proactively check food coloration and expiration dates. 

Know your suppliers

The supplier management functionality in your holiday party eQMS can be very handy when you’re making food assignments. A supplier management tool automatically tracks and stores a detailed history of all your guests and their approach to potluck etiquette.

When you’re planning the menu, your eQMS can reveal critical, party-impacting data, such as:

  • Who has been known to bring a kale salad to parties.
  • Who routinely eats half of their potluck dish before they arrive.
  • Who tends to just bring leftovers from the restaurant they dined at a few days before, regardless of what they were asked to bring.

Holiday gatherings should be joyous, fun and free of the need for pain reliever. If you’re accustomed to starting your party planning several months in advance, yet still have last-minute issues that can turn the event into a storyline for a sitcom, an eQMS is highly recommended.

2016-nl-bl-author-david-jensen David Jensen is a marketing communication specialist at MasterControl. He has been writing technical, marketing and public relations content in technology, professional development, business and regulated environments for more than two decades. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Weber State University and a master’s degree in professional communication from Westminster College.

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