Vulnerability Assessment Helper Spreadsheet – Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
What happens if I can’t complete all the questions?
To get a result you need to enter a very small amount of basic information about the product or product group that is being assessed and the name of at least one ingredient. If your information is very patchy the helper will calculate a high vulnerability rating. However it is possible to supplement the calculated rating with your own estimate if desired. This means that if you already think that a particular raw material, ingredient or supplier is very low risk you may choose to simply enter its name and your best estimate of risk instead of completing all the data fields. This will allow you to prioritise your time for important raw materials, ingredients or suppliers.
Why is the Vulnerability Assessment Helper an Excel spreadsheet instead of specialised software?
The helper was created for Quality Assurance Mangers and HACCP Managers to use. It was created with Microsoft Excel because most of its intended users are familiar with excel and so can begin entering data as soon as they open the spreadsheet, with no special training. Data can be copied, pasted, sorted, searched and manipulated just as you would in any spreadsheet and results can be easily extracted for use in other documents. Blank and completed spreadsheets can and should be incorporated into a company’s controlled documents and record-keeping system and Microsoft Excel files are usually suitable for this purpose.
The tabular format of the data entry pages allows users to have a ‘whole picture’ visual understanding of the data that has been entered and the gaps that need to be filled. Other types of software such as questionnaire-style assessments do not provide a visual overview and require information to be entered in a defined series of steps which can be frustrating. Within the tables of the Vulnerability Assessment Helper, colour-coding functions provide instant feedback about whether an answer affects vulnerability in a positive or negative way, which can be a valuable learning tool.
How many raw materials can be accommodated?
Each copy of the spreadsheet can accommodate 60 raw materials or ingredients and up to five suppliers for each raw material, to a total of 300 suppliers. If you have more than 60 raw materials for your chosen product group you may wish to split your product group into smaller sections to reduce the complexity.
What if I have more than five suppliers for one of my materials?
You may wish to group similar suppliers together for the first round of assessments or you may need to create a second raw material listing to accommodate the extra suppliers. Performing a full assessment of every supplier is optional and the tool will calculate results without full supplier results. You may wish to start by concentrating only on suppliers of very vulnerable ingredients or you may wish to focus on suppliers that appear likely to be high risk when you first start. The Vulnerability Assessment Helper will allow you to remove previously entered data or backtrack at any time. You can also go back later and update entries as more information comes to hand.
Can I copy the results into my own spreadsheet or other document?
Yes. The data that you enter can be copied, pasted, sorted and manipulated as in any spreadsheet. When copying from the helper use ‘paste special – values’, which will avoid pasting formulas that might return error values in a different document.
Do I have to purchase a new spreadsheet for each product group?
You may make as many copies of this spreadsheet as you need for ONE food business in one manufacturing location. You may not share it with other food businesses or take it when you change jobs. For complete terms and conditions click here.
Is there a telephone number I can call for help and support with the tool?
Real-time support is coming soon. Until then, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your query, including your preferred contact details and geographical location (for time zone purposes). We will contact you by telephone or Skype or email an answer to you.
Can I have access to the formulas that generate the results?
If you disagree with the results generated for your product or any of its ingredients or suppliers the helper allows you to override them, although the calculated results will still be displayed as a reminder of any discrepancy. If you think the methodology, including the risk calculations should be amended or you think there is an error in any formula please contact us. We want the Vulnerability Assessment Helper to be the best that it can and value your feedback.
Want to buy an unlocked version that is fully customisable? Request a quote here.
Why can’t I manually change the results in the summary risk assessment table or in the risk matrix (Results page)?
The Vulnerability Assessment Helper calculates results based on the information entered, however it is possible to supplement the calculated rating for each product group, raw material, ingredient and supplier with your own estimate. You are encouraged to use the information collected and entered in the Vulnerability Assessment Helper to estimate your own vulnerability ratings. User ratings are reported in the summary tables and risk matrix if they have been entered; otherwise the calculated results are used.
The likelihood element of the summary risk assessment (the blue or grey box on ‘Summary’ page) is based on the results of all the raw materials combined. If you wish to change the likelihood element in the summary table or in the matrix, you will need to add a user vulnerability rating for each raw material or change the user vulnerability rating for the majority of raw materials on the Raw Materials sheet. If you wish to change the severity element in the summary table or in the matrix you will need to change the user rating of consequences (severity) for the product group on the Product Group sheet.
My security settings will not allow me to run macros, is this a problem?
No problem; the Vulnerability Assessment Helper has been created without macros to keep things safe and secure and to prevent headaches with your internal IT systems.
I only have Microsoft Excel 1997 – 2003, will this be a problem?
No problem; there is a Lite version of the Vulnerability Assessment Helper which comes free with every purchase of the spreadsheet. For more information about compatibility, click here.
Can I get a tax receipt?
Australian purchasers receive a tax invoice for GST purposes in their confirmation email. Purchasers in other countries are not charged any tax but receive an itemised purchase receipt in their confirmation email.