Grain Quality, Materials Handling

Quality Management Systems for Bulk Materials Handling Operations

GEAPS Online Learning courses are available anytime on-demand. Each course takes approximately 10 hours to complete and can be completed at any pace over five weeks. Courses must be completed within a five-week period that begins the day you register. After registering, learners will be sent a confirmation email, then you’re ready to start learning!  


$495 for members
$795 for non-members.  

Course Description: This course will outline strategies for the creation, implementation, management and evaluation of quality management systems in the grain handling industry. Students will be introduced to the structure, format and characteristics of quality management systems in a bulk handling scenario.

Course Goals: The objective of this course is to introduce students to quality management systems as they are used in agricultural storage environments and provide strategies for integrating these systems into standard operating procedures and normal business activities. Upon completion, students will be able to do a basic quality analysis of their operation and identify points where physical quality or economics are impacted. They will have the skills to create their own food safety plan and develop a quality management system.

Target Audience: This course is designed for grain handling professionals interested in creating and implementing a food-safety plan and quality management system at their facilities. It is intended for regional and location managers and supervisors, as well as executives with company-wide responsibilities.


Dr. Charles Hurburgh  Iowa State UniversitySee Bio

Dr. Hurburgh has a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Science and a doctorate degree from ISU, and specializes in quality management systems with related traceability, measurement and sensor technologies. He is the author of more than 250 technical and general articles on grain quality, measurement science and grain marketing. He also manages the ISU Grain Quality Research Laboratory and the extension-based Iowa Grain Quality Initiative and is on the planning committee for the GEAPS International Center for Grain Operations and Processing.

Dr. Angela Laury-Shaw  Iowa State University See Bio

Dr. Angela Laury-Shaw is an assistant professor of food safety at ISU in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. At ISU, her research and extension focus on the development of intervention strategies to control and prevent pathogens (E.Coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Listeria Monocytogenes, Staphylococcus) within the farm and manufacturing settings.

Dr. Gretchen Mosher  Iowa State UniversitySee Bio

Dr. Gretchen Mosher is an assistant professor and student services coordinator at ISU, specializing in food system safety, particularly as it relates to agricultural commodity and specialty crop supply chains. She earned a bachelor’s degree in food science and a master’s degree in education at ISU. Her research focuses on factors influencing employee decision making in the country grain elevator. Other research interests include the use and implementation of quality management systems in the grain handling industry.

The Course of Study

Week 1Details

Lecture 1 – Quality Management System Structure in Bulk Handling/Processing Scenarios
This lecture will introduce students to the components and potential benefits of quality management systems in the grain elevator environment and to give examples of existing quality management systems. It will provide an introduction to Quality Management Systems (QMS), give them potential benefits of QMS within the grain elevator setting, offer examples of a QMS and its purpose and goals and provide major events which have encouraged the increased use of QMS with commodity products.
Lecturer: Dr. Charles Hurburgh

Lecture 2 – Quality Management System Format and Organization
This lecture provides an overview of the format and the process of developing and organizing a QMS. Students will learn about the benefits a QMS in a grain handling scenario, the basic development of a QMS, the considerations when choosing a quality system, identifying areas of measurement, personnel considerations during implementation and how to continually review their quality system.
Lecturer: Dr. Charles Hurburgh

Week 2Details

Lecture 3 – Data Management, Statistical Control and Continuous Improvement
This lecture will discuss how data is managed in a grain handling environment and how statistical controls can be used to both manage data collected during daily operations and in the continuous improvement process. By the completion of this lecture, students will be able to handle the challenges which complicate the management of grain, and know the benefits of improved data management and data collection opportunities within daily operations, the role of a QMS in employee training, the basics of product and function documentation and how to use statistical processes in continuous improvement.
Lecturer: Dr. Charles Hurburgh

Lecture 4 – Quality Management System’s Role in Biosecurity Regulations
This lecture will cover the difference between regulatory and market-based traceability requirements and summarize the regulations of the Bioterrorism Act of 2002 and its impact on grain handling operations. The lecture will touch on several main topics including the importance of grain elevator security, why traceability is important for grain handlers, the definitions and requirements from the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, procedures to address legislative requirements and market and regulatory based traceability.
Lecturer: Dr. Gretchen Mosher

Week 3Details

Lecture 5 – Quality System Framework: An Introduction to ISO 9001 and 22000
In this lecture students will become familiar with the ISO 9001 and 22000 global quality standards, which are used in creating and designing quality management systems and their application to U.S. grain systems. Students will be able to describe the role of quality standards in grain handling, learn the major components of an ISO-based quality system and why ISO-based quality systems are well suited for grain handlers and track the development of an ISO-based QMS.
Lecturer: Dr. Gretchen Mosher

Lecture 6 – Quality Management System Role in Inventory Management
This lecture will familiarize students with the importance of inventory management and describe how QMS can address several inventory management issues. Main topics include the risks of storing inventory, the challenges of inventory management with grain, using QMS principles with inventory management, collecting data and using statistical process control and the interpretation and use of quality control data.
Lecturer: Dr. Charles Hurburgh

Week 4Details

Lecture 7 – Not Just Quality: Integrating QMS with Other Operational Priorities
By the end of this lecture, students will be able to connect quality management with other operational goals, know the role of a QMS in safety, security, customer service and other business risks and integrate operational data to meet business and regulatory needs. Topics such as organizational concerns and how to address leveraging a QMS, how to integrate a QMS into other operational programs and how a QMS can be used to manage liabilities within grain handling organizations will be covered.
Lecturer: Dr. Gretchen Mosher

Lecture 8 – Cost-Benefit Analysis and Evaluation of the QMS
The purpose of this lecture is to introduce students to quality indicators and organizational improvements that can be used to measure costs and benefits of a QMS and to evaluate the effectiveness of a quality system. Students will learn about the reasons to evaluate a QMS, methods for determining costs and benefits, collection and analysis of data, using the audit process to evaluate effectiveness and management review as an evaluative process.
Lecturer: Dr. Gretchen Mosher

Week 5Details

Lecture 9 – Food Safety and the Bulk Grain Industry
This lecture will provide an understanding of why food safety is a concern and discuss the components of a food safety plan. It will give steps to creating a food safety plan and an example of a plan, record keeping system and possible recall plan. Current food safety risks, food safety culture, the new American regulation and components of a food safety plan including common hazards, traceability and transportation will be covered.
Lecturer: Dr. Angela Laury-Shaw

Lecture 10 – Developing a Quality Management System in a Grain Elevator Setting
This lecture will help students begin the process of developing and implementing a QMS using the previous lectures and a case study as guides. Students will develop their own QMS as a final assignment.
Lecturer: Dr. Gretchen Mosher