Just four months after introducing its six-part website, OU Direct, with the slogan “Managing your account has never been simpler,” the Orthodox Union Kosher Division announced today that the one thousandth user has logged into the system, which was designed to simplify financial contacts between the OU and the companies it certifies, as well as to facilitate the kosher certification process itself.
With this milestone in place, the OU has also announced a series of upgrades, based on feedback from website users, which has resulted in what can be considered a second-generation of OU Direct.
OU companies are issued a user name and password to enable them to log into the system, http://www.oudirect.org; use of the website is free.
“We were successful in our pursuit of a commitment to our clients to provide vast quantities of information as well as a variety of interactive services in a user-friendly environment,” declared Rabbi Moshe Elefant, Chief Operating Officer of OU Kosher. “We are grateful for the positive feedback we received from numerous clients as well as their constructive suggestions for additional features.”
As originally established, OU Direct included the following components:
· The Universal Kosher Database, which contains hundreds of thousands of ingredients certified by the OU and other participating kosher certifying agencies; the ingredients can be used for kosher production, thus eliminating the task of providing letters as proof of the kashrut status of the product;
· Customizing and printing by clients of their own LOCs (Letters of Certification);
· Access to forms and applications (for products, ingredients, private labels, etc.);
· Ability to download the famed OU symbol in various sizes to place on product labels; and
· Ability of clients to view their financial digest and to print their invoices.
According to Rabbi Elefant, the response from clients resulted in improvement in some areas as well as new features. “OU customers will now have access to their Schedules A and B (ingredients and products listings, respectively), which they can print in PDF file or Excel format. They will also have the ability to delegate customized log-in rights to additional company staff in addition to the assigned ‘Customer Administrator.’”
Why the OU Could Develop OU Direct
Rabbi Elefant explained, “As the world’s largest and most respected kosher certification agency, the Orthodox Union must keep abreast of the latest technologies and incorporate them and implement them in its operations. A great deal of time, effort and resources went into the development and design of OU Direct. Only an organization with the strengths of OU Kosher can take such a major technological step, while at the same maintaining the highest standards of kashrut supervision across the continents.”
“Halacha (Jewish law) is immutable, technology is not,” Rabbi Elefant continued. “The combination of the two, on behalf of the kosher consumer and the companies who serve them, is the key to the worldwide success of OU Kosher.”