Training & Tailgate meetingsWe often describe training as the best investment you can make with your food safety dollar. Yes, purchasing the right equipment and software are important, but more often than not, food safety issues come down to human error. This is where regular, scheduled training comes in. Whether a large group discussion, a small pre-shift tailgate meeting, or on-the-job training, making sure your staff understand and are able to demonstrate proper food safety techniques is vital. Don’t wait until people make an error to re-train them; talk about procedures early, and often. If the cost of training alarms you, just keep in mind the cost of a multi-million-dollar recall. And don’t forget that food safety is everyone’s job!
See for YourselfIt’s funny how old things become new again. Over the years, management has evolved from plant floor supervision into endless meetings, computers, and smartphones. In contrast to current techniques, popular leadership and management gurus advocate the value of intentionally spending time on the production floor, monitoring processes and gaining face to face time with employees. In the Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma programs, this is called the “gemba walk”, derived from the Japanese term “gembutsu”, which means “real thing”. The idea is simply to be present and observant, without specific intent to find fault. See this as an opportunity to drive higher employee morale through better communication, consideration, and understanding, all the while reinforcing the company’s Food Safety Culture.
Internal auditsInternal audits are more than just a GMP inspection or a quick facility walk-through. The intent of an internal audit is to evaluate and reinforce all of a company’s procedures and processes, including reviewing maintenance programs, evaluating document control, interviewing employees to ensure comprehension, and detailed review of records. If done well, internal audits find gaps in your system, improve efficiencies, create better communication, and drive buy-in from employees, all of which will help you help you get through your busy season with less mistakes.If you or members of your team haven’t yet received internal auditor training or other food safety training, be sure to check out our upcoming courses!
Strategic, Intentional MeetingsManagement’s time is limited. With countless meetings, emails, phone calls, and the like all vying for our time, the importance of strategic management meetings cannot be understated. Make sure that food safety issues are discussed regularly by being integrated into standing management meetings, or as separate dedicated meeting. Either way, there should be goals or KPIs (“Key Process Indicators”) established by management for key food safety and quality parameters, such as first-pass quality and customer complaints. Well-crafted goals will ensure that meetings happen efficiently and propel a company forward. Ask your team, “What will have the best long-term impact on our organization?”If you’re responsible for coordinating these meetings, be efficient.Here’s a great article on how to run one. Here’s a few tips:
- Communicate in advance
- Be clear
- Takes notes and track progress to ensure resolution