Today’s manufacturing workers are diverse, spanning generations, education, and cultures. Finding universal ways to effectively train all workers is key to maintaining quality and safety on the floor.
When it comes to food manufacturing, the pet food industry isn’t always in agreement on how to properly test and inspect pet food products. While it’s true that pets aren’t people (although some might argue with that!) it’s still critical to reduce the number of pet food recalls that have been steadily rising in recent years. Setting standardized industry guidelines that improve safety in pet food manufacturing can do much to reduce pet illnesses and fatalities due to foodborne illness.
Imagine this: your best frontline worker is promoted to floor supervisor. Yet, after weeks on the new job, juggling unfamiliar tasks such as managing former peers and dealing with compliance paperwork, they become overwhelmed. When frustration rises, they throw in the towel, leaving management scrambling to find a replacement. But what happens when the new supervisor is also underprepared?
Did you know food safety regulations here on Earth were influenced by space travel? Vickie Kloeris, who has managed NASA’s Space Shuttle and International Space Station food systems since 1989, spoke at the 2018 Alchemy Engage Conference, and shared with us a few fun facts about food systems in space.
Topics: Alchemy Engage
Protein processing may face more challenges than any other food sector. Meat and poultry account for the largest segment of U.S. agriculture, according to NAMI. With more pressures on the meat industry, it can feel like a juggling act keeping up with competing interests – animal welfare, dangerous micro-organisms, sustainability, and safety – while still meeting production goals. While it may present a challenge, it’s not impossible.
In the past, employee training mostly took place during onboarding. New hires got showered with information they were expected to retain well enough to apply correctly on the floor. Not surprisingly, this “spray and pray” method has proven less effective with time, as today’s learners experience the world visually and digitally, with one topic rapidly moving to the next.
Creating a strong culture of safety requires continual effort beyond onboarding. Several leading companies still rely on a “one and done” method of training, where the new hire receives a barrage of information during orientation, yet is expected to retain and correctly apply that information on the floor. Unfortunately, this method doesn’t always work. Just as college students are advised not to cram the night before tests, studies show people are more likely to retain information when they’re fed knowledge in short spurts over a longer period of time. Instead of showering new hires with information, training should be delivered in a slow drip. A continuous learning environment consistently leads to the best results.
Topics: Workplace Safety
Workplace safety incidents cost American companies billions each year. Are you confident your employees have the knowledge and confidence required to prevent workplace injuries 100% of the time? If not, what are some effective ways to bolster their strength?
Studies show that while knowledge is important, confidence is also necessary to taking correct action. While knowledge depends on training, confidence depends on repetition and reinforcement. The more your workers know and understand workplace safety, the more likely they are to follow it.
The popularity of variety and artisan bread has been on a steady rise for the past several years, due to consumer expectations and their growing interest in health trends. Because the process of producing variety and artisan bread differs from pan bread, training for baking professionals is paramount. David Bauman, Baking Professional for AIB International who specializes in bread and rolls, explains how learning the art of popular variety and artisan bread will help companies capture a valuable market.
Food manufacturing can be a grind… especially in milling. Yet recent wins in the industry make it all worth it. Consumers are snack-happy, so demand for savory treats, sweets, and baked goods is on the rise. Alternative flours are also ubiquitous. Thanks to the gluten-free craze, nut flours and non-traditional flours like sorghum and spelt are working their way into foods worldwide. And we can finally kiss the low-carb craze goodbye. These days, whole grains are considered essential to a healthy diet, including rice and corn, with more emphasis on nutrition rather than elimination. With the new nutritional focus comes the opportunity to add fortifications to flours and grains, which proves successful in differentiation, as well as in marketing.
Some interesting news is brewing in the beverage industry. It’s hip to be healthy, and beverage companies are rushing to add nutrition-forward options to their portfolios. Whether it’s adding value to bottled water through sparkle, flavor, or “enhancements," creating old favorites with organic ingredients, offering smaller portions, or jumping on the energy drink bandwagon — all while reducing added sugar, of course — it’s clear good health has a hold on the market.
Topics: Food Safety
Workplace injuries are common in manufacturing jobs that depend on manual labor, and they cost the food industry billions of dollars each year. Risk factors of workplace injury include exerting excessive force, performing the same tasks repetitively, and working in awkward postures — all conditions present on the floor in food manufacturing. Damage can range in scope, from minor sprains and strains, to more serious musculo-skeletal disorders (MSDs) like tendinitis or sciatica.
Topics: Workplace Safety
With foreign markets expanding, unpredictable weather patterns, and rising regulations, finding innovative ways to succeed in agriculture is more important than ever. With science of crop production becoming more sophisticated, farmers have more access to data, where they used to rely more heavily on history and intuition.
While food safety is paramount, it alone will not ensure continued sales and overall business success. The new SQF Quality Code, developed by the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) includes system elements defined in the various SQF Food Safety Codes. LeAnn Chuboff, Vice President of Technical Affairs at SQFI and Bill McBride, SQFI Regional Representative, explain the value of educating food safety professionals to ensure consistent quality standards.
The packaging industry faces unique safety and operational challenges. Between the threat of physical injury, safety hazards, sanitation issues, and expanding regulations, your frontline employees have a lot to manage. Addressing these concerns while maintaining high production levels will continue to test package manufacturing companies.