Do No Harm AND Protect Your Brand
In the news every week, there are product recalls and headlines about harm being done to consumers. With the advent and explosion of social media, consumers are much more connected and aware of what’s happening in the food safety arena than ever before. Social media has increased the visibility and speed of communication of a recall, thereby increasing pressure to prevent or contain an issue before it extends beyond the manufacturing walls.
Recalls can have long-lasting and far-reaching ramifications. For example, according to AMR Research, April 2009, “When a category has a recall, 57 percent of consumers stop buying the affected product for at least a year.” And that was almost five years ago – I wonder how increased social media avenues and usage would affect this number today!
At our food safety roundtable we held in April, one of our food manufacturing customers was speaking to the peanut butter issues that occurred at Peanut Corporation of America and how the overall industry was affected. He mentioned that in the eyes of their consumers they were “guilty by association,” even though NONE of their products were directly linked to the massive recalls in 2008 and 2009. That is huge. This isn’t an issue for a handful of producers – it is an industry-wide imperative.
But how do food manufacturers protect their consumers and their brands? Ultimately, the key focus needs to be mitigating issues within the four walls of the plant by taking a holistic approach to food safety that delivers real-time operational data and insights to improve efficiency, quality and productivity. By having real-time visibility to critical process information and data in context, manufacturers can be more proactive versus reactive.
As a former plant manager, having the right information in the right context when I needed it was a real challenge. Sifting through mounds of paperwork to find a specific lot number of a raw material to determine when it arrived in the plant reduced the speed to the resolution of the issue.
I believe that the timing is right for the food industry to undergo a significant transformation to improve food safety—protecting our families, our friends, and the people we care about and building a safer, more profitable food production environment. In essence, that means “do no harm” to consumers AND your brand.
Come and visit the Food Safety Summit Resource Center at PACK EXPO in Las Vegas, September 23-25 to learn more about how GE Intelligent Platforms is enabling food manufacturers to Do No Harm.