Food Safety: Will it be the ball that drops?

robot jugglingAlthough I’m not an avid juggler, I understand that having more balls in the air increases the chance that one will drop.  The same can be said for operators working on the production floor.  Increasingly, food manufacturers are looking to their workforce to wear many hats and inherently, juggle more balls…performing productivity and downtime reporting, quality checks and food safety checks, just to name a few.

One thing to be cognizant of is illustrated very clearly in this example.  Recently, I was speaking with one of our customers, a large North American Brewer that mentioned that over the years the manufacturing systems it has implemented to monitor and analyze its processes have been designed for managers and NOT operators in real time.  Again, as operators are asked to do more and more, it is increasingly important to keep the end-user in mind.

The centerpiece of any good safety and quality program is standardizing processes and procedures.  By digitizing standard operating procedures and work processes, manufacturers can take the guess work and the variability out of day-to-day operator tasks.  By automating procedures and alarming proactively, operators can take action as fast as possible.  Automated checks that replace static paper trails or binders at workstations can help eliminate holes in the data.  If an operator is focused on troubleshooting a downtime event or a break in a production process, in a paper-only world, the question arises: are they ALWAYS completing that HACCP check in a timely fashion?

Understandably, operators WANT to do the right thing, but through automation, manufacturers can make it easier for them to actually complete tasks as required and expected.

So, are ALL of your operators expert jugglers?  What’s keeping you from automating and allowing them to keep all the balls in the air?

Katie Moore

Katie Moore believes that brilliant manufacturing will transform the industry, giving early adopters of connected technology a lead in the competitive marketplace. A former plant manager, Katie has managed plant operations for Bimbo Bakeries USA, Sara Lee Corporation and Anheuser-Busch.

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