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quality assurance

What's the true cost of contamination? Solving the people challenge of QA

The recent 5-day closure of the world’s largest hazelnut spread factory due to quality issues highlights one of the key risks facing food and beverage companies. Considering that normal production at the affected plant is 600,000 jars a day, the shutdown serves as a very costly reminder for food processing companies to stay vigilant when it comes to quality. 

It’s not only about the revenue impact, which is significant at upwards of $2M dollars. Even more damaging is the impact on brand image. 

The problem isn’t theirs alone. It underscores a dilemma for food and beverage processors across the globe. Do you have a button-down QA process that catches risks before they become major issues, and before they reach your customer?

As the need to improve operational efficiency tightens, your QA eye cannot blink when it comes to health, safety, and brand integrity. What if you could identify your blind spots and achieve clean production changeovers without compromising product or operating margin? 

A common blind spot for many operations is people, and human factors are a key element of the risks faced by food processing companies. Having good procedures in place is one thing, but whether they are followed on the floor is another. This unknown represents a quality and food safety risk and without an effective system for measuring adherence, most companies don’t have an accurate read on their risk exposure. 

Proudfoot solves the people challenge of de-risking food and beverage operations. Recently, we worked with a major food producer that was seeking to maintain their food safety compliance while increasing their plant’s throughput. They were struggling with excessive machine downtime from inefficient sanitation processes which was contributing to their larger issue of reduced operating margin. 

After identifying that sanitation procedures weren’t being followed correctly, we engaged their people to transform behaviors and drive sustainable improvements in performance.

We developed a heads-up leadership model that established KPIs to hold people accountable for end-of-shift results, job aids, and audit tools to sustain behaviors, and systems for continuous improvement.

The result was better and more consistent worker adherence to sanitation procedures, which translated to reduced risk of contamination issues. 

Not only did we solve their health and safety challenges, Proudfoot unlocked potential across their entire operation. We aligned people and processes at every stage of production, eliminated unnecessary time-consuming tasks and rework, and optimized the sequence of their production runs to dramatically reduce downtime. 

New procedures aligned with behaviors propelled the rapid savings of $4.1 million and increased throughput, resulting in the plant producing 7.5 million more pounds than the client’s original goal. Our complete overhaul of sanitation operations saved the client 19 hours a week in changeover time and reduced the amount of downtime by 20%. 

How much would a similar improvement in performance translate to EBITDA for you? 

To explore ways to reduce your risk of regulatory fines or shutdowns and improve performance in all facets of your operation, reach out to us today. We can quickly identify the root cause of your problems, implement an effective solution, and put control plans in place so that improvements are maintained.


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