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Improving Productivity in the Food Industry

Among the basic needs of humans, food is, without a doubt, the most important. It is essential to consistently have a sufficient supply of food and therefore, imperative for existing food industries to improve productivity.

How is this achieved? It is simple: Invest in training.  Yes training. A trained work force gives companies the competitive edge and the ability to keep prices competitive. Training should include:

  • Quality control and using the correct receipts and Standard Operating Procedures
  • Waste reduction and the efficient use of resources
  • Mapping the process of their jobs and uncovering bottle necks in the processes
  • Brainstorming and how to use multiple quality tools to solve problems and, as a result, to increase the bottom line.
  • Rules and regulations that govern the food industry (FSANZ 1992 and Food Safety Act 1984)
  • Why, when and how to use Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)

Workers should understand that the purpose of Productivity Improvement is to achieve higher levels of output while consuming the same or lesser amounts of input resources.  Working together as a team and getting involved needs to be encouraged. Inform the workers on what the key Performance Indicators are and get them involved in the measurement. They need to know that when you measure something, only then you can see whether there is an improvement or not.

For productivity to improve, improvements must be a continuous process on a continuous basis. Many organizations have found that Edward C. Deming's process management cycle is useful: Plan-do-check-act or PDCA.

Capital investment of course, is necessary and to keep updated with technology would save time and money. Such investment needs to be budgeted for and must have an acceptable payback period. Over many years, we have seen that most of the fast food giants have invested heavily in training, technology and machinery to increase productivity.

Among other things, we need to allow for different work styles, empower our staff to take on more responsibilities and to equip our people with the tools to do their jobs more effectively.

The biggest impact of food productivity would come from a rigorous continuous training, control over food safety and quality, and the investment in new technologies.  


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Author: Danny Jaimangal

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