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#1 Simon

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:08 PM

Can't get buy in, trying to do everything yourself, too many actions, can't solve a problem, can't get motivated, swamped by paperwork, demanding customers, endless questionnaires.

As the saying goes a problem shared is a problem halved...so what's your biggest challenge right now?

 

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#2 cerving

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:33 PM

All of the above, LOL!  I think one of our biggest challenges is training and reinforcing the training with employees.  Most of our produciton staff speak Spanish, and understand only little English.  I have translated our training into Spanish, but even with an interpreter, I feel that they are not understanding the policies and processes.


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#3 scppvjune

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 02:22 AM

Human is the most challenging topic.  The more human involved, the more problems found.  Many problems related to human - lack of good awareness, lack of good acknowledgement, lack of good self discipline, misunderstanding, misinterpretation, ignorance, and so on.  Sometimes, it is hard to control and think of the handling methods due to the policies and procedures are available, trainings are properly provided, but just a few wrong doers can creat a troubles again and again.  


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#4 bacon

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 03:20 AM

I'm a stickler, I hear the issues above and they are absolutely legitimate. But, bang-for-your-buck, I see the VAST majority of problems for Food Safety Management Systems stem from the lack of Senior Management Support...the allocator of resources.

 

That is what I am seeing with the mid-sized companies on this side of the pond (US).

 

I could go on-and-on... so I will not... perhaps that is changing, but I don't really see it.

Any takers on this?


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#5 SusanC

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 05:42 AM

I have the same problem, lack of senior management commitment. They think the rules are for the staff and they are exempt, however the staff don't see why they should comply because senior management dont


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#6 cazyncymru

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 08:04 AM

Just getting through the day!

 

I fear my comments aren't going to be popular, but this IS my experience.

 

I don't mean to be insulting here, but some of the technologists and QM's that I have to deal with either don't have the basic knowledge, or their too lazy to find out! I find it totally frustrating that I have to waste my time to explain basic stuff.

 

I'm an advocate of promoting someone from within, and spending time to formally educate them, rather employing someone who is formally educated and has no experience.

 

I'm very lucky in that I have total buy in from our MD (who's ex-technical) and my Operations Manager (ex-technical) so I have very few issues with regards to resources etc.

 

Caz


Edited by cazyncymru, 06 September 2013 - 08:04 AM.

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#7 scppvjune

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 08:37 AM

Agree about senior commitment.  It is human anyway.  I also experienced key management smoking in the office while informed me that their facility is "non-smoking facility".  Another I experienced key management who accompanied me (e.g. production manager, plant manager) with beard or moustache walked inside the processing areas without beard net.  :giggle:


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#8 mica

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 11:53 AM

Try resentment from the Pack House Manager, I was brought in to improve the spec and ensure the BRC standard is maintained, This person has worked here for 2 previous years and the standard was non existent in between Audits. The previous team were very "clicky" I have taken the place of 2 other team members and the Pack House Manager fights me at every turn. This is a small company that grow and pack and the upper management are aware of the problem and I am lucky in that they support me. Next season said Pack House Manager will not be coming back. Thank fully I have only had to endure 9 months of childish behavior.

I have trained rogue horses who were less trouble! 


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#9 Setanta

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 12:53 PM

Avoiding whiplash.

 

With all the different directions I feel like I am being pulled--avoiding whiplash and burn out are things I find myself fighting.  Between Food Safety Advocates who think we do nothing, Government regulations that are mind numbing in their complexity, and senior management who find us a burden and roadblock to all their profits, just maintaining focus can be hard.

 

(probably not popular either)

Setanta


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#10 Jus'me

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 03:30 PM

Definitely not receiving support and follow through.  It is so frustrating to identify a problem and suggest a  solution to avoid recurrence, administration drags there feet and says we must discuss this further, then it is forgotten until the next occurrence.  No follow through, and I cannot make the changes w/o their support and approval.  


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#11 Antores

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 03:54 PM

All of the above, LOL!  I think one of our biggest challenges is training and reinforcing the training with employees.  Most of our produciton staff speak Spanish, and understand only little English.  I have translated our training into Spanish, but even with an interpreter, I feel that they are not understanding the policies and processes.

Cerving, unfortunately is more than just a language barrier, it is a cultural barrier. I’m Spanish native speaker from Colombia, and still have challenge training Spanish speaking crews... One time I trained them (In clear, perfect Spanish) about color coding cleaning tools and zones, told them for instance “RED UTENSILS ARE ONLY FOR BATHROOMS”, show them graphics, asked them if they understand and make them repeat it themselves…  just to see them one hour latter one of them heading to the bathroom with a BLUE utensil….  “Didn’t I just tell you to use only red for bathrooms? Why are you going to use a Blue utensil??”  ..Answer: ”Oh.. There was not red in the closet so I just got a blue one”  …SERIOUSLY??  Those kind of things are frustrating..


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#12 clbernard

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 04:10 PM

The Toyota Production System implementation in food production.  It gives management a reason to not do the food safety things I need them to do to pass audits.  I realize that not all TPS implementation into food production results in this effect, but while implementing the focus on waste reduction and problem solving, sometimes without the correct stakeholders involved can result in decisions to do away with maintenance recordkeeping and other fun situations that I then need to go back and justify.

 

By the way,anyone who has implemented this system successfully or not, I am working on a master's program and want to put together a paper on the topic.  Let me know if you would be interested.  :secret:


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#13 Antores

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 04:14 PM

Without doubt, the single most important thing (and Challenge) in any safety program, the pillar and base for anything else is MANAGEMENT COMITMENT, and I’m saying not only because it has been documented many times by different safety experts, or because is key requirement in GFSi programs, but because I live it every day to the point that I almost have scientific evidence to support it…

In my case I’m responsible for overseeing food safety programs for different locations. All locations are owned by the same company, and under the same management system, so physical and monetary resources are the same, even the food safety program is 90% the same…

Unfortunately, LOCAL management have total freedom on budget and administration and there is where the difference is clearly evident..   Locations with local managers who are committed to food safety run excellent food safety programs, they not only do all as required in the program but actually ask for more, better technology better procedures and ways to improve, and don’t hesitate to invest big money in equipment or personnel, basically they do whatever it takes. 

But on the other hand, location with managers who are NOT committed to food safety and that see quality and food safety just as an expense, are very hard and frustrating to manage… you have to drag them to do anything, and even making them to buy color coded cleaning tools (e.g. a broom) is a challenge just because they are few dollars more expensive than a regular cleaning tool in the local hardware store... and please remember, this is the SAME COMPANY, just different local management.

The answer, (AND CHALLENGE) for this is how to turn Quality and Safety benefits in the terms or language that MANAGERS understand, and that is efficiency, productivity and MONEY… that my friends is the biggest challenge..


Edited by Antores, 06 September 2013 - 04:16 PM.

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#14 Simon

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 04:26 PM

This was an open topic for members to unload a little in any direction. You have and it's clear the greatest difficulty is people; whether they be above us, below us or on the same level.  

I'm reading Antores post with interest as I write.  A multi-site operation with same products, processes and procedures is the perfect benchmark...the difference is people!  I wonder which of the sites is more profitable and valued most by senior management? :dunno:

 

The challenge is to motivate people to do the right things (at whatever level) and so we must find out what drives them.  I think food safety managers need to understand psychology, sales and marketing as much as they do the technical disciplines in order to be effective in changing minds.

 

Regards,

Simon


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#15 Susan Ranck

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 04:27 PM

The Toyota Production System implementation in food production.  It gives management a reason to not do the food safety things I need them to do to pass audits.  I realize that not all TPS implementation into food production results in this effect, but while implementing the focus on waste reduction and problem solving, sometimes without the correct stakeholders involved can result in decisions to do away with maintenance recordkeeping and other fun situations that I then need to go back and justify.

 

By the way,anyone who has implemented this system successfully or not, I am working on a master's program and want to put together a paper on the topic.  Let me know if you would be interested.  :secret:

I do have experience implementing the lean model into food manufacturing.  I'd enjoy comparing notes if you'd like.


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#16 clbernard

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 04:43 PM

Susan how do we connect?  Would love to share notes.


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#17 Susan Ranck

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 06:18 PM

My position on this tends to be a bit less popular than most.  I preface this comment by saying that I have over 20 years of food plant experience - working in the plant being the one responsible for implementation.  I do not take this position lightly and believe that I have been successful in doing what I present.  I have, equally, been in situations where I was not successful so I know that my assertion is not  guaranteed.  There will be circumstances where try as you might you can't get people on board.  My fear is far too many people in positions such as ours don't bother to try.

 

It is our responsibility as quality professionals to ensure the non-technical decision makers within the organization understand the risks and rewards and can make informed decisions.  We are far to often viewed as cost centers (as opposed to profit centers) but that is partially our fault.  How many of us dig into the business models of the organization and work to contribute to the bottom line.  Quality, if done correctly, can save a company a sizable amount of money.  Unfortunately quite a bit of the savings are categorized as either intangible or cost avoidance and doesn't get peoples attention straight away.  That is where our communication skills are so important.  We can be our own best cheerleaders in highlighting the value of quality and food safety.

 

This communication is vital to the success of a QAFS program within an organization.  One on one relationships between yourself and the decision makers is vital to ensure they understand the basis of the programs and can then communicate the importance of these programs in your absence.  I urge you to be aware that quite a few company executives fear food safety.  They know it's important and they want to support it but they struggle with how to do that and still be fiscally responsible.  You have a frequent opportunity (and I would say duty) to educate all those around you in the hows and the whys.  Quality and Food Safety is each employees responsibility and you, as a Quality professional, are the standard bearer of the topic.


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#18 Simon

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 06:21 PM

Susan how do we connect?  Would love to share notes.

 

Susan Ranck
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#19 Vijayanthi

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 02:48 PM

I feel changing attitudes of the peple is the  biggest challenge.For example, if a person is having many years of experince in one place they do not like to listen to a person recently joined although that person is more qualified that is my experience.,


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#20 Carol88

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 08:45 PM

I  find that employees that have been in the same position for many years are the worst offenders (fossils). They do not want to change and resent new enforced quality rules that we all have to abide by. I have only been doing quality for 2 years and have no background in quality so have had to learn the hard way. We are moving to a  newly built site around Christmas time. While this is exciting I am feeling a bit nervous about all that I am going to have to do as the whole HACCP plan will be changing and that I have to have heaps in place so that we can be audited to continue our certification.We are under SQF.


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#21 Patricia64

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:35 PM

The question is - what isnt the challenge right now?

The cost of quality is not free! it cost to have key, trained , professional people in all areas, management committment is laxey at best, basic knowledge of food safety , zero quality....Plant Managers - knowith no knowledge of what a mangement review is "????"

 

 

"It isn't that they can't see the solution, It is that they can't see the probelm." ~G.K Chesterton


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#22 Jus'me

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:42 PM

I like your view Ms. Patricia64.  You are so right!!! You hit it right on the head!!!


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#23 Simon

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 03:34 PM

Lot's of good posts in the thread.

So let's imagine for a minute everyone is on board and motivated towards world class food safety and quality.

 

What's our next biggest gripe challenge? :smile:

 

Regards,

Simon


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#24 Setanta

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 03:43 PM

 

Lot's of good posts in the thread.

So let's imagine for a minute everyone is on board and motivated towards world class food safety and quality.
 
What's our next biggest gripe challenge? :smile:
 
Regards,
Simon


Focus. Remaining on the same page. Avoiding getting bogged down in the minutiae of the day-to-day.

Thank you for this question! That is why I make it a point to visit here every work day.

Edited by Setanta, 11 September 2013 - 03:45 PM.

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#25 Susan Ranck

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 03:55 PM

Lot's of good posts in the thread.

So let's imagine for a minute everyone is on board and motivated towards world class food safety and quality.

 

What's our next biggest gripe challenge? :smile:

 

Regards,

Simon

 

Excellent foliow-up question.  I think the biggest challenge is continuing to improve, never becoming complacent.  How do we continue to be proactive without the burning platform?  How does quality evolve from being a concentrated effort to simply how we do business?  


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