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Any advice on getting senior management/owner on board?

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#1 brianweber

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 05:11 PM

Any advice on getting senior management/owner on board and to become a champion of food safety/getting a good audit accomplished? I am dealing with some rather "old school" mentality. Stuck in their way... Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated! :helpplease:

 

Brian


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#2 Setanta

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 05:41 PM

I know of where you come from. 

 

Unfortunately, you will probably need to make the money argument. It is cheaper to do the right thing, the first time around, than it is to go back and re-work product, recall product or rebuild your customer list from either of the two events. What particular problems are you facing?

 

Good GMPs, hairnets, inspections, etc. can lay the ground work for audits done under GFSI standards.  THOSE enable you to sell to Wal-Mart, Costco, Sam's Club, etc. Your business can grow given that there is confidence that you are adhering to a standard of cleanliness, product handling and food safety practices.


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#3 brianweber

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 05:55 PM

Money is a lot of the issue right now. We are no where near ready and have a lot of work to do in order to get audit ready. I have beaten the proverbial horse to death on explaining the old adage "spend money to make money". I came from a level 3 SQF facility with full management support and everyone understood that to lose that certification is to lose some high end/big customers. Just makes me want to stand on their eyelids and make them see the way!


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#4 Setanta

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 06:13 PM

What are they dragging their heels on?


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#5 brianweber

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 06:24 PM

Repairs mainly. Building is outdated, parking lot is a MESS, unused equipment. No order to the "organization" of unused equipment/unnecessary stuff... Pack rat is the term that comes to mind. I did get them to invest in pull down bug screens for dock doors instead of just leaving them open when it is hot outside... I'm just tired of having to fight for the simple stuff really.  They know it needs to be done, but are just resistant.


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#6 ladytygrr

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 06:35 PM

Brian,

 

I am unable to offer any insight or suggestions but am able to commiserate with you, indeed. My last position entailed everything from customer service to purchasing and inventory management to assisting in the quality department and doing internal audits (not in the food industry). I pushed management on many things including going paperless and investing in new software or hardware which would take a bit of investment at the beginning but would pay off in the end. Always it was "No." I am still in touch with several people there from whom I've heard they are now moving forward with several of the ideas I offered over the years. Better late than never, I guess!

 

I usually tried to quantify the consequences of not moving forward in terms of cost in both real dollars (lost sales, additional investment because they waited too long, etc.) and indirect cost of random manpower hours spent touching data 3 times or the countless hours of searching through records to nail down why something was wrong. Even though I was turned down for many of my ideas, their ears always perked up when I brought up money. Hey, it's money out of all of our pockets when everything goes to h3ll in a handbasket!

 

Reminding them that just because nothing has gone wrong so far doesn't mean the possibility isn't there and it's better to be proactive than reactive may help, too. 

 

Best of luck to you in your endeavors. 

 

~Emily~


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#7 Setanta

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 06:38 PM

This sounds vary familiar.  I think you will need to get hit on an audit to fix.  For me, getting 'dinged' helped me get the most accomplished.  Management sees that it's real.


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#8 brianweber

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 06:42 PM

I agree that getting "dinged" may be what it takes to wake them up. i just hate that though. i take it as a reflection on me! But I realize that it is more than likely going to be the case.


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#9 Simon

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Posted 23 June 2015 - 07:10 PM

Business seniors are measured on sales, growth and profit; their heads are so full of it there is little room in there for anything else...except maybe an idea to reduce cost like chopping people or waste.  Of course I'm exaggerating a little for effect, but essentially it's true. :smile:

 

A good food safety management systems does support lean manufacturing and customer and market retention and growth, but perhaps their biggest business value is cost avoidance such as product recalls, customer complaints, law suits etc., but it's hard to sell this concept especially if there have been no massive disasters in the past.

 

You may want to attend this weeks Food Safety Fridays webinar, which is about Basic Food Safety Economics...you may get some tips and discussion on this very subject.

 

Regards,

Simon


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#10 brianweber

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Posted 23 June 2015 - 07:27 PM

Thanks Simon. I will certainly be tuning in!


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#11 AudreyB

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Posted 23 June 2015 - 10:44 PM

Unfortunately, I do not have much insight as I am in a similar situation at the moment. Upper management has been around for 15+ years, and they remain in the mindset that everything that was done in the 80s and 90s was fine and can continue on...I myself wasn't born until the early 90s, so I see things very differently. 

 

I think sometimes a hit is the only way things will advance or change when people are too stubborn or set in their ways! Wishing you luck! 


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#12 EvaB

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 07:16 AM

Hi Brian,

I would agree with the getting "dinged" idea. That way the ideas and critique are not coming from you, the "insider" but from the outside. From a psychological point of view that means it's "them" against all of you in the company together, making you a team. That's not what I had expected when I got an external auditor in to our company many years ago but that's what actually happened. 

 

I must say though, that my boss gave me "carte blanche" when I began, knowing that I would have a battle on my hands regarding the older generation. 

 

I would say, go for the audit and complain with the rest of the company on how awfully strict the auditors were. Then clear the non-conformances one by one. And don't give up ;o)


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#13 brianweber

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 12:31 PM

Thanks Audrey. It is sad that we have to look at it that way, but I agree.

 

Eva, I do believe that is how I am going to handle it. i have been given a lot of room to do what needs to be done, but when it comes to changing things the owner has done for 30 years it is being balked at.


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#14 sqflady

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 01:41 PM

My advice is to keep at it.  I have been at my company for a year now.  I am seeing slow progress in changing the mindset of management.  A technique that works well for me is to share articles about companies going through recalls (example - Blue Bell Creamery).  A lot of these articles show up on foodsafetynews.com.  Prevention is always the best medicine. 


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#15 CLS

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 02:16 PM

Good luck. I've gone from large multi site to tiny owner led business and its a common problem. Have you any contacts in your network who have poor audit reports for similar issues? Anything to tie into a due diligence defence? Sad fact but putting the spin on things that you are trying to  keep the owners away from prosecution or out of prison sometimes has the desired effect. Going forward if the bits you have highlighted and don't get actioned do get pulled up at audit, then next time maybe there will be a more positive outcome earlier on - demonstration that you are not coming up with these things for the sake of it!


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#16 saucy

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 04:04 PM

Repairs mainly. Building is outdated, parking lot is a MESS, unused equipment. No order to the "organization" of unused equipment/unnecessary stuff... Pack rat is the term that comes to mind. I did get them to invest in pull down bug screens for dock doors instead of just leaving them open when it is hot outside... I'm just tired of having to fight for the simple stuff really.  They know it needs to be done, but are just resistant.

 

I am also looking for solutions to leaving dock doors open in the heat.  Can you give more details on pull down bug screens you are using?


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#17 brianweber

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 04:17 PM

 I had them at a couple other places i worked at and love them. Overhead door company is who i used. They are based out of St. Louis, MO. I would think any of your contractors that you utilize for your dock levelers/doors would be able to help you out.

 The airflow loss is VERY minimal and there are brushes at the top that clean the screens when they are put up.


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