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#1 ladytygrr

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 01:11 PM

Good morning everybody,

 

I understand that the answer to this inquiry will potentially vary greatly, especially as it depends on individual business' hierarchy and org chart set up, but I'm looking for a general feel of what's "standard" within the industry.

 

To whom (and when) do you address issues of food safety with in your organization? 

 

If it's egregious?

If it's urgent but not an issue right this moment?

If it's a general thought or concern?

 

I look forward to hearing your feedback.

 

Thank you!

 

~Emily~


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#2 RMAV

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 01:47 PM

With the line employee, I like to develop a rapport first if there is time.  I've found jumping in and helping do the work helps to learn what they do, the challenges they have, etc., and gains some respect from the front line.  You may even appear to have credibility ;-).  Helping with the work is not possible everywhere, e.g., many union shops.

 

To whom to address the issue.  If there is no set rules for this, I typically start with the individual.  Most of the time it is a training retention issue where a quick reminder is enough.  Then up from there, but I do not skip levels - going over heads can fan the flames of a blame culture.

 

Food safety issues - when and how I address is guided by risk.  Someone leaving a torn bag of mustard flour (an allergen for us as we export), with forklifts driving through it in the warehouse remote from the production area is egregious, but it is not an emergency.  I do not know who did it, so a talk with the warehouse manager at the next meeting is in order.  If I've got time, I'll clean it up myself.

 

Someone picking up a fallen, unpackaged ham off the floor and putting it back on the line in an RTE facility is egregious, and it is an emergency.  The line must be stopped and cleaned.  Management by virtue of the situation is involved immediately.

 

Someone not wearing their beardnet over their mustache while boxing enclosed product - not egregious.  This can be addressed to the individual, reminding him of the GMPs in the training.  If he refuses and it is not addressed, this becomes more urgent as others will see that beardnets are no longer required.

 

A general thought or concern goes to my boss or I bring it up in our HACCP team, but I do not express those on the production floor.

 

Not sure if I got at what you're asking but those are some of my thoughts.


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#3 ladytygrr

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 02:46 PM

RMAV,

 

Thank you!

 

We're a small facility and when I started I did have plenty of time on the floor and built rapport - I'm generally on good terms with all the guys and gals out there which is why a recent situation took me by surprise. Another thing I did when I started was reach out to our 2 supervisors and asked them if they were comfortable with me approaching their team members or if they'd rather I bring everything to them. They said they want everything to go through them so that's what I do.

 

The situation came up where an employee was about to power wash an item during production (this has been established practice in our facility and I'm trying to put an end to it but that's a different discussion) and there was WIP directly adjacent to the area she was power washing in.  I approached the employee about to power wash's supervisor and asked her to put a stop to it and outlined the reason why from a food safety perspective. When the boss came back from his time off, he approached me and asked about the situation. I was under the impression I maybe came across as less than gracious but it turned out it wasn't how I said it, it was that I opened my mouth at all. 

 

In my head, this is potentially a two-pronged issue. Firstly and most importantly, if the employees are upset I said anything at all, that tells me they must not have an understanding of my role and purpose here (QA Mgr and SQF Practitioner) which means that upper management needs to explain this so they understand. Secondly, perhaps there's a better way to handle issues from a personnel/interpersonal communication standpoint which is why I reached out to you guys to see what you do. 

 

I am pretty sure I left junior high behind about 20 years ago but work places never fail to take you right back there, it seems.  :silly:


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#4 JohnWheat

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 03:16 PM

Always depends on the company or site within a company group even!
If you have support from the top and culture that has learned quality and food safety is top priority, that's a real boon.
If starting with a blank canvas with senior production management that haven't changed since the 80's its an uphill task.
I make a point of showing and explaining WHY something is important and involving people. Getting the most 'difficult' people involved is a good start. Ring leaders or trouble makers, call them what you will, can also be your biggest friend on getting the message out there. Getting junior and middle management to set an example where dress code and GMP are the issues. Being clear and concise and delivering the message consistently. Ive already set up a small cross dept team to look at the issues facing us as we move forward. Baby steps and all that.....


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#5 ladytygrr

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 03:29 PM

Thank you, John Wheat. It's management commitment from the topmost levels that we struggle with and I know that doesn't help much in relating the importance of safety to the "rank and file". But, given all the time I've spent on the floor, I had hoped I had built more of a rapport with everybody in Production; it was disappointing to find out I was wrong.

 

At the end of the day with this specific situation, it may be there's nothing I can do to improve, really, at the level of working with those on the floor; perhaps I just need to really start "attacking" the management commitment angle. 

 

Thank you for the perspective.


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#6 brianweber

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 05:06 PM

What i have done in the past is, when we have our safety meetings each month with all of production, have the  highest ranking management official available introduce the new manager, give a little background history, endorsing the new manager and letting folks know we support him/her and so on. I believe getting out on the floor and learning the jobs is important as well. I always tell people I can do the job, but not near as efficiently as them. Let them know they are the professionals, it makes them feel good and they are more willing to help out and explain things. Plus you will have a greater understanding of failures if they do happen.  That helps not only build a rapport with them, but they will have a little more respect knowing that you took time to learn their job.

 As for the supervisor that apparently had an issue with you speaking up, there is a fine line between production and quality. I have been a production manager and quality manager and both have there good/bad points. But as a quality manager we need to be the voice of reason and get them to understand that there are REAL life altering things that go on and we need to stop them before someone gets hurt or, at the very least, a recall.

 As far as addressing the employees, I believe that anyone in the plant from the new person to the owner should speak up if they see a food safety issue or any issue for that matter, regardless of how serious or non serious one thinks it may be.


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#7 Simon

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 07:34 PM

Some great tips provided.

 

All humans have a desire to know "why". "Why" is a developing child's favourite word.  "Why" adds context and meaning to the things we do and if we understand the "why" we are more likely to do, even if sometimes we don't entirely agree.  

 

At all levels of your organisation try to provide the answers to this question.  Communicate the knowledge of food safety and quality throughout your business, send bulletins, have a notice board, post recalls, invite as many different people to training and meetings as you can...involve them in customer audits, internal audits, third party audits and complaints.

 

Even if they appear disinterested and they moan, groan and scowl, which they will; it doesn't matter as they are still be getting the why.

 

Regards,

Simon


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#8 RMAV

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 07:40 PM


"I am pretty sure I left junior high behind about 20 years ago but work places never fail to take you right back there, it seems"

 

I learned more about managing people in a few short years of parenting small children than I ever did in my work experience.  It also taught me more about myself and my own failings.


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#9 Simon

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 07:45 PM

I learned more about managing people in a few short years of parenting small children than I ever did in my work experience.  It also taught me more about myself and my own failings.

 

+1

 

As the father of three boy's I totally agree. The only thing I didn't learn (regretfully) is how to manage a small female, I would have loved that challenge despite what everyone tells me.


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#10 JohnWheat

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 06:09 AM

+1
 
As the father of three boy's I totally agree. The only thing I didn't learn (regretfully) is how to manage a small female, I would have loved that challenge despite what everyone tells me.


Lucky you - I have a teenage boy and 2, yes TWO small females at 3 and 6.............. the challenge and reward is all true. I didn't have any grey hair until they arrived!!
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#11 Simon

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 06:14 AM

Lucky you - I have a teenage boy and 2, yes TWO small females at 3 and 6.............. the challenge and reward is all true. I didn't have any grey hair until they arrived!!

 

Ha, ha...good luck John.  My twin boy's are almost 16 and my youngest is 11.  I still have my hair and it isn't grey, however, the mark they left on me has been Restless Leg Syndrome, which pretty much started 16 year's ago. Time goes by far too quickly.  

 

Have a nice day.

 

Regards,

Simon


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#12 ladytygrr

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 03:54 PM

Thanks to everybody for their time and responses. 

 

You've given me good stuff to work with - personally and with the management team. I always strive to ensure I'm treating those around me the same I want to be treated, including providing reasoning why I'm asking or saying something but that doesn't mean there isn't room to improve!

 

Thanks again!

 

~Emily~


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#13 balakrishnan_dl

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Posted 15 October 2015 - 05:47 AM

In most of the companies I visit as a Consultant presently and as a Regulator earlier,the usual practice is to arrange & conduct 'Grass Root Level' training sessions for the benefit of shop-floor workers.In these training sessions,usually arranged in class rooms or meeting halls,the Floor Employees are taught various aspects of Basic hygiene & Safety Standard  Operating Procedures(SSOPs),either by external trainers or senior level supervisory officials.The workers are encouraged to freely interact and ask questions to clear their doubts.

 

In my experience,I have observed invariably a very enthusiastic response in these sessions by the participants.


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#14 Andy_Yellows

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 07:32 AM

Hi all,

 

Was having a browse and came across this post which made for interesting reading. On a related note I'm having a bit of trouble interacting with one person in particular. On the whole everyone is quite co-operative but the guy in question has been here for years and is one of those "I've earned the right to basically do as I want" kind of people and deliberately makes any quality reqs. a big deal and refuses to comply a lot of the time. Furthermore he's quite intimidating and more than twice my age (I'm 22, he's 48) so when it comes to requesting that procedures are followed (once I've psyched myself up to confront him) I often get my head bitten off and senior management come at me with "well that's just him".

 

Any advice on confronting older, intimidating staff members who are pretty much on the same level in the hierarchy but from another dept.?

 

Andy


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#15 Simon

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 12:54 PM

Hi all,

 

Was having a browse and came across this post which made for interesting reading. On a related note I'm having a bit of trouble interacting with one person in particular. On the whole everyone is quite co-operative but the guy in question has been here for years and is one of those "I've earned the right to basically do as I want" kind of people and deliberately makes any quality reqs. a big deal and refuses to comply a lot of the time. Furthermore he's quite intimidating and more than twice my age (I'm 22, he's 48) so when it comes to requesting that procedures are followed (once I've psyched myself up to confront him) I often get my head bitten off and senior management come at me with "well that's just him".

 

Any advice on confronting older, intimidating staff members who are pretty much on the same level in the hierarchy but from another dept.?

 

Andy

 

That's a very difficult one Andy because your senior management know about the behaviour and let it exist unchallenged.  If at their pay grade they are not strong or wise enough to challenge then I do not believe you should.  You are not responsible or should be held accountable for this employees non-compliance with procedures. 

 

I would however ask the guy for a friendly one-to-one meeting in private and explain what your job is and what you are required to achieve and why.  I would ask what his specific problems are with the rules or following them and how you can help him to comply, maybe he has ideas to make things easier or more efficient.  Not an easy thing to do, but it may help him to understand.  I would prefer going down this friendly 'discussion of principles' rather than having regular negative rows about this rule or that rule.

 

If you don't have success I would write it all down, each non-compliance, each comment, each argument.  Should customer or third party audit NC's result I would explain to senior management the reasons why.  In fact I would tell them if left unchecked then NC's are highly likely.  Let them do the risk assessment. :smile:

 

Good luck and let us know how you get on.

 

Regards,

Simon


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#16 Guitardr85

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 03:50 PM

I came across this post and am very interested with any follow up that Andy may have had with his situation?  Did the meeting work?  Was there able to be any quantifiable (or heck...qualifiable) improvement in the employees behavior/commitment to food safety/quality?


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#17 Andy_Yellows

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 11:38 AM

In the end I did have the guy in question to one side and ask him to his face why there seemed to be such an opposition to our quality requirements. I got the expected drivel of "I'm not opposed to what you need and I understand we all have our own jobs, but there are times when you have to prioritise and just get things done, you'll learn that more as you get more experienced." Frustrating. Once the senior management were informed they never really got off the fence. Since then we've had another staff member in which has helped us cope with following procedures and we're just better set up to deal with these requirements now so we're heading in the right direction. Maybe the discussion did help all along...........

 

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#18 Guitardr85

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 02:11 PM

Andy, well I hope that the situation continues down the right track, though I was a little concerned when he questioned your experience.   I'm not trying to add fuel to the fire but to me that provides a picture of his perception of your role vs. his own.  He might be the kind of person to always "prioritize" his thinking and projects over anyone who he thinks doesn't have as much experience as he does.  

 

I hope everything works out!


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#19 RMAV

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 05:20 PM

Prioritizing is important.  At the end of the day, you must get product out the door to get paid.  Does that mean shutting down the line and placing everything on hold when 3% of the product you ran all day has a slightly crooked label?  Maybe, maybe not.  That might be where "experience" comes into play, understanding what is allowed within the agreed upon price vs the agreed upon quality.  Now switch out the crooked label for a non-functioning metal detector.  "Experience" *and* common sense says you shut it down and put on hold.

 

If the guy in question is going to pull the "experience" card, fine, but he needs to educate you on what that means and why what he is proposing to do is OK.  Then a discussion can determine what is correct to do.  But it sounds like he just argued, "experience! experience!"  Good for you for moving this in the right direction.

 

I don't know if nominations can come from the floor, but I'll campaign for Andy_Accent member of the month.


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