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Poll: How well did your business react to the Covid-19 pandemic? (226 member(s) have cast votes)

How well did your business react to the Covid-19 pandemic?

  1. Very well (70 votes [30.97%])

    Percentage of vote: 30.97%

  2. Quite well (94 votes [41.59%])

    Percentage of vote: 41.59%

  3. So So (45 votes [19.91%])

    Percentage of vote: 19.91%

  4. Poorly (14 votes [6.19%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.19%

  5. It was a disaster (3 votes [1.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.33%

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#1 Simon

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 01:38 PM

Business continuity and crisis management are an inherent part of food safety management systems, but no amount of planning or risk assessment could have prepared us for the coronavirus emergency. 

 

As the crisis developed it was vital the global food supply chain continued to operate, and businesses quickly developed new ways of working to keep both employees and their products safe.

 

Initially guidance was limited, and businesses had to adapt quickly, but over the weeks common best practice was established and largely it is business as usual.

 

So how well did your business respond and how is it coping, and importantly have you learned any lessons for the future?

 

Regards,

Simon

 

NOTE: This topic is to discuss how effectively and efficiently your senior management and teams reacted, the process and procedures you put in place and what learning can be input into the businesses risk and crisis management systems, so that we may be better prepared for future emergencies of any kind. It is not to discuss the whys and wherefores of the virus itself.  Thank you.


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#2 zanorias

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 03:37 PM

I've voted 'very well' and feel that to be the case. It's been tough, but considering it's not only the direct virus infection threat we've had to adapt for, but a very significant drop in sales and thus workforce, we seem to be coping relatively well and will get through this until airplines and schools start to return at which point production will go up and we can get back to 'normal'.

I think we will certainly live the effects of this moving forwards and likely include specifically similar scenarios in our crises management plans and perhaps HR policies. One specific lesson I'll take forwards is the importance of making sure tasks and information is very easily accessable across staff and departments - when the majority of a department and some whole departments suddenly stop coming in for a few months, you certainly realise how well you know the essentail tasks of others.

As has been mentioned before, we are relatively fortunaute to be in an essential industry (on the whole). I imagine other industries may have to review their plans incase of the next pandemic i.e. airlines, weddings or holiday operators introducing a new insurance premium to cover themselves if/when this happens again.



#3 Setanta

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 04:43 PM

I'll vote after we have more cases in our area. 


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#4 Ryan M.

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 06:58 PM

Our company has responded very well and it is really due to the involvement of our CEO.  Her leadership as sparked the leadership is others and persons who were not held accountable for things in the past are now held accountable.  Our company largely suffered from poor accountability before COVID hit.  The pandemic has required persons be held accountable because there is no time for sweeping things under the rug, or just going on as if nothing has happened.  Additionally, there is more cross functional communication among the departments.

 

We are also seeing the fat in the company that can be cut in this times.  Many resources are mis-allocated; our operations resources are growing while the G&A resources are shrinking which is a good thing.  The G&A part of our business has become a fat behemoth until COVID hit.  I only hope the operations resources continues to stay the same or grow.

 

I only hope that we can keep the additional sanitors we have hired to disinfect the facility even if we shrink our disinfection, and use them in other ways to keep the facility clean.  We shall see...



#5 Simon

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Posted 01 May 2020 - 08:22 AM

I've voted 'very well' and feel that to be the case. It's been tough, but considering it's not only the direct virus infection threat we've had to adapt for, but a very significant drop in sales and thus workforce, we seem to be coping relatively well and will get through this until airplines and schools start to return at which point production will go up and we can get back to 'normal'.

I think we will certainly live the effects of this moving forwards and likely include specifically similar scenarios in our crises management plans and perhaps HR policies. One specific lesson I'll take forwards is the importance of making sure tasks and information is very easily accessable across staff and departments - when the majority of a department and some whole departments suddenly stop coming in for a few months, you certainly realise how well you know the essentail tasks of others.

As has been mentioned before, we are relatively fortunaute to be in an essential industry (on the whole). I imagine other industries may have to review their plans incase of the next pandemic i.e. airlines, weddings or holiday operators introducing a new insurance premium to cover themselves if/when this happens again.

 

Hi Zanorias, I heard on the radio this morning there are tentative steps towards creating Internationally agreed standards for airport operation and air travel. I doubt we'll all be jetting off to Sunkist beaches in the near future, but limited air travel will be the next step once countries have the virus under control.  Could be a few months off yet.

 

On holidays, not many people are taking them at the moment, nowhere to go and nothing to do.  This is building up a lot of holidays that will be taken as things open up.  So as businesses start to get going and ramp up they may be hampered by staff shortages. Needs some creative ideas, like buy back, carry over and perhaps long weekend shutdowns (Friday and Monday) to use some up.

 

Regards,

Simon


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#6 Simon

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Posted 01 May 2020 - 09:27 AM

Our company has responded very well and it is really due to the involvement of our CEO.  Her leadership as sparked the leadership is others and persons who were not held accountable for things in the past are now held accountable.  Our company largely suffered from poor accountability before COVID hit.  The pandemic has required persons be held accountable because there is no time for sweeping things under the rug, or just going on as if nothing has happened.  Additionally, there is more cross functional communication among the departments.

 

We are also seeing the fat in the company that can be cut in this times.  Many resources are mis-allocated; our operations resources are growing while the G&A resources are shrinking which is a good thing.  The G&A part of our business has become a fat behemoth until COVID hit.  I only hope the operations resources continues to stay the same or grow.

 

I only hope that we can keep the additional sanitors we have hired to disinfect the facility even if we shrink our disinfection, and use them in other ways to keep the facility clean.  We shall see...

 

It is great to hear Ryan that despite the challenge your leaders and teams have risen to it and you can see positive takeaways for the future.

 

There are good reasons why some vulnerable employees need to be shielded and sent to home from work and where practical others who can, do work from home and those who remain, work with good hygiene, as much social distancing as possible and vigorous sanitation.

 

Within this there are some employees who do not want to go home and those who cannot wait to get out of the door.   Something like this does in some ways highlight employees who are committed to the business and those who are not.  Even though we knew this already.  It becomes quite stark.

 

The importance of cleaning of work areas and personal hygiene have been highlighted massively by the pandemic and the cause and effect connection in all our brains is a very good thing especially for food businesses.  In the long run this deeper understanding could help prevent many illnesses and deaths due to food borne illnesses.

 

Life will continue after this crisis and the aim of this topic was to draw on the direct and indirect positive outcomes from it.

 

Thanks,
Simon


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#7 jenky

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Posted 01 May 2020 - 02:30 PM

Our crisis team and leadership responded very well - we reacted early and implemented preventive measures quickly.  We are lucky to work in essential infrastructure and were prepared to see employees out sick.  However, on the whole our abseenteism has not spiked too much.  We've been able to hire in extra help to cover, and we've been generous with sick leave.   We've really focused on communication to employees, customers, and partners.  Our team is working together to get done what needs to be done.  Have we done everything perfectly?  No, but we are learning and making improvements as the pandemic unfolds. 



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#8 Njaquino

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Posted 01 May 2020 - 02:35 PM

I voted poorly. When I foresaw it possible becoming a pandemic, I went to our management to tell them we should have a basic plan at least in the event it does hit here. Nothing was done when it turned more serious and stay at home orders/ social distancing orders came out I was trying to come up with a plan. Again nothing was done, I finally I talked to the CEO and I told them it was not okay to not do anything about it, this is people's lives/ families we are endangering. I asked them to meet with all of senior management and come up with a plan. Of course, no one had any ideas, production was asking me why nothing is being done. I got fed up and I wrote up the policy/ plan and I went to the CEO and told them if the senior management can't make decisions they should not be here.  :giggle:  All I got was a I know I am disappointed in them but thank you for writing this. Let's just say not all of what I wrote was actually taken serious. 

 

They brought me on board to help their employee/food safety programs but when recommendations are given and nothing is done to comply. It is pretty safe to say I will not be here after this is over. Poor management is a risk that I am not willing to take, especially knowing I am risking people/ consumers lives. (I know it doesn't transfer by food, but this just shows me if they don't care about their employees why would they care for the consumer).

 

Sorry for the rant, it just really makes me sad. I see how other companies have handled it and I applaud them. We need leadership that can step up when the unknown is coming. 



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#9 The Food Scientist

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 02:22 PM

I voted poorly. When I foresaw it possible becoming a pandemic, I went to our management to tell them we should have a basic plan at least in the event it does hit here. Nothing was done when it turned more serious and stay at home orders/ social distancing orders came out I was trying to come up with a plan. Again nothing was done, I finally I talked to the CEO and I told them it was not okay to not do anything about it, this is people's lives/ families we are endangering. I asked them to meet with all of senior management and come up with a plan. Of course, no one had any ideas, production was asking me why nothing is being done. I got fed up and I wrote up the policy/ plan and I went to the CEO and told them if the senior management can't make decisions they should not be here.  :giggle:  All I got was a I know I am disappointed in them but thank you for writing this. Let's just say not all of what I wrote was actually taken serious. 

 

They brought me on board to help their employee/food safety programs but when recommendations are given and nothing is done to comply. It is pretty safe to say I will not be here after this is over. Poor management is a risk that I am not willing to take, especially knowing I am risking people/ consumers lives. (I know it doesn't transfer by food, but this just shows me if they don't care about their employees why would they care for the consumer).

 

Sorry for the rant, it just really makes me sad. I see how other companies have handled it and I applaud them. We need leadership that can step up when the unknown is coming. 

 

I voted poorly too. But they have taken the extra mile NOW. But I will keep my vote for poorly because that was the initial response. .....After we had 30+ confirmed cases and two deaths.

 

The thing most companies do not understand is that this is a preventive action and NOT a corrective. Sadly we are doing corrective actions and preventive for any future infections.

 

We have been closed for around a month now trying to get a good plan to go and run smoothly while eliminating any further infections. 

 

My advise is that you should have your seniors STEP UP before it's tooo late and you see some of your dearest coworkers fall ill or even pass away!!!!!!!!!! 


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


#10 TimG

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 02:54 PM

@foodscientist "After we had 30+ confirmed cases and two deaths."

Is that 'we' as in your geographical location, or 'we' as in your facility?

If it's your facility, WOW!

 

A lot of this is geographical right now. Here in Houston, it's not really hitting home because not a large # of us are infected or even personally know someone who's been infected. I've been working from home 3 days a week but just wen't back to full time office today, and indeed the whole area seems to have been allowed to go back to muted normal (I think 25% capacity on restaurants, bars, etc.).

I think it was a bit premature and I can easily fill 2-3 days of home office while remaining as productive as at the plant. I will be watching the info coming out in this area for the next few weeks; if I feel I am putting myself in unnecessary danger by coming into the plant 5 days a week it's going to be a tough call to corporate HR.



#11 kzimmers

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 03:06 PM

As of now, we did really good. I started to boost my programs early February, everybody thought that i was being a little paranoiac. We had the very first case in the USA and that worried me so very much.I was out sick for 3 weeks and the people at work didn't have to be worried because we implemented our protocols in time.



#12 The Food Scientist

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 03:41 PM

@foodscientist "After we had 30+ confirmed cases and two deaths."

Is that 'we' as in your geographical location, or 'we' as in your facility?

If it's your facility, WOW!

 

A lot of this is geographical right now. Here in Houston, it's not really hitting home because not a large # of us are infected or even personally know someone who's been infected. I've been working from home 3 days a week but just wen't back to full time office today, and indeed the whole area seems to have been allowed to go back to muted normal (I think 25% capacity on restaurants, bars, etc.).

I think it was a bit premature and I can easily fill 2-3 days of home office while remaining as productive as at the plant. I will be watching the info coming out in this area for the next few weeks; if I feel I am putting myself in unnecessary danger by coming into the plant 5 days a week it's going to be a tough call to corporate HR.

 

Our facility :( 


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


#13 PCP

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 03:54 PM

One thing that is a nature habit is to touch your facemask and adjust it.  I notice this in many industries such as nurses, grocery stores, etc. we need to train employees (including ourselves) to be cognitive of this and to sanitize our hands after and before touch food product.  Also, please don't wear facemask in the restrooms, just like aprons!  :headhurts:



#14 tadelong

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 06:03 PM

Our facility(only six employees) has not made nearly enough changes in my opinion. We did disallow members of the public from entering the facility for direct sales, and I am now working from home as I am able(I am immunocompromised). The owners have little interest in making any significant changes to the systems in place. We are constructing a new barn adjacent to the grader, replacing an aging building. The flow of outside people into the facility has actually increased this year due to this.



#15 Ryan M.

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 12:09 AM

Our facility :(

 

Crikey!  My heart goes out to those who lost their lives. 

 

I will be watching closely for the lawsuits that will come during and after the pandemic for those who lost their lives because they had to go to work due to essential business.  These will likely be coming out soon I'm sure.  Probably from Marler Clark first and then other lawyers to follow suit.

 

This is probably why your company execs are now reacting the way they are to the situation.  Too bad, and too sad.



#16 The Food Scientist

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 04:12 PM

Crikey!  My heart goes out to those who lost their lives. 

 

I will be watching closely for the lawsuits that will come during and after the pandemic for those who lost their lives because they had to go to work due to essential business.  These will likely be coming out soon I'm sure.  Probably from Marler Clark first and then other lawyers to follow suit.

 

This is probably why your company execs are now reacting the way they are to the situation.  Too bad, and too sad.

 

Ahhh yes. Been the toughest times right now. Oh yes Lawsuits are coming pretty sure they are.

 

And to top it all our SQF is in a month from now. We are thinking of requesting an extension. 


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


#17 Ryan M.

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 04:57 PM

Ahhh yes. Been the toughest times right now. Oh yes Lawsuits are coming pretty sure they are.

 

And to top it all our SQF is in a month from now. We are thinking of requesting an extension. 

 

We're in the middle of our SQF right now.  Going pretty well.  It was originally an unscheduled, but with COVID it was scheduled.  I would say if you are prepared for SQF then move forward with the audit, or if you can get about 90% prepared go for it anyhow.  The whole COVID thing is not going anywhere anytime soon...



#18 Setanta

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 05:01 PM

Ahhh yes. Been the toughest times right now. Oh yes Lawsuits are coming pretty sure they are.

 

And to top it all our SQF is in a month from now. We are thinking of requesting an extension. 

 

I am so sorry!


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#19 sztamas79

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Posted 07 May 2020 - 11:54 AM

We are very fortunate that since the product is relatively seasonal and the season only starts at the end of May, we may be able to minimize our losses. From point of view of QA, minimal changes were needed, as the plant is practically waiting for the start of the season.



#20 majoy

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Posted 07 May 2020 - 03:09 PM

Our facility :(

ohh no. Its just too difficult if it hits home, and to people you know. That's why its so upsetting to hear educated people say this is just a "FLU".


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#21 Fishlady

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Posted 07 May 2020 - 03:39 PM

Our company reacted quickly and has put some great protective measures in place. We had 11 cases and 2 deaths at one of our facilities, which no doubt produced at least some of those actions. (This was at a facility in Washington state, which saw the first confirmed cases in the US, and some of our employees got this early before we realized the scope of the problem nationally or as a company). But our company tries to do the right thing all the time and probably would have taken these additional precautions even if we had not been hit so hard.

Unfortunately, our customers are mostly food service, so the plant I work at was closed for 4 weeks and reopened this week only with a skeleton crew and minimal production. And I am furloughed for the next few months until the business comes back. Our BRC audit had been scheduled for March, but we got a 6 month extension. Another qualified person who previously did my job is doing double duty covering my responsibilities in addition to her own in the meantime.



#22 olenazh

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Posted 07 May 2020 - 07:27 PM

I voted VERY WELL: so far - everybody's alive and healthy:) Practicing physical distancing when possible, if not - employees're wearing masks. Other implementations: sanitizing potentially touched surfaces with SYNERGEX (supplied by ECOLAB), not more than 3 persons in a lunchroom, washing hands when entering and leaving facility, temperature screening once a day, contingency plan developed, regulatory bodies' updates/advisories posted in strategic locations for employees' reference. Not much to add as frequent hand washing was already a company's policy. Of course, all implementations're documented, personnel're trained, risk analysis's done, everything's been discussed with the Management and responsible supervisory personnel, etc. I've participated in several webinars RE: COVID, but not much new.



#23 The Food Scientist

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Posted 07 May 2020 - 07:31 PM

ohh no. Its just too difficult if it hits home, and to people you know. That's why its so upsetting to hear educated people say this is just a "FLU".

 

Exactly. The flu is not this contagious. If one employee has the flue, you won't have 30+ others infected with it, deaths and a complete shut down of operations.


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


#24 GMO

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Posted 13 May 2020 - 10:34 AM

Very well locally, ok nationally, QFS group function, embarrassing.  I put "very well" as the felt experience of the front line is positive but we've been shielding them from the BS from group functions.  Some of the dumbflipery which has come out of people isolated at home without actually talking to any of the sites is astonishing.  When they do talk to site, they claim credit for stuff they've not done.

 

So we had a call for people at my level to tell us what to do in Covid where what we'd all done was presented back to us.  Embarrassing pure ivory tower BS.



#25 GMO

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Posted 13 May 2020 - 10:39 AM

Our facility :(

 

Oh my god!  We've had 8 confirmed cases in our facility but fortunately no deaths.






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