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Penard

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 03:19 PM

Hello everybody,

I would like to know what is your opinion about the human factor in food industry?
Everybody knows that it's essential to know and to control technical and scientific points to have good products, that it's important too for some factories or some firms to have an efficient quality management system (BRC, ISO 22000...)...and the workmen?

What are your relationship with your colleagues, or your employees, or the workmen of your factory?

I am interested in your replies, because we have such represented countries in this forum that the perception is maybe completely different from one country to another one, or quite similar!

Regards,

Emmanuel.



Simon

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 08:06 AM

Good morning Emmanuel.

I think it was Deming who said there are no people errors just system failures. If so (and I agree) it is the responsibility of ‘management’ to create the environment, work systems and processes that are robust enough to reduce the opportunity for human error to the lowest possible level.

Of course, mistake proofing cannot always be 100% achieved, which then leaves scope for some human error and more work to be done (by management). Humans err when they are under-trained, under-whelmed, plain lazy or wilful. Whatever all roads lead back to management to develop the environment for employees to develop, grow and dare I say be happy.

Just my two pence worth.

Regards,
Simon


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Jarve

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 10:30 AM

I Have to agree with Simon, if you can control the workers by enhancing the work experience through training and good man management then the human error element minimises. The biggest problem from a Technical managers view is to make operational staff (particularly management) understand that technical people are working within the company to achieve the same objective as them i.e. to produce good quality, safe and legal products and to make the company (those who pay your wages) money.

You have to adapt a tactical approach when making technical decisions in fast moving production companies if ever there is a quality decision to be made, the first question I ask myself before I make a decision is "Am I likely to kill anyone with this product?" quickly followed by "Is it legal?" then a multitude of other questions related to amount produced, where it all is, how much will it cost to re-call\re-work, what impact on the company name could this have etc. etc. but it all boils down to if it compromises legal requirements or food safety then it absolutely must be stopped and all product dealt with. If it is a minor issue i.e. slight varience in colour\aroma - providing you agree it with the customer then you can explain the decision to your co-workers, rectify the problem and identify the cause, if the cause is human error do not jump all over the person or allow their supervisor\manager to do this because the person who's fault it is will be petrified they will lose their job and will already have adopted a defensive state of mind i.e. denial denial, denial. The best approach is to speak to the person directly try and find out why or how it happened then explain the problems it could potentially have caused and the actions that have been taken. It may well be this person has never in their life had their role truly defined to them and by making them realise just how important certain aspects of their job are they will hopefully be more dilligent in the future.

At the moment I am Technical Manager of a small production unit but I know every worker by name and can hold conversations with all of them and in the past when working in massive production units even though I possibly did not know the persons name I still talked to the staff and encouraged them to talk to me which allowed me the opportunity to find out to what level they had been trained and how well they understood their roles, which in turn allowed me to schedule and agree with production training times and courses for certain staff.



Penard

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 07:30 PM

Hi Simon and Jarve,

That's the best way for a continuous improvement...and Jarve shows it's possible to enhance and create this environment, what a great experience! You really know 'your boys', the workers you work with.
Listening and speaking with workers is essential to succeed in the function. That's not so easy to arrive in a factory and win the worker's trust - and first the boss's trust...above all when you're young!

But sometimes it's pretty hard to work as a Quality manager/ responsible. I've heard several friends of mine, and colleagues too in charge of Food safety who have some difficulties to work and keep their motivation from day to day because of some workers, the boss who refuses the real quality...the most difficult issue comes from the non-joining of the CEO, not so rare unfortunately!

I've worked in 2 companies - a little one, a very very big one, and I'm lucky to say I had never met such problems in my job - even though that wasn't easy every day as a QM, but it's the same thing everywhere!

Perhaps other experiences which are less comfortable?



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Posted 30 October 2007 - 11:32 PM

Dear Penard,

It's a good topic to produce very "strong" opinions.

The whole subject is very well examined in the ISO texts of course, particularly in the sense of putting the most common reason for failure to be with the upper management. This is one of the few parts which I immediately understood. :biggrin:

I much admire the philosophical comments made by Jarve. He must have a very persuasive manner, eg I remember nearly causing a riot when I changed a plug on an electric typewriter in a factory in Wales (not a union / qualified electrician).

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


Simon

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 07:38 AM

Great topic and excellent input. Jarve you put some important real life experience on my rather philosophical answer, but I conclude we are saying the same thing. I think the text books :rolleyes: they call your approach "management by walking around".
Of course it's very important that commitment to quality comes from the vision of the senior manager, it makes things much easier. However, I should not never underestimate my own very powerful ability to influence others by the personal changes I make, the actions I take, what I say and what I do. Workers decide who the leaders are by this type of criteria much more so than a stripe on the arm. For anyone who ever feels a victim of circumstance, you are a victim because you choose to be.


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Jarve

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 10:32 AM

I have always found that the Managers that actually talk and listen to their workers command far more respect than those who adopt a dictatorship role. I have worked in slaughterhouses and meat packing plants where some managers thought that the quickest way to get things done was to shout until something happens but predictably once the shouting stopped the workers revert back to the "old" routines.
The only time I have literally blown my top and exploded verbally on someone is when dealing with "stupidity" - when people have taken action without thought or concern for others "just because I can". Usually this means speeding a line up mechanically to produce more and in every instance "more" means incorrect, thus leading to time and money being spent on correcting the errors and ultimately making the "speeding up" slower and more costly.

I have just spent six months working with my current directors making our processing more "efficient" yet still maintaining the same quality as previously. We have achieved an increase in capacity that you wouldnt believe and as I write (Weds am) we have completed this weeks production, now we can produce in three days what used to take five days, by making simple adjustments to the production facility but most importantly working together. Of course we have to justify spending around £200K on the new bits of kit, but the savings on staff and energy will pay for that and it gives us an oppertunity to really tout for more business as we can now handle the extra demand.

Unfortunately for me it looks like I may have engineered myself out of a role shortly, but hey ho, there's plenty out there. :unsure:



Penard

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 12:38 PM

These rules are much more important when you work in the meat industry, that's right...You won't never win a fight against these guys who work in very hard conditions, sometimes very crude men (Iv'e known some of them for years, when you succeed in winning their trust you realize how wonderful the workers are)...
I completely agree with your point of view, that isn't so easy to implement on ground!

Perhaps someone has a different opinion regarding his own experience/ thoughts? It seems to me there are several inspectors in the forum discussion, it would be interesting to know your opinion too!

Emmanuel.



Simon

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 09:57 AM

I don't know if any of you have read - The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People". It made a big impact on me when I first read it a few years ago. So much so, it changed how I run my work and personal life and set me on a lifetime course of personal discovery. There is an article here that revisits the 7 habits described in Covey's book: Seven Habits Revisited: Seven Unique Human Endowments


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Penard

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 07:17 PM

Such an efficient continuous improvement! Thanks Simon, I hope my girlfriend won't say I have completely changed after reading this summary!

Regards,

Emmanuel.



Simon

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 09:16 PM

Such an efficient continuous improvement! Thanks Simon, I hope my girlfriend won't say I have completely changed after reading this summary!

Regards,

Emmanuel.

I'm sure she won't Emmanuel. Not unless you have decided to make some changes. :dunno:

Have a nice day.

Simon

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 05:08 PM

Seems I was right about engineering myself out of work - now back working in Sunny Manchester on garden leave awaiting a settlement :biggrin: . Going full circle back to meat products again.



Simon

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 07:15 PM

Seems I was right about engineering myself out of work - now back working in Sunny Manchester on garden leave awaiting a settlement :biggrin: . Going full circle back to meat products again.

Sorry to hear that Jarve. I hope you get fixed up soon with a fulfilling and rewarding position.

Regards,
Simon

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Penard

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 12:25 PM

Hi Jarve,

Sorry for the job, but I'm not worried about your abilities to find a new one...Moreover meat products are such a big business, it's so difficult to find right people who are interested in this job, with a good experience that it won't be difficult...
Keep us in touch as soon as you begin your next job, and don't forget to add your precious experience on the forum!

Regards,

Emmanuel.





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