Covid-19 has us completely out of our minds right now. I've seen varying methods being used by people in my life of coping. Experts say we are grieving and I believe it! We really are - we're grieving our idea of freedom and moral code and everything else.
THERE IS HOPE!
There are a few people I see are making the best of this situation by improving their situations in one way or another. Many of my friends are starting to be grateful for the downtime (if they are not essential workers) and excited to spend time with their families without the hustle and bustle of their routines and active lives. Some are starting to daily projects around their homes such as deep cleaning or things they've put off for years. They have opted to improve!
That brings me to the situation at hand in the food manufacturing industry. There are two things that I am seeing:
- Some have sped up and are so busy they cannot think straight. I feel you - you are essential - BREATHE! One Day at a Time. If this is you and you've read so far, go down to the very bottom and look at #7 what we can do for you!
- Others might feel like they are being left behind and having to lay off people to stay afloat. It is difficult to stay positive and improve during this, but IMPROVING is KEY! YOU are who we are talking to today!
If you are one of the food companies that are sitting idle while this settles down, might I suggest that you think of a few things to do during this strange time. This is by far not a complete list, but it is developed with social distancing in mind.
1. First, if you are a decision maker, check out the SBA options for aid during this - try not to lay off all your people if you don't have to - there are loans to help with this to try to assist you and your employees.
2. Ask for other assistance to improve your programs
3. CLEAN! Yes, clean your facility - stay in it at minimum once/week to clean and sanitize the facility thoroughly.
4. Conduct internal audits of the facility - glass breakage inspection, Preventive Maintenance, and pest inspections.
5. Inventory management - if you're in fresh foods, you might need to find a way to either donate them or to manufacture something to not lose the inventory.
6. Catch up on your training.
7. Check in on your supplier compliance status
8. Hire a trained consultant to do a virtual gap audit on your programs
9. Update procedures and policies
10. Label compliance
11. Catch up on emails - (purposely put last - NO ONE WANTS TO DO THIS!)
HOW WE CAN HELP!
If you are in a situation that you need any assistance on any of this, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are trained food safety professionals with a growing number of years (exceeding 150 years) of experience in quality assurance, food safety industry grounded in food safety, microbiology, environmental health and FDA and USDA regulations. If you need help with anything, we can most likely help or know people that can! Your consultants have time on their hands - let us help you! Here is a quick list of things we could do for you RIGHT NOW.
1. Virtual GAP audit on your programs to FSMA FSVP, PCQI, Intentional Adulteration
2. Virtual BRC GAP audit for Starter BRC Program, Food Issue 8, Agent/Broker Issue 2,
3. Review your HACCP plans and help you tweak
4. Develop SOPs, Policies, Procedures, and Forms
5. Training: HACCP, PCQI, FSMA
6. FSVP Verifications/Programs
7. Supplier Compliance Management - turn it over to us, so you can focus on the logistics.
8. Label review
OTHER CREDIBLE SOURCES
SBA GUIDANCE PAGE (Small Business Administration is offering loans and assistance - talk to your loan officers at the banks for more details as well!)