The Power of Positive Energy: Driving Predictable Food Safety Outcomes

Introducing a Free Webinar on Predictable Food Safety Outcomes

On Tuesday 20th February, Klipspringer Director, Alex Carlyon was joined by Denis Treacy, former Chief Officer for Safety and Quality at Pladis Global, Lars Turner, Sales Director at FoodClean, and Reineke van Riemsdijk, Technical Quality Manager and Sustainability Lead at Nestlé Nespresso S.A, to discuss the way in which positive energy can be harnessed to secure predictable food safety outcomes. During the webinar, Denis revisited his Four Energies methodology and explained the principle of GOYA. The panel also explored the best approach to positive decision making, along with the secret to effective target setting. You can watch the full webinar below.


Speakers

Denis Treacy

Former Chief Officer for Safety and Quality, Pladis Global

Alex Carlyon

Director, Klipspringer

Reineke van Riemsdijk

Technical Quality Manager & Sustainability Lead at Nestlé Nespresso S.A

Lars Turner

Sales Director, FoodClean

Key webinar areas:

Revisiting the four energies of predictable and repeatable outcomes:

Strategy

Performance

Organisation

Culture


A guide to positive objectives and target setting.


GOYA - operating with positive intent on a daily basis.


The secret to positive decision making when issues occur.

Q&A

There was a Q&A section towards the end of the webinar. Due to the number of questions sent in, there wasn’t time for the panelists to answer in full. With this in mind, Denis Treacy kindly took the time to answer each query. You can find his answers listed below.

When it comes to setting positive targets, what role does sampling and testing play? For example, would the swabbing of equipment following a clean factor into positive target setting?

Put simply, sampling and testing should confirm what is already known and understood. It should also provide documented proof that a system or process is working. If you view sampling and testing as a ‘discovery process’, this suggests the system or process has not been fully or adequately risk assessed – left vulnerable, unpredictable, and liable to surprise.

How do I implement GOYA at my site and how do I ensure it becomes part of a routine practice?

This will work much the same as an Operational Excellence Program. First, you need to identify areas for attention, such as GMP or Good Manufacturing Practices. You will then need to establish a ‘desired state’ to work towards, before deciding on the steps that need to be taken to achieve this goal. The GOYA Principle comes into play when you engage everyone at your site – dividing the steps into manageable parts with specific areas of focus. These areas could relate to factory zones, departments, or groups of people. This strategy will then be deployed in a similar manner to a Strategic Objective Cascade – making sure to implement a routine monitoring process.

If we take the example of a GMP improvement condition, the ‘desired state’ would include elements such as shadow boards, marcation areas, dedicated storage, and photos of the ‘desired state’. The zone in question will also be inspected on a regular basis, with the inspection comparing how the area should look to how the area does look. Instead of simply identifying ‘non-compliances’, you will need to ask: why? This question should be asked of every difference to the ‘desired state’. You will then need to investigate and identify sustainable changes that will rectify these differences.

How can a ‘Crisis Management Process’ be included in a system of Positive Decision Making? Surely, by its very description, ‘Crisis Management’ denotes failure?

If we consider Crisis Management to be a rare and unique event that only happens when disaster is imminent, then it never will form part of a Positive Improvement Process.

However, if we imagine a pyramid, with Crisis and Disaster at the very top, our positive focus will be drawn to the base where many tiny routine occurrences, such as a product that is out of specification, indicate opportunities for improvement.

Crisis Management should be viewed as an anomaly process that has routine at the base and escalates gradually. Each event should be understood, with its nature positively investigated and a sustainable change implemented.

The escalation would look like this:

Out of Spec Product – Adjust process

Out of Spec Product – Re-process product

Out of Spec Product – Send to waste

Out of Spec Product – Product presents a risk

The situation is only a crisis if this escalation happens outside the control of the plant – i.e. if the product is already in the supply chain.

Surely most academics, audit bodies, and educational institutes recognise a Positive Food Safety Culture as the single most important area of focus when it comes to improving food safety?

Chasing the mirage of a Food Safety Culture without some fundamental basics in place could actually increase vulnerability, unpredictability and the likelihood of failures. Instead, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there a robust and reliable Planned Preventive Maintenance (PPM) process in place at my site?
  • Does the Operations team manage the Critical Control Points?
  • Does product, process, pest or hygiene monitoring ever deliver ‘surprises’?
  • Is production subject to ‘Positive Release’, with products checked and tested before being released into the supply chain?
  • Does the procurement team have authority to change material sources, specifications, or delivery formats without reference to the HACCP team?
  • Does my site have a less than favourable Health and Safety performance?

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, Food Safety Culture becomes an irrelevant ideal.

Why is setting targets for the reduction of Foreign Bodies described as a ‘failure measure’ and not one that promotes improvements in food safety?

Here, the positive objective would be to deliver measurable foreign body prevention objectives, such as an ever increasing Engineering PPM compliance, the positive control of segregation, researched and optimised cleaning schedules, or training and competency development. In contrast, foreign bodies or any non-spec inclusions, be they physical, chemical or biological, are a fail.

What is the best approach to adopt if you are struggling to push through ideas at your site?

If you feel like you are saying the right thing, but it’s not being heard, I would recommend sitting down with someone from your Finance Team. You need to find out how much of a positive financial impact your idea could have on the wider business. This should help you to get through to people who are primarily focused on costs, savings, financial targets, factory downtime ect… Say you go to your Operations Team with a £10,000 opportunity, they are much more likely to engage with your idea than if you turned up with a partially-developed plan.


Culture Compass

After 40 years in global FMCG leadership, Denis Treacy founded Culture Compass with the intention of energising a performance culture for individuals, teams, and organisations. Specialising in Safety, Quality, Food Safety, Food Defence, Business Continuity, and Crisis Management, Culture Compass has been securing predictable, sustainable outcomes for almost half a decade.


Klipspringer

For over 20 years, Klipspringer has supported thousands of food and beverage production sites across Ireland and the UK. By working closely with industry professionals, we have helped these sites to secure final product integrity and compliance with confidence. Our innovative products and solutions have also helped teams to reach the desired standards of food safety management.

If you would like further support in achieving Predictable Food Safety Outcomes, simply fill out the form below.


    Effective Food Safety Management: The Four Energies Needed for Predictable and Repeatable Results

    Introducing a Free Webinar on Food Safety Management

    On Tuesday 12th December between 1-2pm, Klipspringer Director, Alex Carlyon was joined by Denis Treacy, former Chief Officer for Safety and Quality at Pladis Global and John Carter, former GFSI Board Member, to discuss the four energies required for predictable and repeatable outcomes in Food Safety Management. Together, they shared practical advice and insights from careers spanning over 40+ years in the food industry, with a live Q&A session at the end of the webinar.


    Speakers

    Denis Treacy

    Former Chief Officer for Safety and Quality, Pladis Global

    John Carter

    Former GFSI Board Member

    Alex Carlyon

    Director, Klipspringer

    Key webinar areas:

    Is there such a thing as Zero Defect Food Safety?


    The Four Energies of predictable and repeatable outcomes:

    Strategy

    Performance

    Organisation

    Culture


    A closer look at the importance of Functional Equity.

    Q&A

    There was a Q&A section towards the end of the webinar. Due to the number of questions sent in, there wasn’t time for the panelists to answer in full. With this in mind, Denis Treacy kindly took the time to answer each query. You can find his answers listed below.

    What is the most important action I can take to improve the part of the culture that encourages being curious when we find failure (rather that judging others), especially when some colleagues are busy spinning on the spot?

    It is difficult to determine a single action without understanding the specific challenges within an organisation. I would start with questions such as: Who are the stakeholders? What does the internal business culture promote? However, some initial advice would be to implement a Continuous Improvement Process linked to a HSE style, near miss reporting strategy. This will encourage everyone at your site to look for, identify, and report anything that could reduce efficiency, increase risk, or promote the ‘papering over’ of issues. 

    Do you have any advice on implementing these strategies into a work force that has 80% different nationalities? The language barriers in my workplace makes training so much harder.

    The more diverse a workforce, the more opportunity there is for you to reach a better solution. After all, different cultures may have experience of different routes to success. The obvious challenge is to ensure the language of the manufacturing plant is common, the signage is visual not verbal, the training and direction is understood, and the daily behaviours set the unspoken example. 

    What can a business do to incentivize the independence of its staff?

    Giving authority to those who know and understand how processes can be run optimally (e.g. process operators or inbound materials teams) can be a very successful route to take if carefully planned and well supported. This can have a dramatic impact on the extent to which individuals and teams become invested in their work. I have a few examples that I have used in the past. One is to put technical drawings of the plant up on its walls before asking your operators and craft team members to write any issues and ideas onto the drawings. Encourage them to think about how the plant could run more efficiently, with less waste, better compliance to spec, and a more effective approach to the cleaning of kit.

    Is there any real difference between what we measure and what we target when it comes to performance indicators for Hygiene/Food safety? 

    Emphatically, yes! There are many areas we want to understand and monitor (PI’s and KPI’s), so we have a breadth of data to interrogate and turn into information that will support our decisions. This data will lead us to make changes and improvements across all manner of areas. However, when we set targets for colleagues within our organisation, it becomes about what they are most likely to focus on, so we have to be mindful that these targets need to deliver not just the objective, but the broader business benefit and motivation. I will cover this in further detail during the second FSI webinar. 

    What software is suited to a maintenance team in manufacturing that needs to log and prioritise issues that need to be fixed? We currently have a reactive maintenance team, as opposed to a proactive one that carries out preventative maintenance. 

    There is a plethora of software platforms that enable the creation of PPM (Planned Preventative Maintenance), so it is a case of assessing the various merits, costs and integration capabilities. At one point, my preferred system was SAP PM, but I recognise it was very expensive and it took a huge resource to populate the data flush before it became operational. If there is already some kind of system or engineering LAN (Local Area Network) available, you may be able to get a PM module on top.

    In smaller businesses, where main decisions are undertaken by owners and not trained professionals, how can you drive improvement when the mindset of the senior manager / strategy of the business is to take large risks and to save money?

    Anyone would struggle to get traction in a business with leaders who are deliberately reckless, knowingly negligent, and deliberately putting consumers at risk. Individuals like this are criminals. However, there is a means by which you could encourage the right direction in a business focussed on margins and that is to use margins to your advantage. If you can demonstrate your ability to generate value (in terms of financial gains), you may well find that you have a platform to build off. You need to start thinking commercially and get into the detail of budgets to see where your solutions could positively impact costs. Don’t just focus on the theoretical ‘cost of quality’ or the avoidance of penalty costs, these factors won’t motivate a factory manager. 

    What does GOYA stand for?

    GOYA has an element of Gemba walks to it, but without the part where you wait for an event to investigate or a particular team to deliver it. A good example of this is when I created some simple pocket cards to brief team members and visitors to sites (e.g. internal leaders). This enabled them to create a valued intervention whenever they walked the plant. GOYA is about driving an internal culture through the ‘supervision’ barrier and into the “independent” category. Imagine walking into a manufacturing facility, meeting the Factory Manager and asking them questions such as: Is your factory operating safely today? Is it in a clean & hygienic condition? Are all of the products you are making totally in spec? If so, let’s go and check together. This exchange reflects an example principle of GOYA. 

    What would be the benefit of having Hygiene/Food Safety as part of the leadership team business strategy? 

    Business leadership teams decide on the strategy and direction of a site. They also make major decisions relating to resources, budgets and capital allocations. They do this based on the risks they are aware of, or understand. If elements of their responsibility as leaders are not well represented or understood, they will make less appropriate decisions and may not invest effectively. It therefore benefits any organisation to ensure all risks (such as food safety) are represented at a leadership level, so the most appropriate decisions are made to minimise risk.

    Surely a business that focuses energy, effort, and investment into driving a food safety culture would have stronger performance than one that doesn’t? 

    Not necessarily. If a business lacks the strategic intent to resource the factors that drive a reduction in food safety risks, if it does not qualify or measure the right performance indicators, if it doesn’t nurture the right energy around how it communicates, food safety culture will not be a sustainable change and the business will find itself falling foul of recurring issues. In this instance, food safety culture will only ever exist as a campaign that begins with a flourish, but decays over time. 

    Do you have any advice on turning your ideas into action? I have a few managers that don’t seem to be listening to me regarding my continuous improvement ideas. 

    Identify how your ideas will reduce costs, put a financial argument together that delivers a cost or resource reduction (you may need to think laterally about how that gets delivered and it may not be in a budget you control). Then, find stakeholders (like the finance or ops team) to review it and support your argument. I guarantee this will start the internal debate. 

    In the webinar, you mentioned that remaining curious is essential when dealing with setbacks and problems, yet earlier, you stated that targeting failure will lead to failure in itself. Please can you elaborate and clarify this difference. 

    Using negative measures of failure, such as consumer complaints, to target quality improvements could motivate teams to focus on redefining the measure, reclassifying consumer feedback, or trying to pass responsibility for consumer defects elsewhere. Targeting improvements in areas such as process capability allows for a more collaborative effort in driving reduced defects and better outcomes. I will cover this in further detail during the second FSI webinar. 

    A major pain point for our business is getting larger chains to improve their customer experience in a way that covers all ingredients and not just the 14 main allergens. Supply Chain leaders find it difficult to collect data sheets from suppliers which means their allergen communications to customers are often very risky.

    This is all about understanding the key issues at play: the size of the operation, the transient nature of the workforce, and the unknowns in the supply chain. The primary solution is to work with the information you have to create a Risk Reduction Strategy. You can then use your Risk Assessment framework to identify areas where you could improve, tighten, or even relax controls. Finally, list these objectives in order of priority, starting with the data or intervention that will give you the biggest risk reduction.

    Can we apply the concepts of: unconsciously incompetent, consciously incompetent, consciously competent, unconsciously competent to your route map towards Zero Defect Food Safety?

    This is indeed a platform I have used in that respect and one which will help to facilitate the growth of competence and capability within a function. Being able to understand what your team members don’t know and why they don’t know it, is the first step to growing their awareness. For example, someone who has never suffered from a food intolerance nor had any dealings with anyone who has a food intolerance, may be completely unaware of the problem. They are unlikely to become competent just because they have ‘had the training’ so will remain a threat to food safety. In other words, one is unlikely to be able to drive a car just because they’ve read an instruction manual. 


    Culture Compass

    After 40 years in global FMCG leadership, Denis Treacy founded Culture Compass with the intention of energising a performance culture for individuals, teams, and organisations. Specialising in Safety, Quality, Food Safety, Food Defence, Business Continuity, and Crisis Management, Culture Compass has been securing predictable, sustainable outcomes for almost half a decade.


    Klipspringer

    For over 20 years, Klipspringer has supported thousands of food and beverage production sites across Ireland and the UK. By working closely with industry professionals, we have helped these sites to secure final product integrity and compliance with confidence. Our innovative products and solutions have also helped teams to reach the desired standards of food safety management.

    If you would like support with your own Food Safety Management procedures, simply fill out the form below.