How Automation Fosters Trust in the Workplace to Elevate Your Food Business
The best relationships are built on trust. For food manufacturers, establishing trust in the workplace extends to secure, reliable connections throughout the value chain is especially essential for long-term success – and it is especially a challenge as manufacturing and transportation disruptions continue to plague the industry.
Indeed, the most recent Edelman Trust Barometer indicates that the food and beverage sector is struggling to recover public trust in the post-pandemic period. Their study notes that some of the best ways to start building trust are to lead with facts, provide trustworthy and collaborative data, and interact with other trusted institutions.
Establishing a “trust-but-verify” approach with the right technology helps food manufacturers gather quality data, improve transparency and communication, and mitigate food safety risks at every stage to protect their business. In this article, we’ll explain how Icicle can help you foster a culture of trust within your business, as well as a community of trust with third parties, to elevate your business to greater success.
Become a Trustworthy Leader
To gain employee trust and increase employee retention, employers must demonstrate strong leadership skills that empower their employees to work as a team and develop professional skills. Leadership influences how well employees can collaborate efficiently to complete tasks and increase profits. As recent labour shortages cause even the biggest food brands to struggle with profitability, it is essential for companies to introduce management strategies that foster leadership, teamwork, and trust in the workplace.
To prevent employers from micromanaging, Icicle’s Task Management feature can automatically assign and alert staff to their daily tasks. Employees can check off tasks that they have completed directly in Icicle through their own devices, which can then be verified by the manager. Having clear tasks and accountability systems in place for employees allow managers to be more attentive to the needs of their staff and respond to problems on the production floor.
Additionally, Employee Assessments provide managers with a profile of each employee’s training and experience to help calculate risks when assigning tasks or assembling teams. This feature helps managers create a safe and comfortable environment where their employees have confidence in their work and opportunities for professional growth.
Utilize Automation to Strengthen Trust in the Workplace
Even with fully trained employees, a manual food safety system can cause managers to feel apprehensive about placing responsibilities on their staff. Manual documentation leaves a lot of room for human error, and even tiny mistakes can result in disastrous financial consequences for food manufacturers. However, the risk of financial loss can be greatly reduced with automation, making it easier for employers to build trust and confidence in their team.
Building automation into employee workflows requires a thoughtful design, as the co-founder and president of TMRW Foods knew when he chose Icicle for his business’ state-of-the-art production facility.
I’ve found that certain management systems are incredibly robust and very powerful, but if you’ve got chaotic information structures it doesn’t really help. People are not going to be able to use it, and as soon as you start creating doubt around the accuracy and the validity of the information in your system, the less effective it becomes.Dean Blignaut, Co-Founder and President, TMRW Foods
When Dean and his team started to implement Icicle, they took advantage of the opportunity to approach each part of production one piece at a time, until they had created a bulletproof series of steps with clearly delineated roles and responsibilities. They walked through simulated production runs together until everyone was familiar with the process and data-capture points, which Icicle helped them learn and remember through user-friendly prompts and tasks.
The TMRW Foods team then sat down at the end of each day to review the process again and reinforce the foundation of information at the core of their operations – all stored and facilitated by Icicle. With a strong foundation in place, TMRW Foods leveraged Icicle to create a production workflow that captured data at all the right points to foster trust in the workplace and could be replicated with any trained staff.
Ace Audits and Inspections to Foster Trust in Your Brand
Inspections and audits are often daunting, but necessary to show auditors that your company is doing due diligence in maintaining food safety, quality, and other standards at each stage of production. Compliance requires that you capture and track a large number of data points, a requirement easily enabled by automation technology as manual systems become increasingly untenable in today’s market.
P&S Frozen Foods used to spend about 90 minutes a day on inspections because of the sheer amount of paperwork their QA person had to dig through to present to auditors. When Icicle was implemented in their facility, their audit time decreased by 88% – a feat achieved through the power of automation and IoT integration:
Automation takes a lot of my workload off my hands. Before Icicle, I’d sit with a binder to verify every document, spend days of my life signing these things that could have been digitally verified. Now it’s one click and done. It makes no sense in hindsight to do it that way.Paul Tolnai, Operations Manager
Icicle’s automated software documents precise data to create an unbreakable traceability line as ingredients transform throughout the production line. The Verification Feature lets you finalize inspections to lock files so they cannot be changed, showing transparency and trustworthiness to inspectors and auditors. All of this data is easily accessible from any secure computer, tablet, or mobile phone connected to the Icicle server.
Another benefit to having your data stored on the world’s most secure cloud system, is that it allows you to give auditors remote read-only access to your documents and further improve their trust in the workplace.
Obtain Third-Party Certifications From Trusted Organizations
As audits became a breeze for P&S Frozen Foods, they set their eyes on leveraging the same technology for SQF certification. SQF audits are notoriously difficult, but in return, third-party quality certifications increase trust in the food manufacturing process and allow manufacturers to expand their business to larger retailers like Costco and Sobey’s.
One of the most important aspects that auditors look for in a food safety system are complete data records on ingredients and production. With Icicle’s Enhanced Traceability Feature, inventory is controlled in real-time by tracking the lot codes of all receiving, production runs, shipping and recalls.
In the case of a potential recall, Icicle provides the ability to conduct automatic Mass Balance Calculations to track the location of all affected lots of a recalled ingredient, whether it is still in the facility or already in the hands of customers. Shrinkage that occurs during production is also taken into account so that every gram of the affected item is accounted for and appropriate action can be taken.
Mass Balance Calculations, as well as other Icicle automation features like Traceability Tests and Mock Recalls, can be conducted in a matter of minutes, and provides real-time visibility of the manufacturing process, showing auditors the ability to rapidly respond to potential recalls and limit financial loss.
Icicle’s Automation Technology Fosters Trust for the Food Industry
It can be difficult to build trust in the workplace, but automation is the solution to smoothly manage and grow your value chain. With features like task and inventory management all integrated into a single software, the extent of Icicle’s traceability only works to reap returns such as lower insurance rates and reduced costs.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about how Icicle can be smoothly implemented into your facilities to grow trust through your value chain and elevate your business.