The Coronavirus has had a tremendous impact on nearly all aspects of our lives. Consumer behavior has shifted toward shelf-stable (foods that can be safely stored at room temperature), frozen, and other longer shelf-life foods. How long these trends persist remains unclear, but like other essential industries, food processors must be quick adopters to this “new normal” and the safety needs to do so. Social distancing technology may help in certain areas.
They need to ensure that customers have reliable access to safe, nutritious, and high-quality foods. Safe, being the key indicator. For the most part, food processors understand their purpose and have demonstrated that they are remarkably capable of agility.
Good manufacturing practices such as thorough hand washing, exceptional sanitation, fundamental personal protective equipment (PPE), and training have long been standard practices, which has given this industry a real head start. Kudos to them. Is this enough however. What about product development and process design employees? Maintenance and engineering?
Adopt social distancing technology where it makes sense.
The food industry is often supported by experts who assist in product development and process design as well as maintenance and engineering. New social distancing technologies can solve a real problem in these areas. These teams can still be accessed safely using newly available technologies.
For example, working with support and engineering staff with technologies such as a social distancing proximity sensing mobile app or a new social distancing wristband can make for safe interactions and traceability if there are issues.
Social distancing tools. Here are a couple examples that are worth investigating…
Mobile App: A social distancing proximity sensing mobile app can empower employees to understand their physical proximity to co-workers and be alerted in real-time to social distance violations.
Wristband: Social distancing wristbands can create a record of the interaction between each user. In the case of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, you can use data collected by the bands to internally trace which specific employees might need testing and quarantine.
To truly support your teams during these difficult times, your organization needs to seriously consider deploying newly available social distancing and tracing tools. Tools that can provide your employees the peace of mind they need to perform their jobs safely and just as important comply with government mandated social guidelines. Also, social distance technology can help businesses capture valuable analytics on hot zones and enforce safety measures in work environments where it would otherwise be next to impossible.
As an industry we are quickly learning new ways to protect our people and ensure our food processing systems operate safely and efficiently. Many of these changes will be challenging but are important for success today and in the future. Good luck and be safe.
If you would like more information on the new technologies discussed here? Let’s Talk.