food and beverage manufacturing, food and beverage, manufacturing, new normal

This article was co-written by Cathy Fisher, founder and president at Quistem, a global expert in quality management systems.

COVID-19 has disrupted manufacturing operations worldwide. The automotive industry was shut down and many other manufacturing sectors have been severely impacted. The food and beverage industry is no exception as manufacturers have been impacted in a number of areas. Some food and beverage companies are experiencing a variety of shutdown issues, while others are experiencing a need to run 24/7 due to surging demand. A number of disruptive events are contributing to the overall effect on manufacturing operations. The types of products, the locations of the facilities and the demographics of the employee base have all played a role in determining operational status.

As the food and beverage industry continues to deal with the crisis and moves toward recovery, one thing is certain; a plan needs to be put in place to begin the process. As plants that needed to shut down reopen and those that remained in operation move back to some sense of normalcy, management needs to ensure that it is done intelligently and safely. We know from our recent discussions with food and beverage manufacturers that leadership starts with an organized plan, a playbook that is proficiently managed to guide all activities dedicated to bringing back that normalcy. 

Food & Beverage Manufacturing Restart and Continuity Plan

On June 11, QAD and Quistem will be conducting a webinar for the food and beverage manufacturing industry to present a strategy to assist in the return to normal operations as well as the continuity of current business operations. The webinar will address key topics to consider when restarting operations after a complete or partial shutdown and steps to help retain business continuity after the disruptions created by the COVID-19 crisis.

To help manufacturers navigate the restart of their operations, we have used our industry experience combined with insights to look at operational readiness as the key to overcoming this disruption. We have identified 13 key topics for consideration, from evaluating potential risks to achieving a successful restart of manufacturing operations. These topics highlight key operational areas, looking at the risks and the actions that need to be taken to protect workers, food safety and product quality while fulfilling customer orders.

This webinar outlines a three-step plan for food and beverage manufacturers to follow as they begin to restart operations that were shut down and return all operations to business continuity. The plan includes:

  1. Managing and preventing the spread of COVID-19 at manufacturing facilities
  2. Restarting manufacturing operations that have been fully or partially shutdown
  3. Recovering operational stability

A 13-point Restart and Continuity Plan Checklist will be provided that can be used to manage the potential risks associated with the restart and recovery phases.

Managing the Risk and Impacts of COVID-19 in F&B Facilities

The first step to recovery is managing the crisis. The core principles to help guide managing COVID-19 risk planning at your facility center around three areas: 

  1. The need to prevent the virus from entering manufacturing facilities
  2. Reducing the risk of COVID-19 exposure and/or transmission
  3. The reaction plan when COVID-19 is detected in a facility

There are a great number of resources available with information on related topics and procedures including the CDC, OSHA, USDA and FDA.

Restarting and Recovering Food & Beverage Manufacturing Operations

Once a detailed assessment of the potential risks of resuming operations is performed and action plans are in place, food and beverage manufacturers can begin to address possible factors that could impact the future of their business. These “unknowns” include the financial stability of the supply chain, future product demand and sourcing channels as well as changes to occupational health and safety regulations.

This global crisis has provided a learning opportunity that can help businesses emerge stronger for the next crisis. Organizations should note, in particular, where process improvement potential exists for future operational efficiency and risk management and mitigation. By identifying these opportunities, organizations can put themselves in a better position to prepare for and address disruptive events like this in the future.

A successful recovery from the COVID-19 crisis for the food and beverage industry will require each organization to effectively manage the restart of its operations, while working collaboratively with its customers and suppliers throughout the supply chain. The first step is to join our webinar on June 11th at 1:00 pm CDT. After the webinar, you will be able to download the checklist to share with your organization and be on your way to recovery.