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A Change in Mindset Can Realign the Course

2 April 2020

We find ourselves currently in times of great uncertainty. We can feel overwhelmed. We can feel alone. This is the time that we need each other and for solutions to problems we face within our businesses to find light. It is our reason for writing this newsletter; read on for a message of hope.

While we cannot change the crisis at hand, we can minimise the impact and maximise the recovery. Contingency planning is not just addressing the short-term interruptions and supply issues but planning for variable solutions in advance that help current pain to not be felt worse. Long-term sustainability consideration can help link your need to another’s and form a relationship of solution that benefits both parties. Let me explain:

Reduced Production – Some food manufacturers have seen a drastic reduction in production. There is uncertainty of when core business volume will return. Consider industries of mass meal production, such as airlines and childcare centre Central Production kitchens; they have the capacity to produce without a current client base.

Customer Base – Some food manufacturers are overwhelmed by the vast, current consumer base owing to their industry being held in high demand in light of Co-Vid 19. Consider ‘Çook Fresh’’, Health or Aged Care Centres. Whilst demand is high, with potential staff absences or kitchen closures threatening if virus links are made, these sites have no backup to meet their scheduled demands.

Solution: Reduced production Central Kitchens can link with high demand food manufacturers to lend their sites to service need. These food manufacturers also in turn benefit from diversifying risk, to eliminate not needing to close if Co-Vid 19 impacts the primary site. 

Capabilities – Inspiration and innovation are key to maximising business capability, even when demand for core business has depleted. Consider distilleries and perfume manufacturers who have redefined themselves to produce hand sanitiser instead of their usual core product. What facilities or equipment do you possess that allows your business to produce an in-demand product for this season? With some tweaks to packaging, processing, and focussing on what industry is crying out for, your business might find itself offering a solution that benefits this current crisis and stabilises your own company.  Current opportunities worth investigating: individual meals, bulk family meal packs, bulk food in bags or trays. Looking at your capabilities as a facility in a new way may open doors to profit not ever considered previously.

So in light of this inspiration and our voiced belief in your capacity to operate outside the box, we leave you with this wisdom to note:

Production Methodologies – Your facility should now have a heightened level of Management for CCP’s (critical Control Points) including staff coming and going, visitors, contamination risks, stock coming into site, etc.

Staff Absences – Staff absences may come quick and last weeks or months not days. Staff should be upskilling for succession planning to cover all levels of staff absences. Training programs and inductions should be up to date to help new staff that may need to cover shifts. Are you prepared for a kitchen with 75% or more new staff?

Social Distancing – This can be difficult in a production kitchen, however separating crews by splitting production over two shifts may assist avoiding a complete shut down, if Co-Vid 19 strikes an employee. Segregating areas of the kitchen and offices and also staggering lunch breaks can also help. 

Kitchen Closure – Prepare yourself for a worst-case scenario of full kitchen closure. Can you set up a temporary kitchen somewhere else or can you get someone else to cover the food supply? Coordinate facilities that could be utilised should this occur.

Back up stock – Several facilities are already starting to generate frozen backup stock. Control your stock, know what you have and what you may be creating larger reserve stores of. Make sure you have storage space organised well in advance. This may be a temporary container freezer or somewhere off site all together.  

Contracts – Maintain existing contracts by having backup stock or having mutual arrangements in place for continuity of supply in extreme circumstances. Rather than telling your customers you cannot supply, tell them what your contingency is if your kitchen is closed. Now is a time to connect with other facilities to support each other. Sharing a little now means you don’t lose your whole contract, if your business is forced by Co-Vid 19 to close.

In closing – our close relationships with our large network of customers from both production facilities and individual sites reveal needs that with a little networking can protect businesses from being impacted more than we already are. We are honoured to help facilitate these connections and have contacts on both sides to maximise support. Please keep in touch if this is of value to you and know we are there to help.

“With the new day, comes new strength and new thoughts” Eleanor Roosevelt

May you be gifted with new thoughts to help safeguard your business and personal lives through this time.