Finding skilled labor is a consistently hot topic for plant managers. Once you fill those hard-to-fill positions, how do you retain employees? More importantly, how do you keep employees safe in the food processing industry as product demand increases? Ultimately, labor and safety trends go hand-in-hand with changing consumer demands. The question is, how do food processing operations prioritize labor and safety concerns in light of demand?
In the past, regulatory agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have taken the lead when it comes to food safety trends. However, as consumers navigate the Information Age, they expect more and more transparency from processing operations. Food processing professionals are expected to communicate high labor and safety standards to the consumer upfront – or risk losing their business. This can be a challenge with product demand at an all-time high.
Cutting-Edge Hygienic Practices
Hygienic practices have always been important, but today’s consumers expect access to companies’ labor and safety standards – which makes hygiene more important than ever before. For that reason, we send all of our product designers to mandatory hygienic training before they work with individual food processing operations. This training covers everything from easy-to-clean design to ergonomic innovation, making food processing plants comfortable and safe for employees. This allows our designers to spearhead unique projects ranging from hygienic control panel design to slope-top storage boxes to eliminate standing water. Not only do these practices keep employees safe, but also they help your operation stay efficient to keep up with demand.
Robotic Technology and Labor
Historically, food processing has been a difficult industry to automate. However, recent technological advancements have made both Industrial and collaborative robotic technology significantly more applicable to the food industry. This allows automation technology to take the place of employees during repetitive, potentially harmful tasks like cutting, slicing, or sorting.
The food processing industry presents several common applications for robotic technology:
- Robotic cutting and slicing
- Robotic cleaning for safe working environments
- Vision-guided robots to sort products
Not sure where to install robotic technology? If you have an area of your plant with high levels of continuous repetitive actions, that’s a great place to start. Utilizing robotic technology allows your operators to put their skills to work in new and innovative ways while increasing overall efficiency to keep up with demand.
How We Can Help
At EnSight Solutions, we begin by partnering with plants and going through their safety concerns one by one. From there, we work with plant operators to improve overall sanitary and ergonomic design. That includes everything from safety cages and mechanical guarding to outdated electrical circuitry. Finally, we work with our design team to initiate efficient protocols, giving us some of the best lead times in the business.
Curious about labor and safety trends in light of demand? Contact us today to learn more. With more than 50 years of experience in the food industry, we want to anticipate your needs and take your food processing operation to the next level. We’ll find a way to help your operation keep up with demand while prioritizing positive safety and labor practices.