The Importance of Operational Sustainability within the Food Manufacturing Industry

In a recent BrandStudio Food Dive article focusing on operational sustainability within the food manufacturing industry, Performance Solutions by Milliken leaders Jordan Workman, Director of Client Development, and Phil McIntyre, Managing Director, share their insights on the importance of this timely topic.

Workman encourages organizations to defer from continuing in a reactive mode (firefighting) and strive to get ahead of the ever-shifting trends in the industry (continuous improvement). For 2019, these trends include the desire for healthier, plant-based options, more environmental sustainability promotion, and more. Read the full article to learn more about all six trends affecting the industry this year.

Food manufacturers must recognize that operational sustainability should be used as a method to improve the speed, efficiency and productivity of a company’s response to industry trends, but how should they do this? According to Workman, “adaptability is necessary to stay productive and relevant in a hyper-competitive industry.”

Jordan continues, “Though a commitment to sustainability looks and sounds great, the actual work that companies will be required to implement to facilitate authentic change will require an all hands on deck approach.” By calling on seasoned industry professionals, who call themselves practitioners, Performance Solutions by Milliken works with committed leadership to put in place practices that benefit not only the client, but consumers as well.

In the article, Workman says, “If you’re making top-down decisions, you’re often making decisions through the lens of where you see the problem and not necessarily targeted to the core of where the problem lies.”

Sustainability initiatives could change your entire business culture from the ground up, so strategic practices that increase productivity and generate long-term and holistic improvement are a necessity that our practitioners are prepared to meet. While working with us, expect to have engagement within your organization from the most senior corporate level down through frontline associates to ensure a complete understanding and implementation of goals and initiatives in every facet of the company.

Performance Solutions by Milliken helps management discover relevant best practices on coaching and developing the organization’s staff to improve the overall quality of work as well as guiding leaders and managers on how to model necessary behaviors to aid in overall transformation within the food manufacturing industry. McIntyre says, “Many organizations fall victim to what we call the Snowman Approach. If you envision a three-part snowman, the top of the snowman is Leadership. Leadership is always bought in and ready to initiate change to support their strategies. The bottom-part of the snowman, the hourly workforce, is similarly always bought in. They want their job to be safer, more efficient, more fun, and most importantly they want to be empowered to help you with the change. But the middle part of the snowman, middle management, is continually overlooked. And this is where the resistance lies because as opposed to the parts on top of them and below them, they’re never initially bought in. Middle management needs to be taught their new role in the change, and not feel as if they’re losing control as empowerment grows. They need coaching and this is a difficult transition for many people.”

If an organization develops an ‘initiative approach’ and upends its operations to align with every specific trend that comes along, the response to future changes will falter and ultimately fail. McIntyre emphasizes the risk of an impending struggle from a rigid work environment. “When a workforce is not empowered, they have no proof of concept on which to rely to have faith in the change you want. When your work force is empowered,” says Phil, “employees will feel more confident in their ability to adapt to that change.”

Performance Solutions by Milliken operates through zero-based thinking, a performance management mindset where there is no acceptable level of failure: no poor quality, no breakdowns, no delays—the list goes on. This mindset forces companies out of “budget thinking,” or an acceptable, budgeted range of failure. It stretches the organization to perfection but is not an easy mindset to adopt.

As the food and beverage industry adapts to consumer’s needs and desires, specifically through operational sustainability initiatives, Performance Solutions by Milliken is ready and available to advise and implement long-standing and reliable practices that have proven to be successful in hundreds of organizations worldwide. PSbyM has been there. Reach out to learn more about how we can positively change the way you work.

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