Northeast Indiana says it is friendly to Dairy Processing
A regional development agency seeks food processors. Edy’s ice cream thrives because of a large supply of cream, the transportation infrastructure, low energy rates and a strong labor force.
Best practices in food safety
Todd Wallin, president of Ellison’s Bakery in Ft. Wayne, Ind., said the company employs the continuous improvement method in its operations.
“One of the areas we changed in our plant based on our learnings from [continuous improvement] was adding magnets on our crunch line. We have had metal detection for many years and this was an additional step to further protect our product and our customers and consumers,” he said.
Other best practices deal with product testing and employee safety. “With regards to food safety we are doing far more testing, both internal testing and testing we send to outside laboratories. We are testing more of our raw materials and nearly all of our finished goods for pathogens. In the baking industry this was not the norm just a few short years ago,” Wallin said.
The company also looked for ways to engage the employees in safety. “We launched a computer-based training program internally specifically for employee safety training, and also an employee lead safety committee. Just this year we launched a new safety rewards program with a prize lottery-type system,” said Wallin.
At the Kraft Foods’ plant in Kendallville, Ind., Dave Herrington, associate director, Kraft Safety & Environmental, said the focus was on employee and food safety. “When it comes to employee and plant safety, we have three broad focus areas:
Plant Manager Mike Hughes said the plant has implemented a Six Sigma process to train hourly and salaried employees to be Green and Black Belts using the DMAIC (design, measure, analyze, improve, control) process.
The plant is also following several lean processes such as 5S, visual management and center lining, Hughes said.
“A best practice has been the investment in our hourly technicians to use the DMAIC process. They have really shined and several have moved to other Kraft plants to share best practices. Another best practice has been the integration of the Continuous Improvement team into our marketing and business teams — looking at opportunities across the whole supply chain from end to end.”
— Sarah Kennedy