Three essential lessons for a safe feed chain
In my blogs I try to convey the themes that are important to GMP+ International as clearly as possible. But in some cases, I talk to someone and think: 'Exactly! I could not have said it better!' This happened recently during a multi-day training session with our Registered Consultants. Together with the group we visited the commodity trader Cefetra B.V. in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. I would like to share the three most striking quotes I heard there.
By JOHAN DEN HARTOG
Managing Director, GMP+ International
31 October 2019
Cefetra has been GMP+ FSA certified since the early 1990s. During that time, the company saw the feed chain change: the market matured, the chain became more predictable (and therefore more stable) and the number of incidents decreased. As a major player in the global commodity trade, Cefetra played an important role in that improvement. Therefore, it was not surprising that Cefetra representatives had the full attention of our group, consisting of Registered Consultants from various countries and employees of GMP+ International.
1. “GMP+ FSA is the foundation of your quality management system, but it doesn’t stop there.”
Audrey Rensen, Quality Manager at Cefetra, was clear about this: completing a checklist is not enough. Of course, if your company meets the standards of GMP+ FSA, it earns a certificate and contributes to safe feed. But does everyone in the organization understand why they do what they do? Do they understand the philosophy behind GMP+ FSA? And perhaps even more important: what is the internal culture like? The board and management must be aware of their exemplary role. They determine the standard within the organization. At a professional company, animal feed safety is not a dead certificate on the wall, but rather a living culture.
2. “Be a source of knowledge for customers and suppliers.”
Strictly speaking, the responsibility of a company stops with its own employees. But in practice there is also a lot to be gained outside the company walls. During the meeting in Rotterdam, the spokesperson of Cefetra emphasized the importance of connecting with customers and suppliers, building long-term relationships and sharing knowledge. Because this contributes to a stable, reliable feed chain. Do customers and suppliers understand the "why" of certain standards? Do they know the risks? If you get the chance, do not hesitate to spread your knowledge within the chain.
3. “Contamination of a product can cost you a million in funds, but an issue with neglected feed safety will cost you your reputation.”
This is very confronting. In the animal feed sector, as in many other sectors, we are sometimes too focused on figures. That is understandable, because the margins are small. Yet it is important to look beyond the short-term gains. Under financial or time constraints, it may be tempting to rush safe feed procedures. Quickly, completed checked off the list, and done. If you're lucky, this might help you in the end. If you are unlucky, that carelessness or indifference could collapse your entire company. A mistake in a product or process results in delay and could costs you money. That is still better than keeping on going and damaging your reputation. Because you will make your money back in the end, but your reputation will be lost forever..
Ted Swinkels (Managing Director), Audrey Rensen (Quality Manager) and Wouter van der Poel (Quality Coördinator), your knowledge is worth being shared, which is duly noted. Thank you very much for your time and wise words!