Because food plants are under immense pressure to find and retain skilled labor to perform
sanitation and cleaning, technology that
can automate tedious cleaning processes
is the future of food processing. With
that in mind, expect to see more food
manufacturers automating their sanitation
processes as a solution to today’s tight
labor market and ensuring the safety and
cleanliness of their facilities and products.
If you haven’t considered automating
your cleaning and sanitation processes,
there’s no better time than now.
Automation can help you tackle concerns
such as a shortage of skilled labor,
rising costs of doing business, a growing
population with a growing demand for food,
a need to reduce water use and avoiding
public health outbreaks. Most facilities see
a return on their investment in sanitation
equipment within a year to 18 months.
Though automating your facility’s
sanitation may seem daunting, here’s
some important advice for devising a
strategy that helps you identify the right
steps to take from the beginning.
1. Conduct A Sanitation
You won’t be able to develop a road
map towards implementing automated
solutions until you identify where you are
and where you need to go. That’s why
you must start by assessing your current
You’ll need to get a gauge on the
resources being used: people, chemistry,
water usage and time. How safe is your
plant during sanitation? How efficient is
the crew carrying out regular procedures?
Are there areas where you could be
saving time and resources?
It can be extremely valuable to get
an outside expert’s opinion on sanitation
processes in your plant. A consultant who
specializes in this area can conduct a
thorough evaluation, often spending several
days observing procedures and monitoring
staff while noting areas for improvement.
Then, the best solutions for automating
cleaning and sanitation will emerge.
2. Identify Hot Spots
There is always room for improvement
when it comes to food safety. An expert
consultant will frequently identify “hot
spots” in your plant. These are the areas
where the risk of contaminations is highest.
Harborage areas for bacteria and
places where pests may arise require
extra attention during sanitation. Perhaps
the most important benefit of automating
the sanitation process is how it creates a
repeatable and reliable process. A piece
of equipment does the job the same
way every time. It doesn’t get fatigued
or distracted, so the quality of work is
consistent. With automated processes,
you’ll have more confidence that hot spots
are being effectively cleaned.
While you’ll always need boots on the
ground and human eyes reviewing the
work of machines, automation greatly
reduces the chance of costly human
errors. Identify those hot spots and
automate those sanitation processes first.
3. Eliminate Menial Tasks
Sanitation practices are ripe for
automation. Sanitation requires
specialized skills and typically requires
employees to work overnight shifts in
potentially dangerous environments. This
can make it especially difficult to hire —
and retain — the right people. With skilled
labor difficult to find, some companies are
competing with other business functions
— such as manufacturing — for labor.
Since good sanitation help is truly hard
to find, you’ll want your existing crew
to provide you with as much value as
possible. Automated solutions help in this
regard because they can be designed to
complete many of the most monotonous,
basic duties. Look for tasks that are
5 Steps To Saving Time, Money And
Labor On Your Food Plant’s Sanitation
By Bob Ogren