Tag Archives: alchemy systems

Alchemy Systems Acquires Chilton Consulting Group

Chilton will expand Alchemy’s service offerings for the Global Food Safety Initiative. In addition, the company plans to expand the implementation of its Total Operational Performance System (TOPS) to help clients optimize performance and profitability.

Alchemy_logoAlchemy Systems, the global leader in food and workplace safety for the food industry, has acquired Chilton Consulting Group.

Chilton is an industry-recognized consulting firm that helps food companies navigate complex food safety standards, improve regulatory readiness, and drive frontline employee performance.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 70 percent of workers are either unengaged or actively disengaged. Alchemy’s training, coaching, and communications programs help food companies engage with their frontline workers to ensure the safety and quality of the food supply. Alchemy programs also improve worker safety and productivity. Every month, Alchemy helps impact the performance of 2 million frontline workers at over 10,000 locations.

“The food industry faces tremendous operational, consumer, and regulatory pressures,” said Alchemy CEO Jeff Eastman. “Chilton’s deep capabilities in frontline safety and operations will enable us to make the food industry safer and more productive, from farm to fork.”

The Chilton Consulting Group team will join Alchemy’s professional services organization, which will be led by Jeff Chilton, the founder of Chilton Consulting Group.

“Our firm has more than 18 years of experience solving the unique needs of hundreds of food processors and manufacturers,” said Chilton. “With our combined expertise, we can help the entire food chain improve their workplace safety, food safety, and operations.”

Chilton will expand Alchemy’s service offerings for the Global Food Safety Initiative. In addition, the company plans to expand the implementation of its Total Operational Performance System (TOPS) to help clients optimize performance and profitability.

For more information, visit Alchemy Systems.

Holly Mockus, Product Manager, Alchemy Systems

Real Training Needs – Time and Resources

By Holly Mockus
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Holly Mockus, Product Manager, Alchemy Systems

With the announcement on September 19, 2014 of the released re-proposals to the main FSMA-related rules – Preventive Controls for both Human and Animal Food, the Produce Safety Rule, and the Foreign Supplier Verification Program – it is time to take another look at the real need within the food industry related to training and education.

The word ‘train’ in some form or format appears over 100 times in the Produce Safety rule and the Preventive Controls for Human Food documents. One Hundred Times! This is clear indication that it’s time to take another look at the training programs in place today.

When asked, managers and supervisors responsible for training today typically respond that their biggest challenges or needs are having the time and resources available to conduct meaningful training for the workforce. Gone are the days where a ‘good’ training program consisted of shoehorning a training session into a segment of line downtime and hoping for enough time to cover all the learning objectives. As regulatory and customer emphasis on employee empowerment and engagement continues to escalate – food industry training programs must grow and evolve.

Here are some basic areas that need the proper time and resource dedication for maximum impact:

  • An analysis to determine gaps in the current training program should be very robust. Don’t skimp on the resources needed to do an effective job here. The use of this data is the first steps on the training journey and becomes the cornerstone as you build employee expertise.
  • The development of content should not be under resourced at any step in the process. Content is critical in providing the ‘How’ and the ‘Why’ (Who, Where, and When too). Worry less about fitting the material into a specific time slot and more about the quality and applicability for the specific workforce audience.
  • Partnering with a Subject Matter Expert or a content provider is an investment that will pay dividends as employees soak in the knowledge and ask for more.
  • Delivering the content in an environment that is conducive to group training where there are now distractions, all questions and answers can be heard by the participants in another resource that is critical to the success of a robust and effective program. Learning labs for more one-on-one self-directed learners are another means of providing knowledge to the workforce without having to incur line downtime. An investment that will pay for itself in a relatively short period of time.
  • Coaching employees for success in one of the best gifts that a supervisor or manager can provide. Constructively correcting incorrect behaviors and positively reinforcing good behaviors may take good people skills and a little extra time. Making it a habit costs very little and will provide a clear concise roadmap throughout the training process.

Training is a journey, not a destination. Teaching ‘how’ starts the journey – ‘why’ builds the culture. Spending time and resources for training should be a no-brainer for the food industry today. Stop looking at training as time spent losing operational effectiveness and start looking at training as the best investment you can make in your people, products and brands!

Hear the author speak more on Food Safety training at the Food Safety Consortium, November 17-18, 2014, Schaumburg, IL. Click here for more details and to register.

 

Holly Mockus, Product Manager, Alchemy Systems

10 Training Concepts for an Effective, Engaged Workforce

By Holly Mockus
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Holly Mockus, Product Manager, Alchemy Systems

Effective training programs are the cornerstone of a high performing workplace. Providing the basic knowledge to workers and reinforcing the need to apply that learning in their daily activities are just two critically important facets of a well thought out training system.

Here are 10 concepts that need to be implemented to bring training and education full circle and to provide forward momentum in the process of developing a fully engaged highly productive workforce.

  1. Set learning objectives – determine first what the key points or factors are that will be influenced by this knowledge exchange and how will the outcomes be measured.
  2. Create the content – tailor the message or training information to the specific audience for maximum absorption and comprehension.
  3. Deliver the content – ensure the set-up is conducive to learning. Keeping the message relevant to the workers level of comprehension and using real life examples that they can relate to is a best practice.
  4. Keep training top of mind – use awareness programs as visual and audio prompts that keep the topic out in front of the organization. When everyone walks the walk and talks the talk it makes it harder for the individual leaner to forget what needs to be done and how to do it.
  5. Verify comprehension – use testing, observation and constructive feedback to help employees apply what they have been taught. Be sure that feedback is constructive not punitive and is delivered in real time for maximum effectiveness and greater adoption by the worker.
  6. Track and trend using metrics – Measurement of desired outcomes should be used as a yardstick to help determine if the content, delivery and application of the training is on track or needs course correction.
  7. Never pass up an opportunity to train – refresher training on a regular basis is needed for any program to be effective. Retraining is also very impactful when used as a corrective action or as part of an investigative process.
  8. Keep it fun – capture the learner’s attention by using bright colorful presentations, games or game show formats, and some light humor. A little friendly competition between departments is a great way to engage the workforce while promoting the learning process.
  9. Use positive reinforcement – those that absorb and apply need to be recognized and reinforced. Don’t just say thank you. Recognize the positive impact of their good work habits and how their application of those work habits has resulted in good outcomes.
  10. Hold people accountable – employees that are unwilling to follow training principles need to be held accountable with appropriate consequences. Deciding in advance what the consequences are and hold all employees to the same level of accountability will drive continuous improvement and strengthen the overall training program.

These 10 basic training concepts will provide an excellent cornerstone to support programs across an organization and drive consistency, accountability and employee engagement.

Hear the author speak more on food safety training at the Food Safety Consortium, November 17-18, 2014, Schaumburg, IL. Click here for more details and to register