In the world of food processing and packing, we spend a great deal of effort focusing on production efficiencies and lowering labor cost per unit to improve profitability. However, fresh food processing presents a number of challenges that requires additional focus on improved product yield.
The challenges of fresh food processing are obvious. Our products fluctuate in availability and demand based on seasonal harvest. And most impactful is the fact that our product has limited shelf life. These obvious traits of the industry simply means we have less room for error as it pertains to processing and getting our end product to market. Not so obvious is the long-term, micro-level planning that needs to take place in order to eliminate waste; thereby increasing our yields and profits.
Of course eliminating product waste requires focus on improved cutting techniques, grading diligence and understanding the client’s needs. But to truly impact improved product yields, operation managers must develop a yield culture over a period of time and apply this top-of-mind awareness to all areas, including pre and post-production. Yield initiatives should also focus on:
- Education: It is imperative that from the beginning to the end of the process that everyone is educated on how they impact yields. This includes sales people and account managers.
- Supply Chain Shelf Life: Inserting processes throughout the entire supply chain is critical. Controlling temperature, storage and handling pre-processing is imperative.
- Procurement: Understanding the procurement process in necessary for quality control. The inventory management of suppliers, prevailing market conditions, and commodity volume requirements affect your ability to increase product yield.
- Inventory: Flawless inventory management at your facility is critical.
- Transportation: We must be fluent in securing the load.
- Facility Shelf Life: Maximizing shelf life through proper temperature, wrapping and ventilation is key to increased yield.
Lastly, the following consumer demands, market conditions and regulations have also created challenges as it relates to increasing product yield:
- Increased demand for organic and allergen free produce
- Increased focus on serving size based consumer demand
- More stringent brix requirements
These fluctuating factors must also be considered throughout the entire process in order to focus on improved product yield.
To learn how we improved yield, reduced unit labor cost and improved pounds p/man hour for a global processor of fresh cut produce in multiple North American plants, visit: Fresh Food Success
nGROUP performance partners are specialists in labor intensive process management for fresh food processors and packers. To learn more please visit www.nGROUP.biz.