During the COVID-19 pandemic it has been challenging to operate a small meat plant. However, most small meat plants have been able to successfully stay in business. In fact, many small meat plants have increased productivity and grown during the pandemic. Small meat plants that have grown and prospered during the pandemic typically have done most or all of the following things.
Make sure products are safe and meet regulatory requirements
Nothing can destroy a small meat company’s reputation faster than having a food safety problem with one of their products. During the hustle and bustle of daily activities don’t forget to pay close attention to the safety of your products. Strictly follow your HACCP plan making sure that all of your GMPs, SOPs and SSOPs are properly executed and that your CCPs are met. Your HACCP Plan activities should be verified and documented in records which are routinely reviewed. Make sure employees know what their responsibilities are and that new employees are properly trained.
Have attractive, high quality, consistent products
Produce meat products that are attractive and attractively packaged. You must please the eyes first. Presentation is especially important. Think about when you go to a restaurant. Based on the way your plate of food is presented, you begin to decide if you are going to like it before you taste it. Make sure your products are attractively packaged regardless if they are wrapped in butcher paper or vacuum packaged. Make sure your labels are both accurate and attractive.
Provide a safe environment for shoppers
If you allow customers to come into your store to shop, make sure you provide them a safe shopping environment. Make sure your employees wear face masks and practice social distancing. Many companies also require customers that come into their store to wear face masks and practice social distancing. Remember; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Many small meat companies have developed programs where customers can order items via the telephone or internet and then come to your plant and pick them up with contactless pick up.
Provide a safe work environment for employees
It is critical to provide a safe working environment for your employees. Doing so will protect both your employees and your business. Require your employees to wear face masks. You want to do everything possible to keep your employees healthy. If your employees start coming down with COVID-19 it can become difficult for them and their families and disastrous for your business.
Do things to generate happy employees
Treat your employees with respect and courtesy. Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Provide employees with a comfortable place to take breaks where they can practice social distancing. You may want to consider providing them with some complimentary snacks for break. You also might want to consider providing employees with a weekly complimentary lunch.
Build a strong bond with suppliers
Build a strong bond with livestock suppliers, equipment suppliers and suppliers of items you use in manufacturing and packaging your products. They can help you be successful.
Take care of yourself
Even plant owners and managers need an occasional break. Keep a positive attitude. Set a good example. How you act will be reflected by your employees.
Remember: One of the best ways to be successful is to Plan For Success. IP