MANHATTAN, KAN. – AIB International is introducing a Pandemic Prepared Certification for food and beverage manufacturers. The new program is intended to provide assurances to employees, insurance providers, retailers and consumers that companies are committed to establishing and maintaining best practices during a global event similar to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We developed the Pandemic Prepared Certification because the food and beverage supply chain were ill-prepared for a global pandemic and the associated disruption it created in nearly every aspect of business operations world-wide,” said Steve Robert, global vice president of sales, marketing and innovation for AIB International. “The AIB International Pandemic Prepared Certification is a proactive measure to help companies across the supply chain prepare for the future with the only best-in-class protocol benchmark.”
In an interview with Food Business News, Mr. Robert called the certification prescriptive, practical and focused on five key areas of business operation: Crisis management, supply chain management, intermittent operations planning management, health crisis mitigation measures and management, and pre-requisite program review.
“There is a lot of detail in each component that we measure and evaluate,” he said. “In preparing for the future, if you have a facility with 100 people and you are looking at the supply chain and all the things you have to think about — ingredients and suppliers, for example — what is your min/max threshold on personal protective equipment (PPE)?”
During development of the program, AIB International employees met with representatives from regulatory agencies from around the world and executives from food companies.
“We either obtained their (food company) crisis management plans or conducted interviews during the development phase of the standards,” Mr. Robert said. “What was really telling is that all of these companies each had something missing from their plans. So, company ‘A’ had some great things, but missed a key item that company ‘B’ had.”
A key investment companies need to make to be prepared is the allocation of planning time, Mr. Robert said.
“This is about proactive engagement,” he said. “Maybe a company needs to have a dedicated person focused on coordinating preparedness? And they need to make sure a company is ready to go; to pull trigger immediately and pivot quickly.”