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Processing workers must be suitable for the tasks they perform. One example is being able to spend most of the day standing and being able to cope with tasks some may find unpleasant.
If a company wants to ensure success, it needs to achieve high levels of productivity. And this productivity needs to extend across all area, including personnel.
To better understand this, let’s imagine the roof of a great house, supported by three pillars: knowledge, experience and technology. To ensure that these three pillars remain in the same place, there needs to be a solid foundation, and that foundation is staff attitude.
This is the determining factor in maintaining productivity. Today, companies increasingly succeed because of the comprehensive nature of their human capital. Consequently, the daily challenge of companies operating in today’s market is to grow and strengthen this capital.
If we look particularly at poultry processing, all companies more or less have the same resources – buildings, equipment and personnel. Therefore, what facilitates the achievement of Grade A quality and an acceptable yield is developing a comprehensive quality of performance in the staff who works in the plant.
Processing and nanomanagement
With this in mind, it is worth considering the concept of “nanomanagement,” which helps to ensure that this high level of quality is achieved. When considering the processing line, the workforce will need to possess particular characteristics in order to perform well. In selecting the best workers for the job, the following should be taken into consideration:
The ability to cope with these requirements will need to be matched with a good working attitude. Factors to consider will be:
In demanding these qualities from staff, companies need to offer something in return. For example, there should be good facilities, including a cafeteria and lavatories. There also needs to be a clear route for career progression, so that workers can become supervisors or plant managers.
Any career progression must be accompanied by strong and comprehensive training, where at least the basics of processing from start to finish are fully understood, along with the relationship between the various activities preslaughter and during processing.
Ergonomics and productivity
Companies must ensure that each workstation is ergonomically designed. This means that each and every worker should feel comfortable throughout the workday. The following should be taken into account:
Shackles should be within easy reach, not only to make hanging faster but also to reduce the onset of tiredness.
Addressing the above can result in improved performance. To further illustrate this approach, we can look at the work station: hanging live chickens on the overhead slaughter conveyor.
Ergonomic requirements will vary from country to country. In Latin America, where the average person is characterized by a shorter stature, the distance from the bottom of the shackle to the floor should be between 1.4 meters and 1.5 meters. In many cases, adjustable platforms that adjust to the height of the operator can be used in order to minimize the worker’s effort and consequently tiredness, especially in the arms and the back.
The height from the floor to the top of a cage should be 90 cm.
Shackles should be positioned over the upper edge of the area where the chickens are removed from the cages. In this way, when they are attached to the conveyor, workers’ arms do not have to be stretched to the maximum, but rather form a slight angle.
Cages should be slightly tilted so that chickens move down the slope of the cage floor toward the bottom of the cage and towards the worker, so saving time reaching for birds inside the cage.
Taking these factors into account, a worker can comfortably hang an average of 1,800 birds per hour.
Satisfaction and performance
In many plants that have either reached or surpassed such high production levels, managers take the time to ensure that workers operate in an atmosphere that encourages them to be enthusiastic throughout the workday. To this end, they consider every aspect of the day in advance – nanomagement – that may influence the self-esteem of workers.
Some examples of this might be treating everyone with respect, and as viewing relationships as being with coworkers, not superiors and subordinates. Strengthening the bonds of friendship enables managers to understand the wants and needs of workers, with the aim of helping to achieve them.
The result of adopting this attitude is that there is greater acknowledgement and gratitude among staff, and so they perform not due to obligation, but through reciprocity, improving their own welfare and collaborating for the welfare of the group as a whole.
In those companies that achieve high performance levels, work is implemented with the philosophy that, “If the company wins, the staff wins.” Salary is not everything. Feeling good in your job is highly important.
To learn more, read: Attention to detail and cost control in poultry processing
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