It’s only been a month since the launch of our Pandemic Prepared Certification, but there has already been a strong, positive response from top companies across the global food and beverage supply chain. This level of interest is undoubtedly an indication of the need for proactive measures that help establish best-in-class planning and protocols, while also decreasing risk as it relates to the pandemic.
To learn more about this buzz and questions customers are asking thus far, we spoke with Tatiana Rodriguez, Regional Sales Manager, Eastern US/Canada, Global Sales. She’s the Pandemic Prepared Certification point-of-contact and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What is the Food and Beverage Industry saying about Pandemic Prepared Certification?
I’ve been really pleased by the enthusiasm from current and new customers – they’re excited that we’re responding to the pandemic with something that’s truly innovative and beneficial for their operations. Nearly all of them been impacted one way or another and the Pandemic Prepared Certification can serve as a proactive measure to be prepared for the future.
There have also been some customers who are concerned with the cost of insurance premiums and litigation they are facing, so they’re interested in how the Certification can help. By building business continuity and demonstrating an operation’s commitment to decreased risk, the Certification can support the resiliency of your operation and can unlock insurance benefits, each of which can deliver cost savings.
There are also some “lucky” companies that have not been significantly impacted by the pandemic yet. However, given the recommendation of public health organizations, I’d suggest they take this opportunity to prepare and plan as if they will be impacted in the future.
Q: What types of companies are interested in Pandemic Prepared Certification?
There has been broad interest from every segment of the food and beverage supply chain you can think of – manufacturers, processors, storage and distribution warehouses, and even food banks. The different types of contacts have been interesting too. While we expected Quality Directors, C-level leadership, Risk Managers and Internal Auditors, there have also been a lot of Human Resources representatives expressing interest in Pandemic Prepared Certification. I think they know the distinct value that these Certification measures can provide in building bottom line resiliency, while also understanding the need for proactive measures that earn the trust of their workforce.
Q: What’s the first step to Pandemic Prepared Certification?
Great question, because “How do I get started?” is the one we receive most often. There are four options to starting the Certification process.
- The most valuable and cost-effective option is to register for the Pre-assessment and Certification together. This comprehensive package provides insights into your operation and identifies opportunities for improvement. It includes a copy of the standard and the virtual pre-assessment that identifies issues and recommendations for resolution, which is then followed by the Certification audit.
- The second most popular option is pursuing pre-assessment first. AIB International will provide you with the standard and work with you to conduct a pre-assessment, which will assess your operation’s readiness and provide guidance/coaching for becoming Certified. You can then start the Certification process afterwards.
- Some are interested in starting the certification process right away. You’ll receive the standard and a two-day audit – the first day will be spent conducting the assessment (virtually or onsite), while the second day will include report writing and an exit interview. This report will then be reviewed independently prior to its release to the customer.
- Finally, if you would like to start off with just a copy of the standard first, it’s available for purchase. This will provide you with an understanding of what needs to be done to achieve Pandemic Prepared Certification.
Q: What is the number one challenge in earning the Pandemic Prepared Certification?
The most pressing thing companies are lacking is a strong and cohesive crisis management plan. Very few were prepared for the disruption created in the first half of this year and haven’t updated their crisis plans to address the pandemic moving forward. That creates a significant gap in their preparedness, one that can have a significant impact on their operations and financials in the future.
In addition, many manufacturers and processors do not have a strong recall plan in place, which is a necessary component of the Certification. It’s critically important during a pandemic, when consumers are especially focused on their health and well-being.
Through the pre-assessment process, you’ll understand your operation’s readiness in these and other areas, while receiving guidance and coaching for becoming Certified. While the Pandemic Prepared Certification is not easy and requires active risk management protocols and continuous refinement to remain Certified, your operation will be recognized as meeting the highest standards of integrity in the global food and beverage supply chain. Companies getting Certified see the value in taking that leadership role, which is driving their strong response.