Taking Care of Your Customers:
You Set the Priorities
Every person in the business world has a boss—hopefully a good one—but we all have one nonetheless. However, if we
look beyond the daily interactions and accountability of our
positions, we can see that our true boss is our customer(s). This
is never truer than when we focus on food safety.
Consumers have faith that companies are
providing them with safe, wholesome foods.
We all have a responsibility to our customers
not to fail in their trust. We often hear the
overused adage that leadership starts at the top
of an organization, and while it is absolutely
true, leadership must be practiced at every level within an
When the senior leadership of a company sets strong
standards for food safety, and those who actually manage and
lead the operations at the plant level do not own and practice
the same level of commitment as the CEO, then the safety
of the products may be compromised. Every person who
plays a role in the production of food must have the same
drive and passion for ensuring that the foods for which they
are responsible are safe. This corporate commitment must be
practiced and reinforced at all levels every day.
Leadership in food safety is not a remote ideal; we manage
other matters like worker safety (OSHA compliance), yields,
costs and productivity successfully. We simply must bring food
safety to at least the same level of importance within the entire
organization as these other metrics. If you have ever attended
one of the presentations on food safety leadership given by
David Theno, Ph.D., the CEO of Gray Dog Partners, then you
will have heard his mantra: “Food safety is the one controllable
part of your operation that you bet your business on every day.
And it really is that simple. The other metrics we pay so much
attention to every day will cost us money if we fail, but no child
becomes ill or dies because of something we did or did not do
It is time to ask yourself what kind of a food safety leader are
you in your organization, and are those you lead exercising the
same commitment to producing safe products? If the answer to
either of these questions amounts to anything less than being
passionate about food safety, then as David Theno states in his
talks, you are in the wrong position and the wrong business.
CEO, The Target Group Inc. Don Meeker
Publisher Stacy Atchison
Murphy’s Law Travel Authority Bobby Meeker
Editorial Director Barbara VanRenterghem, Ph.D.
Art Director/Production Craig Van Wechel
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