Outsourcing Sanitation a Smart Alternative

After a string of high-profile nationwide foodborne illness outbreaks in 2009, food safety reform is a high priority for legislators and consumers alike. Big changes are on the horizon to overhaul the federal agencies that ensure that consumers are protected against the bacteria and disease that contaminate food and threaten overall security.

Each year, according to an April 2007 report by the Government Accountability Office, food sickens 76 million people in this country, sending 325,000 people to the hospital and killing 5,000. Issues are truly life and death.

As tighter Food and Drug Administration and United States Department of Agriculture regulations are proposed and public scrutiny grows each day, food processors must consider their sanitation programs now more than ever. Outsourcing contract sanitation is not a new option, but examining some fresh perspectives on the benefits outsourcing offers will help you create the smartest strategies for your plant’s cleanliness.

Ron Globerman, president of Ronell Managed Services LLC, said that some companies seem to fear losing control over their sanitation process if a contract cleaner is hired. He has developed an innovative program to address this concern.

If you have ever considered contract cleaning, the reasons likely range from lower bottom-line costs to improved control and efficiency for your sanitation program and assured daily on-time production start-ups.

The power of focusing on your operation’s core competencies is essential for any business to stay competitive. Globerman, a 39-year veteran of the contract cleaning business, said that leading food manufacturers see their sanitation staff as partners in efficiency and success. “Sanitation is an investment in the future of the company, with significant cost saving possibilities as one likely outcome.”

Qualified management of technology and pathogen reduction programs are essential to controlling sanitation operations.

Qualified management of technology and pathogen reduction programs are essential to controlling sanitation operations.

Innovative Outsourcing Program

“One option we offer is to allow our clients’ sanitation employees to continue on their payroll but work under Ronell Managed Services supervision,” Globerman said. “The advantage is that our clients’ longtime employees stay as their employees and stay on their payroll, but we provide the optimal management, chemical, and supply structure with a formula that provides a guaranteed cost savings to our clients.

“It is a total solution for processors who know they need a change in management and who know they need to have improvement in quality of service and reduced cost, but want to retain the sanitation employees as theirs,” he said. “I’m just surprised it’s taken this long to adapt this framework to our industry.”

In other cases, providing the labor might be the right solution for a client’s needs. Seth Leavitt, president of Abeles & Heymann Products Inc., started outsourcing his sanitation services a year ago after realizing that his cleaning crews were not doing an adequate job. “We knew we needed to bring in an outside company whose sole task is cleaning and who did not have to worry about production,” he said. “I believe it is a necessary service for the industry.”

One of the most beneficial aspects of outsourcing is that the contractor schedules overnight crews, Leavitt said. Because the sanitation professionals are still on site when his managers arrive in the morning, they can immediately address any issues that may have occurred during the night or upon morning inspection.

Flexibility is crucial for a successful relationship with a contract cleaning firm. “Overall, the benefits outweigh any drawbacks; the plant is immaculate,” he said.

As the pressures increase on the entire marketplace, “today’s focus is on establishing effective sanitation programs in order to maintain a wholesome processing environment,” said Jim Daley, general manager of Clenesco Products and director of technical services for Ronell Managed Services. “Developing these programs in accordance with individual needs of the process and facility is the key, and providing clean and sanitized product contact surfaces are only part of the solution.”

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