Choosing the right pest management provider for a food manufacturing or processing plant is a necessity, because the presence of pests can be costly. Neglecting to contract with a trusted provider who can meet the needs of your company can affect your operations, reputation, and bottom line. A major pest problem, whether it is from a gap in preventive care or an inability to handle a situation that unexpectedly arises, can create numerous challenges. In some cases, your company could be responsible for expensive product recalls or other regulatory action.
With such stakes on the line, companies need knowledgable and trusted pest management providers. Identifying whether a pest control provider fits the needs of your facility, however, can be a challenge in itself. With so many options to choose from, it can be daunting to choose the most qualified provider for the job. Needless to say, when you set out to find the best pest control fit for your company, it is easy to become overwhelemed.
As you balance myriad responsibilities at your company, the last thing you should have to worry about is whether the pest management provider you hired is doing its job. Rather than wait to endure the potential consquences of a less-than-ideal partnership, consider orienting your decision process around the key qualities of a good pest management provider.
A good pest management provider should be able to offer you a comprehensive integrated pest management (IPM) program with preventive measures that can reduce the risk of a pest problem, but their program should not stop there. The right provider should produce a plan that meets all applicable audit standards, as well as your other specific company needs.
To better understand what to look for in your potential pest management provider, consider using these five key criteria as decision-making guidelines:
1. Extensive Food Industry Experience
The food manufacturing and processing industry is an incredibly specialized area of service, and the work is completely different than that of industries such as restaurants or multi-family services. When choosing a provider, note that their expertise may not transfer across these industries, because the food manufacturing and processing industry has distinct and stringent protocols. Your provider should be well-versed in the food processing industry, including safety regulations, audit compliance, regulatory compliance, and more. This expertise can help mitigate the likelihood of costly mistakes that could stem from being less familiar with the industry’s needs. Each niche of service proposes its own tasks and struggles, and hiring someone who either specializes in or has experience in food processing can directly influence the effectiveness of the pest management in your facility down the line.
2. Technical Knowledge
Your pest management provider should serve as your go-to source for up-to-date information. From rules and regulations to the latest technology, your provider should be a wealth of knowledge, not only for your organization, but for the food processing and manufacturing industry as a whole. In fact, to utilize the best pest control practices for the food processing and manufacturing industry, they should follow industry updates. For a strong partnership, your provider should be able to communicate these ideas and updates to you and your employees. Your provider should also be readily available to answer questions and offer any other helpful insights related to pest prevention. Your provider’s ability to share this knowledge and make it more accessible will further reinforce your IPM efforts. This mutual understanding and guidance, in all cases, will greatly bolster the preventative steps your facility takes.
3. Geographic Coverage and Consistent Service
Consider the location of your facility when choosing a provider, because different providers treat different regions. With each region come different pests due to variances in landscape and climate. Should your company operate in multiple locations, as many food manufacturing and processing companies do, be sure to research whether your potential provider typically covers the scope of your locations. This will ensure that your provider knows the pest risks associated with the area and can addresses each location’s needs. In fact, it is best to make sure potential providers have the ability to service all of your locations. By utilizing the same provider across locations, you can simplify operations at all of your facilities and always know exactly who to call when you have a question or need support. The result will be a timely response, which is necessary if a crisis arises. Continuity and rapid response can make a noticeable difference when it comes to pest management.
4. Applicable Credentials
In the same way your company needs proper certifications and licenses to operate in the food processing and manufacturing industry, pest control providers need proper credentials. These will vary depending on a person’s role, but the correct credentials from everyone involved are crucial. From the technician who services your facility to the inspector who reviews the effectiveness of your IPM, each acting member from your pest management provider needs to be appropriately trained to complete their job effectively. Higher levels of management in pest control should hold certifications and, when applicable, additional certificates and degrees. Technicians and field workers should also hold appropriate certifications and should have completed the proper training. All providers must be certified and licensed by their state’s appropriate regulatory agency. You should ask your provider whether or not their licences are up to date.
5. Reporting and Trending
As the customer, you should be able to follow your site’s pest management status at a glance whenever needed. This includes knowing when your provider last serviced your facility and what they accomplished during their visit. With access to these updates, you can have confidence in your provider, knowing there is an added layer of accountability. A reputable provider understands that readily accessible reports help to provide transparency, both strengthening your partnership and helping you monitor the status of your facility. This can prove crucial for your company in the event of an audit as well. During an audit, your providers must be able to offer detailed reporting to you for documentation purposes. Any pest management company that does not offer reports and access to your records and status when you request them should raise a red flag.