October 24, 2007 | Mark Paradies

Missed Opportunities to Stop Contamination Cause Bankruptcy at Topps Meat

Recent outbreaks of E coli contamination in the US food supply has caused the press to start reporting on food safety. However, the increased press reports don’t seem to be enough to get the attention of all executives at companies supplying food to the US market.

A New York Times article with the headline:

Many Red Flags Preceded a Recall of Hamburger

points out the danger food processors face if they ignore warning signs.

What can happen? When management misses the warning signs and fails to fix the root causes of minor problems, then major accidents, product recalls, and operating difficulties are just around the corner. According to the information in the article, failure to act on smaller problems caused a major outbreak of food-borne illness, a major recall of their product (ground beef patties), and bankruptcy of the company (owned by the private equity firm Strategic Investments & Holdings since 2003). If only management at Topps had understood the use of advanced root cause analysis to analyze and solve problems, they could have prevented this E coli outbreak and saved the company from bankruptcy.

What does this have to do with your company? Try asking these questions and see what answers you get:

What would a major recall cost your company? Could your company survive?

Does your management know how to use advanced root cause analysis to spot problems and improve performance?

Does your company spot problems when they are small and use what they can learn from a thorough root cause analysis to prevent major problems?

Would your management like to learn how to keep major accidents from happening by applying known best practices?

For more information about training your management, call System Improvements at 865-539-2139 or click here and drop us a note.

But don’t wait too long and let disaster strike your company.

Root Cause Analysis
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