Lessons from New Zealand (Factory Design)

Lessons from New Zealand (Factory Design)
by Eben van Tonder

Parent Page:  Shorthand Notes

During 2017 I became disillusioned with the direction of Woody’s and finally decided to resign from the company to pursue other opportunities.  Minette and I decided that I would resign from Woodys before we travelled to New Zealand in April 2018.  The plan for the trip was to investigate the opportunity overseas.  During the week of 27 April 2018, a friend allowed me to spend a day with each department of a large and very successful pork processor in New Zealand.

Here are some of the notes and points of interest.

Factory Design

–  There should be a drain in every room in the factory;
–  High-Pressure Hoses present a huge problem due to spray;
–  In the RTE rooms, the panels must be better sealed onto the floor than anywhere else in the facility.  Ensure it is a perfect seal inside and outside.
– The development of mold on sealant is a problem use – anti mold sealant and keep it clean;
– Use HTH to clean floor areas especially where Listeria is detected. QAC’s has low penetrating power and  HTH is much better at breaking down organic matter.


-> It is a very poor competitor;
->  Poorly cleaned equipment and surfaces is worse than dirty machines/ surfaces;
->  The key to combating Listeria is Cooking;
-> Post-cooking checks are important;
->  Assume it is on the floors (drop meat procedure)
->  Go through video material to see what staff are doing. Key in listeria management.
->  Poor working practices:
*  Example of sticks used to pick up sausages.
*  Reduce water on the floor. Use squeegee between departments.
* Hands-on tables.
*  Create videos from this and use them in training
*  Reduce water on the floor – reduce transfer. Nothing more.  83% hit rate reduction
->  Look for transfer from floor to product
->  Every worker must be your policeman!!! No other way!
->  Assume it is on all incoming meat. Every raw product.
->  In the blood! Bodily fluids transfer.
->  Cooking!
-> Conveyors!
->  Bag waste!
->  Contamination trough – Multivac
->  Resurface cutting boards. And or use as little as possible.
->  Electrical conduit which collects water perfect place for listeria
->  Feet of machines inside feet. Joint in a ball.  Fat deposit layer on the floor?
->  The bandsaw is a massive problem. Electronics – hard to clean
->  Maintenance – swab whenever you pull equipment apart.  Swab inside of parts.
->  Make sure you do clean up.
->  Dry heat – wet heat – dry heat does not kill listeria. Use wet heat!
->  All new equipment must go through the oven.  60 deg C for 2 mins. Electrical equipment. Swab before. Cook. Swab again.
->  PCR – testing 24 hours
->  Phages to kill listeria. Hawkins Watts (company).
->  Fogging is a waste of time. No penetration.

Stage-gate processes for NPD

Is it worth going to the next stage
Funnel process. 2 or 5 best
Ideas bank
Bench-top trails
Evaluation and costing
Factory trails
Review – early and then 6 months. Do we kill it or go for it. Ex wait for summer.

For production:  get them to take ownership. NPD staff must be there for at least three production runs.
NPD issues recipes.
NPD – recipe
Quality – packing specs
NPD signs off
Costing sign off
The production supervisor signs off
Factory manager

Hand over the procedure.

No formal factory trails. No “just do it” approach.  Should have one.

At scoping stage – product brief. Written by marketing.  4 category managers.  What product looks like? Market size. Justification in terms of potential size. Margin expected. Photos of similar products. Pack size, fresh, frozen, production process. Where do we have capacity? Details about presentation; shelf life; allergens; unique selling features;

Circulate product brief for sign off

CEO; financial manager; ops manager; engineering manager; category manager (marketing manager); NPD manager;

Once it’s all done, circulate it to lower levels. Remind them of launch becomes a key responsibility; communicating the right thing to the right person at the right time – get balance not to over-communicate

Use a smart sheet for the project management program.

Create product codes.

All the NPD steps are set up here and executed.

All steps are dependent on other steps.

Colours – yellow – new products
Also, work on process improvement or profit improvement projects. Pink

(An example is Jaggery – from India)
Green – strategic projects/ background projects when you have time such as reduced sodium; free-range; fewer e numbers.  No sign-off is needed.
The 1st board is the work-in-progress sheet.
The meeting is literally: are there any issues with any of the projects

The product brief template:  Product Brief Template Aug 2017

See photos with David Sadler below

Daily Management – Bacon

Sample of Bacon Management Chart – Daily

Daily Management with each department – report on production and profit per department.


Photos from Visit

Meeting a Legend – Ralph


Product Ideas

David’s Use of Colours

Product Brief Template Aug 2017

This page is part of a series on The Meat Factory. Visit this page for the full list of related discussion documents.

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