Group of Butchers is an innovative company producing meat products with offices in the Netherlands and Belgium. For several years in a row, the company has been awarded the Industributie Trophy for the highest appreciation from the retail market for their products. Logically, the employees must have up-to-date training to maintain the high standards.
To train its employees, Group of Butchers works with the E-learning module by Normec Foodcare Online. The former Dutch Grill Specialties (DGS) merged into Group of Butchers one and a half years ago, and is characterised by craftsmanship and traditional methods. A lot has been invested in the new look because the company wants to appeal to as many audience groups as possible; not just business to business but also the end user. These must be convinced of the high quality and the traditional preparation of the meat products.
There are five different locations where the mostly pre-cooked and ‘ready to eat’ products are made: Eersel, Soest, the Belgian Oosterzele and Alken and the head office in Tilburg. The range includes roast beef, bacon, minced meat, rotisserie products, ham, spareribs, roast pork, smoked meat, filet americain, ox sausage and smoked sausage.
Approximately 350 people work across the locations. They are thoroughly trained to process the products in the right way. Mainly food safety and hygiene, but also the company culture and general information about lifting and interpreting hazard symbols are mandatory components in the training course. Every employee follows this basic training before he or she gets to work with Group or Butchers. On location, there is a theoretical and practical training on the subject matter relevant to the employee. The practical information is provided by experienced people such as an SVO-trained butcher. All employees also follow a refresher course every year. Group of Butchers arranges about 1000 training sessions per year, the majority of which is followed via E-learning.
Max van Leeuwen is a quality, occupational health and environmental manager and, in collaboration with Human Resources, responsible for training at Group of Butchers. “The changes in the area of legislation and the wishes of the customer follow each other quickly. Regular training is required to keep up with this. The fastest and easiest way to do that is through E-learning. All theory is taught in this way, we arrange practical lessons on the work floor. The employees can do the training at a time of their choosing from home, at the temporary employment agency or at one of the locations. Freedom and having personal responsibility are perceived as very positive. “E-learning is ideal, especially when new employees arrive through an employment agency. “The temporary employment agency ensures that they have followed the training before they come to us. That saves time because they can start immediately. We see in the system whether the training has been successfully completed and check the employees randomly. ”
In the Normec Foodcare Online system, Max and all quality employees can see at a glance who has completed which training course, whether he or she has passed, and which questions have been answered incorrectly. In the heavier HACCP training courses, this can be developed further with, for example, an extension to a specific topic, or the training can be discussed with the employee. “I can request analyses of, for example, the questions answered incorrectly most often or how long people take on average to do a finish a course.” Another advantage, Max thinks, is that the system can be used simultaneously by different parties, each with their own access rights. “The temporary employment agency can register new employees and invite them to a training course, but cannot make any changes to the system.”
Group of Butchers designs the training itself. “I test the training courses with a number of employees before going online. This way, I can check whether the questions are too easy or too difficult and whether it can be done within the specified time. The training courses are constantly being developed and are regularly updated. You can then implement any improvement at the same time. “Normec Foodcare Online itself also has training courses that relate to the most common topics in the food industry. Think of allergen control, hygienic working or cleaning. These training courses can be requested digitally. At the request of the customer, they can be supplemented with specific subjects or can be designed in the corporate identity of the company.
Various Normec Foodcare Online modules are available. Besides E-learning, it is also possible to manage a manual and all specifications, inspections and registrations in the secure Normec Foodcare Online environment. Group of Butchers uses the modules ‘handbook’ and ‘specifications’ in addition to E-learning. Max van Leeuwen: “We only pay for what we buy. In the case of E-learning, therefore, we pay per employee who follows a training course. This is cheaper than the costs of the loss of production by giving a classroom training session and accompanying handling costs. Also important: the E-learning courses are recognised by the auditors of the GFSI standard and help us to comply with the BRC and IFS standards.”
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