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Caleb Jugmohan: 3 things I learnt from going infield with our FMCG customers

At Rentokil, we are well aware that every customer has different dynamics on their site. However, the learnings we take from each individual customer allow us to continuously improve and refine our processes and procedures - to achieve the best strategic fit for each customer.

This is why - for me - nothing can trump on-the-job learning and experience. I’ve learned so much about the challenges our customers face from working infield with our operations and service staff, and working hand-in-hand with our FMCG customers has shown me how Rentokil crafts a solution specific to each customer’s needs.

Here are three key things I learned from going infield with our FMCG customers:

  1. Every site is different and has different needs
  2. Logistics play a huge role in pest control
  3. Basic pest control in the FMCG industry is not sufficient

 

1. Every site is different and has different needs

food safety

One of the first things I learnt infield is that every sector requires its own specific level of pest management involvement. For example, an office building requires a relatively low level of involvement, however on the other end of the scale we have food production or healthcare facilities that require a very high level of involvement from their pest control providers. This is because these sectors have a “zero pest tolerance” audit requirement. (Our myRentokil system offers customers a step-by-step process to assist you through the pest control auditing process)

Over and above whether a business is audited or not, there are plenty of other dynamics that also need to be considered to ensure a well-managed site. These dynamics include; where sites are located; the surrounding areas; and the neighbouring business operations.  These are just some of the considerations that need to be taken into account when implementing pest control processes because any one of these factors could increase the likelihood of a pest problem.

For example, a printing business has a naturally low risk of pest problems, simply due to the nature of the business. The main areas of concern would be the kitchen or canteen, and the external buildings. However, imagine if their immediate neighbour was a food retailer. Suddenly the likelihood of a pest problem is significantly increased due to the presence of food.

Rentokil understands that every site is different and has different needs, and that is why a full site survey is a critical part of our pest control quoting process. We believe that full site inspection is imperative to ensuring your sites are well managed.

2. Logistics play a huge role in pest control

The whole FMCG chain is vulnerable to pest activity, and pest activity at any point in the process will have a negative, knock-on effect for the rest of the chain. Being such a large sector with so many moving parts means that Operations Managers need to keep some basic pest control principles in mind if they want their operations to run smoothly. Pest either crawl in, fly in or are brought in. Although this sounds simple, logistics in the FMCG sector make keeping pests at bay much more complicated by providing an additional avenue for pests to be brought in.

Distribution Centres (DCs) are usually the centre of retail operations and are thus particularly vulnerable to pests. Stock and products arrive from multiple locations, via multiple logistics streams, and may already be compromised depending on the pest control measures in place at the point of origin.

The DC itself also has many areas of concern, and the risk of pest issues is high if a holistic approach to pest control is not taken. The DC cannot just be treated with basic pest control measures: the workings of the entire supply chain needs to be kept front of mind when being surveyed, serviced and inspected. Outbound logistics can also pose a pest risk to retailers if the stock arrives infested - or becomes infested - whilst in inventory at the DC. Of real concern to retail sites is the risk that whilst offloading stock from their trailers to their stockrooms, they “import” a pest problem which takes hold in their store and then damages their brand image.

Conversely, there is also a risk of sending pest stowaways back to the DC (or even to the original supplier) when damaged stock that has become infested is returned.

3. Basic pest control in the FMCG industry is not sufficient

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The last - and maybe the most important - thing that I have learned spending time infield with our FMCG customers is that a basic approach to pest management is definitely not enough in this sector. There is always more that can be done to keep both the public and a retailer’s brand reputation safe from the negative taint of pest problems.

For example, here are just some of the additional pest management precautions that could be taken at a DC, and that a reputable pest control company should be suggesting:

  • Implementation of supplier stock inspections. Depending on the number of suppliers that are currently delivering stock to the DC, data on the infestations found or activity noted should be collected per supplier
  • Audits can be done to implement more stringent pest control measures for those suppliers where pest problems have been noted, in order to minimise the risk of further incoming infestations
  • Regular inspection of the entire DC should be done, and housekeeping and proofing concerns need to be raised to ensure the surrounding areas do not contribute negatively to the pest risks on site
  • Inspection of the trucks and trailers used to move products from the DC to the retail sites need to be carried out and treated if needs be

If both the supplier base and the DC have stringent pest control measures in place and continue to manage pest control in a detailed manner, stores will not have to continuously manage pest issues stemming from the previous phases of the supply chain.

Housekeeping, proofing and stock rotation are imperative to the management of pest activity on retail sites in addition to a pest control management programme that has the specialist knowledge to keep you and your business safe. Whilst all sites have their differences, our experts are more than willing to go through the dynamics of your operations to make sure that we mould our approach to fit your specific operational and legal requirements.

To make pest control easier for you and safer for everyone, contact our team who can help you assess your requirements and create a tailored solution.

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