How Riviera Ensures Food Quality and Safety
Through Digital Work Instructions and Continuous Learning
Riviera has long been a trendsetter in the dairy industry in Quebec, Canada. Since the company’s founding in 1920, the manufacturer has maintained a high attention to detail and connection to the land, and continuously modernized its facilities to stay one step ahead of market demand. This strategy has served Riviera well, earning the manufacturer 10 awards for product innovation and design in recent years.
As Riviera continues to expand its collection of dairy products, including organic, vegan and other dairy alternatives, the need to adhere to food health and quality standards remain critically important. To help its workforce ensure the highest quality output and pass audits, the manufacturer turned to a worker performance support app.
Developed by Poka, this digital tool enables Riviera’s factory workers to learn standard operating procedures, access work instructions, report on critical control points, and resolve quality-related issues more efficiently than traditional manual, paper-based processes.
What’s more, the tool makes it easier to track the history of quality-related issues and the skills of its workforce. This has enabled Riviera to improve its compliance score with the Safe Quality Food Initiative (SQF), while reducing the effort and time to pass their yearly audits.
The Problem: Lack of Visibility
The first step to fixing any problem is identifying its root cause. However, Riviera lacked visibility into key areas of production that were impacting product quality. This included understanding why non-conformity issues remained unresolved weeks and even months after they had been reported.
“Because we were relying on paper and word-of-mouth communications with our employees, we couldn’t easily track how and when quality-related issues were being resolved,” says Amelie Provost, HACCP & SQF Manager at Riviera.
Another problem that Provost wanted to address is the lack of visibility into workers’ skills and records of training events. For example, some workers who had been with the company for several years had no record of having completed their mandatory training.
This concerned Provost because as HACCP & SQF Manager, it was her responsibility to ensure that employees are properly trained and follow standard procedures, including promptly reporting, resolving and documenting all issues.
And like many food companies, Riviera has built its food safety procedures based on the Safe Quality Food Institute’s standards. This not only helps the company to meet the discerning requirements of consumers. It also is a commercial requirement for many of its supply chain partners and customers. The stringent annual SQF audit process is an opportunity for the company to benchmark its progress and deliver on its commitment to excellence.
“Although Riviera was consistently passing our annual inspections, we weren’t satisfied with a score of 86%,” adds Provost. “We knew we could do better, so we committed to investing in our workforce and making the necessary improvements.”
“Although Riviera was consistently passing our annual inspections, we weren’t satisfied with a score of 86%. We knew we could do better.”
The Solution: Digitally Connecting Workers
The management team at Riviera recognized that the key to gaining visibility into its factory floor and ensuring the highest quality products was to digitally connect its frontline workers.
In 2017, the company implemented Poka’s worker performance support app. Each worker has access to a tablet and the Poka app, giving them instant access to all the content and people they need to do their jobs and keep production lines running, while capturing a digital record of what’s happening on the factory floor.
“Our first goal was to ensure that procedures are easier to access, understand and retain.”
Easy Access to Standard Work Instructions
“Our SOPs were long, written documents stored on our network, so they were rarely used,” explains Provost. “Our first goal was to ensure that procedures are easier to access, understand and retain.”
That is why Provost and the quality team were actively involved in the production of video work instructions to complement their standard operating procedures.
“Video micro-lessons are quicker and easier to understand than reading text. Text can be easily misinterpreted, whereas there is no ambiguity with videos,” explains Provost. “Also, micro-lessons are easier to update. You just modify the units that need updating.”
Creating video instructions for their Critical Control Points was Riviera’s first priority. The manufacturer wanted production setup and changeovers to be done to standard, including ensuring CCP values, like temperature and flow, are within range.
Workers now access these important video work instructions, directly at their workstations as they are updated or whenever they need a refresher. They simply scan the QR code of their equipment to instantly access all available SOPs, troubleshooting tips and reference guides to remind them of proper procedures and equipment handling. This enables workers to conveniently learn and consult the resources they need in the flow of their daily work and without ever having to leave their workstations.
By making it easier for workers to access and follow proper procedures, the manufacturer has seen a 9% reduction in fruit waste on a yogurt production line.
Shining a light on quality issues
Riviera’s workers regularly monitor the CCPs to ensure production is running within acceptable critical limits. When they come across a value that is out of range, they create a post in Poka’s factory feed and then complete a Non-Conformity Report (NCR). This gives Provost and the quality team real-time visibility into what’s happening on the factory floor, track issues until they are resolved, and get involved as needed.
“The first thing I do when I walk into the factory every morning is check the factory feed in Poka,” says Provost. “If something happened during the night shift, like there was an issue with pasteurization, I know to immediately request a lab test. Then throughout the day, I can monitor all open issues and what people are doing to fix problems.”
The factory feed also serves as a permanent record of all quality-related issues and can be easily searched for specific issues. This is especially helpful during Riviera’s yearly audits when they are asked to produce records of all equipment breakdowns and repairs that took place during the year.
Tracking Worker Training Compliance
As new product SKUs are introduced and updates are made to standard procedures, new video instructions are posted in Poka and assigned to operators that need to be trained. Workers use Poka to access their assigned training and track their personal skills development.
In the past, updates were communicated to supervisors via email who were then responsible for sharing the information with operators. Naturally, this process raised concerns that some operators would never receive the information because of broken telephone conversations.
Now all training guides, video micro-lessons and work instructions are categorized and displayed in sequence to be learned. When they finish reviewing a lesson, workers mark it as “complete” and then request an endorsement from their supervisor or another subject matter expert. After they are endorsed, the skill is marked as having been mastered.
“Workers are empowered to take ownership of their own skills development. They can no longer claim that they didn’t see a new work instruction because everything is spelled out to them right in their profile in Poka,” explains Provost. “But to make sure that they stay up to date, we make viewing all reports in Poka mandatory in order to receive their annual bonus.”
Management, on the other hand, uses Poka to track the training progress and qualifications of its entire workforce in real-time. A skills matrix provides a factory-wide view of what skills each worker has completed and who has endorsed them. This enables Riviera to easily identify who has the qualifications to change positions, get a promotion or replace a worker if someone calls in sick or leaves on vacation.
Audits made easy
By digitally capturing quality issues and ensuring worker skills are tracked and documented in real-time, Riviera’s auditing process takes a fraction of time compared to before.
SQF auditors pay particular attention to the manufacturer’s best practices for tracking the training and skills development of their workforce. The process typically involves providing auditors with the training records of a handful of randomly selected employees, as well as the content used for training. Prior to Poka, Riviera couldn’t provide up-to-date records on all their employees, resulting in training non-compliance and a reduced audit score.
Now with Poka, they instantly access the skills matrix, select the employee’s profile, and show which lessons have been completed, which are in progress and which are waiting for a supervisor’s endorsement. This has effectively brought the audit process down from one hour to just 10 minutes.
The auditor was also impressed by how important reminders were being reinforced in the Factory Feed, and that Riviera could demonstrate the total number of workers that saw each post throughout the year.
“This was the first year that Riviera has had zero non-compliance issues tied to training. This has brought our score up to 91%.”
Empowering workers to perform at their best
Riviera’s commitment to providing customers with the highest quality dairy and alternative products, combined with their early adoption of innovative technologies, are some of the reasons why the manufacturer has been so successful for nearly a century.
Its investment in Poka has enabled the manufacturer to digitize and modernize many of their worker processes, thereby empowering their entire workforce to better manage product quality and improve audit results.
“As customers and audits get more demanding each year, it’s important to get our entire workforce contributing to operational excellence,” adds Provost. “Poka empowers our factory workers and management team to perform at their best so that we meet our strategic objectives.”