EQAsce has spoken to Mrs. Stephanie Krieger-Güss who has experience in the field of management systems in the agri and food sector (quality, working security and environment) for over 20 years. She is working at SHEQON Managementsystems as a management consultant, coach, and lecturer. Here, she gives advise for undertakings for enforcing management systems and she does internal audits, trainings and gives instructions. The focus lies on continuous development of the employees because they are a main factor for a successful enterprise performance. This focus will be central in the future work as EQAsce-certified coach.
EQAsce: You are consulting enterprises of the agri and food sector in the further development of their quality management systems for many years now. How did the emphasis of your advising change since the first corona lockdown?
Dr. Krieger-Guess: The impact of the corona lockdown on consulting is huge. It is no longer easy to lightheartedly give advice to the enterprises on site. Especially for enterprises of the food sector this development became clear because they are very afraid of infections being carried inside their undertakings from outside. Based upon this situation, enterprises call for advise and support in developing strategies for complying to hygiene and health concepts. This includes traceability of contact data, fiber measurement at entrances, using masks, developing a corona risk assessment in each enterprise and so on. These fields of action had been developed from outside after the short state of shock after calling out the first lockdown. Furthermore, digitalization has gotten a push forward withing the undertakings so audits can be done by remote and advise and support is given online.
EQAsce: How are undertakings currently struck by the corona crisis?
Dr. Krieger-Güss: They are struck differently by the pandemic. As we have seen in the media, the meat industry has dealt with heavy corona outbreaks although having had well-developed hygiene concepts. Other enterprises only had single cases of corona. For not having a whole undertaking being struck by a corona outbreak, alternating shifts had been introduced, so at least one shift could always keep up the working. Besides this organizational change, employees have been sent to work at home which was not common at all at many enterprises before the pandemic. These organizational changes also lead to new challenges for enterprises. Overall, we can say that the agri and food sector does not deal with economic losses. We all need food every day. But the focus of sales has changed. Many undertakings had to switch their products towards a focus of consuming at home.
EQAsce: What measures should enterprises take after this crisis to be better prepared for future crises like the current one?
Dr. Krieger-Güss: A lot of new experiences have been made during the past months that can be useful in the case of a new crisis. One important aspect for the future is to put a focus on a functioning crisis and risk management. This becomes already clear in the current situation: Undertakings that had a crisis and risk management could react faster and take measures that had positive effect. Another important finding is that enterprises must be flexible and innovative. This has proven to be successful in the current situation. For example, have a look at the catering sector: enterprises who established a delivery service could continue to run their business in a different way and this part could stay even after the crisis. Another aspect is a continuous exchange and communication between undertakings of the same sector, so they can find a common solution for recognizing crisis situations early and react preventively.
EQAsce: In how far do you and your customers for consulting benefit from the EQAsce-strategy to digitalize and safely manage qualification and certification of acquired competences in the sense of a lifelong learning concept?
Dr. Krieger-Güss: In short time, I will be recognized as EQAsce-lecturer and right now I do not have the Digital Academic Career Card. But I will take part in the 200-days-testing and put in my competence as DGQ-certified QM-manager (junior) that I have acquired as one of the first along with a degree from Bonn University as well as all other qualifications and certificates that I have gotten during my life so far. From the field of work safety, I am familiar with the safety pass that saves acquired qualification in the special field of work safety. The Digital Card will be able to have much more information and can be useful for customers and auditors because lifelong learning is important. And it becomes easier through the simple management of qualifications.