The rush toward safety

Lorenzo Zanlari
Participant of Global MBA in Food and Wine
28 July 2020

COVID-19 has shown the world how fragile our production system is. The example of the agri-food industry under lock-down conditions.

COVID-19 breakout forced a drastic change aimed to increase workers’ safety in the Italian production system during the lockdown period. As often happens in crisis situations, the time to react was few and the changes to be implemented were a lot.

Here began the story of the only industry that never stopped working during lockdown, the food and beverage industry. The challenge faced was one of the most difficult challenges of all times: guaranteeing the food supply under the lockdown, failing this mission could mean the collapse of a nation.

In just two weeks from the beginning of the lockdown food producers had to design and to implement a whole new set of safety standard to be enforced during the production operations. This standard should be focused on two major tasks: keep workers safe while ensuring the productivity of the facility site.

The government helped this process by spreading some general guidelines, but the firms were the main actors of this process. Thus, several systems such as thermoscanner before accessing the facility production, obligation to wear disposable overalls, top quality filtering masks, distribution of a large quantity of sanitizers, and several other were the innovations brought within the facilities. All the efforts were focused on keep workers safe, keep product safe, keep customers safe.
Now, that the lockdown is changing, all the efforts and solutions implemented in the food and beverage industry can be seen as an example for all the other industrial productions. Nevertheless, the need to adaptation is clear, still the narrow path were food and beverage industry rushed to keep production effective will turn in the main way to keep every kind of industrial production safe in the future.

As a human being we are able to learn and adapt, COVID-19 crisis is a challenge at a human level, and we will be able to react only if we will be able to look at good examples and learn.

Author: Lorenzo Zanlari

Participant of Global MBA in Food and Wine

Class 2019-2020