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THE CONSULTANT’S VIEW: RUBY PARKER PUCKETT FFCSI

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Change will be inevitable and necessary after the pandemic begins to abate. Ruby Parker Puckett details how far-reaching it might be

The world, as we know it today, will never be the same. The worldwide outbreak of Covid-19 is a life-changing event. The pandemic has sparked anxiety, fear, anger, loss, mental and domestic issues, violence, many closed business, unemployment, food insecurity and other unresolved problems.

Yet, there are some good things that have come out from it that will improve our lives and help us cope with major problems in the future. Having to stay in one place, work from home, order food and groceries to be delivered, and only purchasing food and medicines we need has taught us to live within our means. And to not hoard. The pandemic has also shown we can work together – different religious, businesses and government organizations working collaboratively.

Strength and resilience

Due to technology, we can perform many of our jobs at home, teach our children, exercise without needing to go to a gym, stay in touch with family, jobs and friends, using any one of the many social media platforms. We are stronger and more resilient than we think we are.

Moving forward, after the pandemic has subsided, it will be necessary to make some changes to our operations. After much thought I can envision we will need to make the following changes:

  1. Schedule a brain storming meeting with all of your staff to analyze were we are and most importantly ‘where do we need to go?’
  2. Combine suggestions, conduct another meeting and determine priories and assignments.
  3. Review emergency policies if there is currently no policy for a pandemic (this also includes major weather, terrorist attacks, a major interruption of service, electric, heat, water food poisoning or any potential problem to your area). At the present time there are many tech upgrades available – or soon will be. Be prepared.
  4. Update software to avoid theft of information, fake voice calls, and e-mail links.
  5. Be prepared for technology upgrades, such as the elimination of passwords. Opt for digital upgrades such as face, fingerprint and optical recognition.
  6. Check your budget includes funds for artificial intelligence. AI has the best chance to rationalize and perform tasks normally required by humans.
  7. Investigate new equipment, such as digitalizing foodservice equipment. Dishwashers, ovens, blast chillers, coffee makers are a few of the digitalized equipment presently in use. These can be customized to perform certain tasks.
  8. Review working space, flow of work and cross-traffic for changes that need to be made.
  9. Offer new services, such as ‘grab and go’ room service, reduction of service, newer equipment and an area for stocking (state-wide rules for the amount of food and supplies to have on hand in case of an emergency, such as a weather related incident).
  10. Cross train employees so they can multi-task.
  11. Review exit and entrances, for security. Have people enter with one door and use another for their exit. Install cameras on both doors as a protection from outsiders or work place violence.

I see the world of consulting changing. Consultants need to be savvy and knowledgable when making changes in how food arrives on the table – from the time seeds are planted, harvested, processed, transported to various locations either fresh, canned, or frozen, then purchased by the consumer and prepared for consumption.

The role of nutrition and medical nutrition therapy as a protection for a healthy lifestyle will play a large role. I cannot think of a better time to be alive – we face so many challenges times ahead.

Ruby Parker Puckett, MA, FFCSI, FAND