KANSAS CITY — Crisis management has significantly evolved over the past two years.

“Prior to the pandemic, the food and beverage industry focused mostly on recalls in its crisis management plans,” noted Steve Robert, global vice president of sales, marketing and product innovation at AIB International. “However, lessons learned from COVID-19 have forced companies to put more effort into inclusive planning across departments for a variety of unexpected events, including pandemics.”

Today, he said companies are preparing for contingencies more widely across departments, going deeper into the planning scenarios, which is essential to keep the food supply chain moving when an event occurs that could disrupt the global process. He urged bakeries to take the planning process seriously for a variety of scenarios and prepare the workforce, facilities and supply chain for the next inevitable event. That’s why AIB International has rolled out its Pandemic Prepared Certification, which focuses on risk mitigation and operational resiliency, with a strong emphasis on protocol management, employees and the facility. It also works with the supply chain to identify risks and provide a solutions-based approach to ensure food integrity.

Mr. Robert suggested the baking industry try to stay current with changes in regulations and those unexpected situations that occur daily.

“COVID-19 taught us that all scenarios are possible, even the unthinkable,” he observed. “Our industry must have well-thought-through crisis management plans that identify various scenarios beyond ‘food recall’ steps, and people who work in the company should know about the plan and feel confident in the leadership who developed it.”

Having an evolving crisis management plan will help bakers sleep better at night.