The food manufacturing, distribution, and service industries face constant pressure to move high volumes of inventory safely through the supply chain. A number of regulations, such as the Food Safety Modernization Act, have been introduced to add even greater levels of safety and efficiency. Many industry best practices have become well established, such as the use of food-grade stainless steel in the construction of food equipment and tagging equipment to optimize asset utilization and performance. Asset tagging is a useful way for companies in the food manufacturing and related industries to streamline their operations while still ensuring customer safety.
Food service businesses are no exception, and an organized maintenance management plan can become a real asset rather than a burden. In this post, we’ll explore five reasons why you should be tagging your food service equipment. With the high level of uncertainty in today’s world, it’s essential to monitor all costs and find innovative ways to improve efficiency. This list can be a great starting point for reviewing the asset management requirements for any food service business and learning how equipment labels and asset tags can provide excellent value.
1. Frequent Cleaning
In order to keep food service establishments safe, food service facilities and equipment must undergo frequent cleaning. Sanitary practices have never been more important than today, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when restaurants and other food service establishments are required to follow rigorous new cleanliness guidelines. Factory-installed labels and other markings can become worn with time and frequent cleaning, not to mention they often lack barcodes and other unique tracking information companies need to monitor their assets and track maintenance. Using an industrial tag that is suitable for the food service industry will ensure that the tag is chemical and antibacterial resistant.
2. A Clean and Professional Look
A warehouse and factory environment must be kept clean and presentable for vendor visits and auditors, but food service locations have customers visiting every day. Stainless steel tags provide a decorative and highly professional look for your equipment. Other asset tag materials, such as Metalphoto® aluminum, brass, and polyester, can also be used to add a distinctive appearance to your equipment labels. The most important consideration to weigh when selecting labels is to choose a material that is suitable for your specific application and the environment in which it will be used.
3. Easier Asset Tracking
Just like with any business, food service equipment should be tracked for maintenance and inventory purposes. Using barcode labels or asset tags will allow you to easily connect assets to a maintenance management or facility management software platform. This becomes especially helpful when coordinating maintenance work or repairs that often must be done under tight deadlines or at specific times of the day. For multi-site food service businesses, having full visibility into equipment and other assets distributed across locations is invaluable, allowing operators to make informed decisions regarding repairs or replacements based on data such as an asset’s maintenance and repair history, age, and expected lifespan. Likewise, having historical data on asset performance can help inform buying decisions when it’s time to replace costly equipment.
4. Safety and Hazard Communication
Safety is an important topic for any food service establishment. Safety warnings always must be communicated, and there may also be a need for specific instructions to be posted in certain areas or directly on equipment. Tags and labels are a great solution for sharing this information because you can easily customize the size and design for each marking. Many of these tags have the durability to withstand frequent cleanings with strong caustics and exposure to a variety of environmental conditions for many years. Labels are typically affixed to equipment using a strong adhesive or mechanical attachment. Choosing the right labels and tags provides greater confidence that your labels will remain in place for as long as you need them, meaning that essential operating, safety, and hazard warnings will remain visible throughout the life of your equipment.
5. Regulatory Compliance
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isn’t the only governing body that develops regulatory guidelines for food-related industries. The food service industry also must comply with guidelines and standards set forth by OSHA, the USDA, and industry bodies such as 3-A, the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), and others. These regulations and standards often contain important requirements for the labeling of food manufacturing facilities and equipment, service areas, and storage locations. Custom equipment tags can be used to supplement your existing markings or to replace worn or damaged labels. It’s always a useful practice to label essential equipment and work areas to reduce mistakes and the potential for injuries.
The food industry has a vast supply chain, with many entities and locations that can benefit from the use of equipment tags. Buildings such as distribution warehouses face several challenges that can be overcome with better labeling and inventory procedures. Any business that operates food service equipment can also benefit from custom asset tags, and they remain a worthwhile consideration for maintaining a safe and clean environment.