Fruit Growers Supply Company
Exceeding AIB Standards With a High-Tech Pest Management System
“We needed to partner with a pest management company with extensive training and experience in AIB standards that could also provide the in-depth documentation we would need for our first AIB audit.”
-- Tom Deering, Plant Manager, Fruit Growers Supply Company
Fruit Growers Supply Company (FGS) is the supply and manufacturing affiliate of Sunkist Growers Inc. in California. Organized in 1907, FGS provides its Sunkist grower members and others in the agricultural community with the materials they need to grow, harvest, package and ship citrus.
From its 214,000 square-foot Carton Plant, located on 26 acres in Ontario, California, FGS supplies cartons to more than 45 FGS/Sunkist-affiliated packinghouses in California and Arizona, as well as other produce customers. The FGS Carton Plant, like many supply and manufacturing facilities, is vulnerable to pest infestations due to a steady flow of supply shipments, open shipping and receiving areas and heavy traffic through multiple entrances. The carton manufacturing operation requires massive amounts of corrugated board, a material highly attractive to a variety of pests. Much of this corrugated board is delivered and stored in a covered but otherwise outdoor area.
Improving Quality Assurance Through AIB Audit
To cope with these challenges, FGS emphasizes quality assurance protocols and employee communication at all levels of production to monitor and address potential problems quickly and effectively. In 2002, FGS decided to provide its customers with yet another measure of quality assurance: meeting American Institute of Baking (AIB) standards. FGS chose to become an AIB audit customer because it is committed to doing all it can to provide clean, safe products.
AIB audits evaluate every aspect of a facility’s production processes – including pest control – against comprehensive and stringent standards of quality, safety and consistency. AIB compliance requires a facility to provide a great deal of documentation, especially when it comes to pest management.
To ensure that its pest management program would adhere to the strictest AIB standards and supply extensive documentation as proof, FGS decided to partner with a pest management professional known for its extensive AIB training, its depth of experience with AIB-compliant facilities, and an ability to provide detailed documentation quickly and reliably.
The Solution: An Orkin IPM Program with PowerTrak Electronic Pest Monitoring and Documentation
FGS partnered with Orkin Commercial Services to design and implement a customized Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. Because detailed documentation was imperative, Orkin augmented its IPM program with PowerTrak, Orkin’s exclusive electronic pest monitoring and reporting system. Using handheld devices, Orkin technicians on site electronically monitor and record any pest activity. The data is then submitted automatically to a database at the branch office. This type of ongoing and easily accessible information provides regulators and inspectors with the kind of documentation needed to assure the public and other vendors that a facility and its products are free of pests and other contaminants.
The PowerTrak system also gives FGS better reports, which in turn lead to more effective treatments. Graphs, trends and statistics can be produced immediately to allow Orkin’s technician to track trends more effectively and identify potential problems before they become widespread.
“The PowerTrak handhelds play a significant role in Fruit Growers record-keeping operation. More than anything, we have very conscientious technicians who understand the facility and always acknowledge the customer concerns,” said Orkin Branch Account Manager Denicia Lechleiter. “Fruit Growers and Orkin is a perfect match – we work well together and appreciate customers who are dedicated to reaching the mutual goal of keeping a facility pest free.”
In addition, the effective communication between FGS and Orkin furthers the success of the pest management program. If something needs to be addressed, FGS and its employees quickly implement Orkin’s recommendations. This kind of communication is critical to the program’s success.
“Fruit Growers shines when it comes to effective communication between our team of technicians and the customer,” said Denecia Lechleiter. “If we ask them to make a repair or address an issue, it is completed by our next visit. We could not ask for a better customer.”
A Perfect AIB Score
In its first two AIB inspections in 2002 and 2003, FGS received the highest possible score in the area of pest control – a perfect 200 points. This result serves as proof to FGS’ customers and prospects of the company’s dedication to providing safe, superior products.
“Orkin’s PowerTrak program of electronic monitoring and documentation is the tool we needed to accurately track our pest management program across seasons, products and numerous areas within our facility,” said Tom Deering. “We’ve been able to prevent pests from becoming a problem and document our activities quickly and accurately. Our perfect pest-control score on the AIB audit speaks to the success of our partnership with Orkin.”
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