Nobody likes paperwork at the best of times, especially if you’re checking into a venue on your way to a meeting. For the food manufacturing industry, though, this is seen as a necessary evil – designed to ensure food safety as part of regulatory compliance, while allowing visitors and contractors on site.
But is there a better way to run the health screening process? One that makes welcoming guests smoother and less stressful?
Having worked with many food manufacturers, we’ve spotted some common - but easily avoidable - pitfalls that many companies fall into when faced with the ‘dreaded’ health questionnaire.
We believe by following these three steps, the screening process could be streamlined to make site visits altogether more pleasant.
Step 1: Put hospitality first
With any site visit, there is always going to be an element of administration on arrival. However, this shouldn’t be at the expense of a friendly and hospitable greeting. Far too often, receptionists get caught up in a huge volume of paperwork, which means they focus on procedures, rather than giving guests a warm welcome.
Step 2: Streamline the management process
Keeping up with the paper chain between the front desk and management can be a nightmare. Head office staff waste a lot of time making sure receptionists are filling out documentation, checking for manual errors, and keeping up to date with legal and auditing requirements.
The process needs to be smoother – not only to save precious man-hours, but to create a more productive relationship between management and reception.
Step 3: Make the health screening procedure less annoying
Let’s face it, the current paper-based health screening procedure is annoying for everyone. Receptionists have to print documents, verify information and file records; visitors have to spend time completing forms when they want to get on with the task at hand; and management need to oversee the process when they could be doing better things. It needs to change!
How can food manufacturers streamline the health screening process?
Of course there if you’re reading these three steps and wondering where to start, there is a simple solution. In order to reduce the stress and workload involved in site visits, many food manufacturers are migrating from a paper-based system to using visitor management software.
By digitizing the welcome process, your guests can complete essential documentation much more easily. Health questions and legal text can be added to visitor check-ins using customized smart flows, which upholds safety standards. And because it’s run through a paperless, digital system, it’s much more intuitive to the visitor experience.
Managing visitors effectively and comply with food safety regulations
Moving to an electronic system can reduce internal pressures, too. Your receptionists no longer have to print and coordinate essential paperwork, while the virtual nature of electronic administration means information is easily stored and organized – useful for auditing purposes.
All in all, this leaves your front-line staff free to focus on greeting guests with a warm welcome. And the software even automatically notifies key personnel when a visitor checks in, so they’re expecting their arrival.
The importance of a warm welcome
To create a pleasant working atmosphere, the guest must come first. A warm welcome means more than a friendly face - without having to focus on inconvenient paperwork, your receptionists can add those ‘small touches’ that make visitor feel valued. This could mean taking their coat; remembering how they take their tea or coffee; even advance-arranging transport for the end of their visit.
These might seem like minor changes, but they can make a huge difference. For example, we work with Greencore Group Group, a leading manufacturer of convenience food, whose reception staff process around 6,000 visitors a year across 15 food production sites in the UK.
Leaving behind the laborious task of getting guests to sign in a book, tearing slips out and inserting them into badge holders has saved Greencore’s receptionists huge amounts of time. It’s also increased visitor satisfaction and the electronic check-in system has received some really positive comments.
Your visitor's feedback
Good feedback is incredibly important. Visitors’ first encounters set the tone for the rest of their experience, so providing a calm, organized greeting will put them on the right foot for the rest of the day.
Plus, as well as fostering feelings of goodwill towards your business, they’ll look forward to coming back – rather than dreading the piles of paperwork they’re used to being faced with.
How do long-winded sign-in procedures impact your visitor experience? Leave a comment below – we’d love to hear your views.