We believe that open collaboration pays off in the long run.
Quality Manager Jacob Tidemand, Rahbekfisk A / S
Rahbekfisk produces a large selection of ready-made fish dishes that are breaded, stuffed, wrapped with puff pastry or otherwise easily made available. In short, we try to make it easy, convenient and delicious to eat good food. When we produce highly processed foods that simply need to be heated up and eaten afterwards, we naturally have a huge responsibility for creating safe products. The security must have the same high level, regardless of whether the products are sold as a hard discount at DKK 30 per. kg or as luxury food for DKK 140 per kg, says CEO Morten Rahbek Hansen.
The financial crisis has meant increasing competitive pressure, where we have had to deliver the same high quality and security at a lower price. In addition, we have experienced an extreme focus on complaints, which has meant a reorganization of many processes.
We have replaced all pens in production so they can be detected in case of a blunt end in the finished products. All clothing routines have been sharpened and we have intensified the training and information of the staff. Finally, we have also introduced even more follow-up and expanded the department with an additional Quality Controller. If, for example, our customers find a pencil under audit, it is almost enough for them to return home without approving the factory, says Jacob Tidemand.
Another new development is an external cleaning inspection where Rahbekfisk's cleaning is reviewed from A-Z. First, the contractual relations between the company and the cleaning supplier are reviewed, and then the final cleaning is assessed, after which the results are maintained in a report shared by both the company and the cleaning supplier. Finally, the inspection is repeated on an ongoing basis, so that potential improvements are maintained over time. Failure to do the cleaning can have some serious consequences for the company - both with respect to the bacteriological standards and regarding the protection against undetermined allergens in the products. We have lots of audits from certification companies, customers and authorities, but they are carried out while production is in progress and therefore, they cannot function as actual cleaning audits. Although we are fortunate to have a permanent cleaning team, it is only natural that the level falls if you do not follow it up. Bureau Veritas Food Inspection has an experienced expert in the field, and during a trial period she went through the cleaning at our two factories, after which we have now made the scheme permanent. It has been really good to get external eyes on, and I think many companies could benefit from putting extra focus on cleaning, and maybe achieve some sort of 2nd or 3rd party certification of the cleaning program, says Jacob Tidemand.
When Poul Rahbek Hansen started Rahbek fish at the port of Fredericia in 1955, the idea was to utilize easy access to the fresh fish to give consumers access to good tasting experiences. Since then, fishing quotas have become smaller while the demand is growing, and at the same time globalization has provided new opportunities for purchases from other countries.
We buy pangasius from Vietnam and the most amazing tilapia from Indonesia. Furthermore, a lot of fishing goes from the Pacific via China to Europe. therefore, much more focus has been placed on the ethical part. We also visit new suppliers before start-up. For an example we have contact with a Danish consulting company in Vietnam, who performs quality control for us. We also notice an increasing interest from our customers who expect us to be able to document sustainability, legality, etc., and we have also, at an early stage, chosen to be certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. We are aware of other certification schemes in the area, and we will continue to focus on sustainability and CSR in the future, says Jacob Tidemand.
Although the company is behind a large, terror-proof fence at the Port of Fredericia, the company has an open approach to its surroundings.
We have a very open relationship with our certification business, and we also like to set up a test business when the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration has had to train new employees. Something new emerges every time. Should we get a customer complaint, we are also very open in order to figure out where the error occurred and what we do to prevent it from happening another time. We believe that open collaboration pays off in the long run, says Jacob Tidemand. He seems like a calm and competent quality manager who acts like a fish in the water at Rahbekfisk.
Rahbekfisk supplies frozen fish products and ready meals to retail chains throughout Europe, and the company was among the first in Denmark to be certified by Bureau Veritas Certification according to the English BRC and German/French IFS standards.
The certification company has just completed the audit marking the 10th anniversary of the first certification with Rahbekfisk, and which so many times in the past has again been awarded the best grade "Grade A". There were also praises from Lead Auditor Karen Berg-Madsen, who called the employees competent and engaged. So, even though no gold watches were awarded on the anniversary, it was in many ways a remarkable milestone.