Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Technological Interventions in Hygiene Management

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Hygiene Managers or Hygienists, the freshly minted interactive and customer-facing role has been fashioned from Quality Control Managers of yore, the traditional back-room boys who lurked around with note pads and stern faces. The recent changes experienced across segments have increased awareness on hygiene globally and forced industries to create a highly visible, technology-driven role and process to deliver clean and safe services to demanding customers. Hygiene Manager of The St Regis Mumbai, Varsha Punjabi and Food Technologist and Hygiene Specialist of Jio World, Reliance Industries, Chetali Shah, share their views on safety, sanitation and technology with Clean India Journal.

I don’t think the benefits of the Hygiene Manager’s role are tangible. But if came to having hygiene managers Vs not having one, I would think HMs have brought in holistic improvement in the areas we function.

Varsha Punjabi

Food Safety & Sanitation

Microbiologist-turned Hygiene Manager of The St. Regis Mumbai, Varsha Punjabi, runs a tight ship enforcing compliance to food safety and sanitation guidelines. She is an APEC (Asia Pacific Excluding China) advisory board member for food safety for Marriott International.

Food temperature monitoring, vendor audit and various Quality Assurance parameters like pH, moisture, humidity and storage conditions are some of the prime factors influencing food safety today. Before the widespread adoption of IoT sensors in hygiene management, operations relied heavily on manual monitoring, periodic inspections, and reactive responses to issues. The introduction of IoT sensors has changed hygiene operations.

IoT sensors continuously monitor critical parameters such as temperature, humidity, and sanitation, reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses by ensuring that food is stored, transported, and processed under optimal conditions. Real-time data on food quality parameters like pH, moisture content, and oxygen levels, is made available to maintain consistency in product quality.

With real-time monitoring, it is much easier to identify inefficiencies in processes, such as energy waste or product spoilage, allowing for targeted improvements and leading to cost savings in the long run. Further the automated alerts enable quicker response to issues such as equipment malfunctions or temperature deviations, minimizing downtime and improving overall operational efficiency. Hence the reports generated from real-time monitoring ensures compliances with food safety regulations and standards, reducing the risk of fines and legal liabilities, thereby building consumer trust and loyalty to the brand.

By optimizing resource usage and minimizing waste through better monitoring and control, IoT sensors contribute to sustainable practices within the food industry.

Accuracy in decisions with real-time data, allows in depth analysis to identify trends, patterns, and opportunities for improvement, and implement continuous improvement in hygiene and food safety practices.

Predictive maintenance is simplified with sensors which monitor the condition of equipment and facilities related to hygiene practices. By analyzing sensor data, hygiene managers can predict when maintenance or cleaning tasks are needed, reducing the risk of equipment failures or hygiene breaches. They can also track records on compliance and reporting. By monitoring hygiene parameters closely, the hygiene practices can be consistently implemented, leading to improved product quality and reduced risk of contamination or spoilage.

The data collected on the usage patterns of facilities and equipment, allow hygiene managers to optimize cleaning schedules based on actual usage rather than fixed timetables. This ensures that cleaning efforts are targeted where they are most needed, improving efficiency and reducing resource wastage.

Similarly, remote monitoring and management of hygiene practices is enabled, allowing managers to oversee operations from anywhere with internet access. This flexibility is especially valuable for managing multiple locations or sites.

Overall, the implementation of IoT sensors in hygiene and food safety offers a wide range of benefits that contribute to safer, higher-quality food products, reduced costs, and improved operational efficiency for businesses in the food industry.

Facility managers can make informed decisions, optimize resources, and improve overall hygiene conditions while ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals with the help of IOT.

Chetali Shah

Corporate Safety & Sanitation

Food technologist and hygiene specialist Chetali Shah from Jio World, Reliance Industries, emphasises the need to leverage technology for real-time monitoring of hygiene and food safety. While traditional methods of manual inspections are vulnerable to human error, technology brings a more accurate and objective view to the dashboard. She shares her views on leveraging IoT (Internet of Things) for decision making and prompt interventions with continuous data feed from sensors.

“In today’s world, the importance of maintaining a clean and sanitized environment cannot be overstated, as it directly impacts the health and well-being of individuals within these spaces. With advancements in technology, particularly the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT) based sensors, facility managers can monitor hygiene in real-time, enabling them to make informed decisions to ensure safety and cleanliness.

IoT-based sensors, connected wirelessly through the internet, provide a real-time view of cleanliness levels within a facility. These sensors can be strategically placed in various areas, such as restrooms, kitchens, and high-touch surfaces, to continuously monitor hygiene parameters. Parameters could include the presence of harmful bacteria, humidity levels, air quality, and hand hygiene compliance, among others.

The real-time data generated by these sensors is transmitted to a centralized platform, where facility managers can access it through intuitive dashboards. This data allows them to gain insights into hygiene status and potential problem spots and take immediate corrective actions. For instance, if a restroom’s hygiene level drops below a certain threshold, an alert can be triggered, prompting the cleaning staff to take immediate measures to address the issue. This technology-driven approach also helps in early detection of potential hygiene breaches enabling facility managers to proactively address them, reducing the risk of infection transmission.

Real-time monitoring through IoT based sensors helps in resource optimization. By identifying high-traffic areas that require frequent cleaning, HMs can allocate resources efficiently, avoiding unnecessary cleaning in low-traffic zones. This leads to cost savings while ensuring that critical areas are adequately maintained at all times. Data collected over time can be used to track trends, assess effectiveness of cleaning protocols, and identify areas for improvement.”

IoT, connecting devices to each other and the cloud, has made the job of the Hygiene Manager more productive with real-time data from strategically placed sensors, thus ensuring the customer is served with the highest standards of safety and sanitation.

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