Technology, pigs and people: that is what it is going to take to meet the world’s growing demand for protein, and according to Jon Hoek of Summit Precision Production (SPP), the pork industry is actively working to meet that demand responsibly and proficiently.
The greatest challenge facing profitable pork production is the human factor, Hoek said in his remarks during the emerging technologies seminar at the American Association of Swine Veterinarians meeting in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Access to and training of a reliable workforce that is not riddled with high turnover is essential. Employees that are informed and engaged realize many benefits. Likewise, Hoek said pigs benefit from environments where employees are happy.
SPP’s Humantec system is designed to change the paradigm by establishing engaging lean processes and continuing improvement. Hoek believes it is a transformational step change in pig production.
By factoring in the human element with the health, safety and well-being of the livestock, producers have the potential to provide efficient, productive and, ultimately, more profitable delivery of protein. It can all be measured, Hoek said, which is a critical element for driving the production strategies of livestock producers.
Hoek explained that the bottom line of the ledger speaks volumes, and the cost of high turnover of employees alone has a dramatic effect. The cost on the health of the pigs is also measurable. Healthy pigs thrive better when cared for by satisfied and engaged humans working in their spaces, he said.
As people, pigs, process and performance are harmonized and optimized as a system, wrapping the employee tools for lean manufacturing and continuous improvement within the barn bring better functionality and form to everything that goes on under that roof. The end result will be improved human and animal performance, a competitive advantage and overall profitability, Hoek said.