Lessons Learned at the WCMA Listening Sessions

Top minds in the cheese-making industry are concerned about labor, staffing and ever-changing regulations.

If you make cheese or butter, here’s what’s keeping you up at night, according to a series of listening sessions sponsored by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.

  • A tight labor market
  • Raising awareness of cheese-making careers
  • Complying with environmental and food safety regulations

Don’t worry. You can sleep better knowing there are solutions, say SEH food and beverage experts Kevin Christensen, PE, and Rick Viviani, who attended all five of sessions held throughout Wisconsin.

Some concerns, like the difficulty in attracting and retaining skilled staff and filling the pipeline with future workers, are the same as those facing the engineering industry.

RELATED CONTENT: 7 Ways to Engage a Team

“The cheese and butter industries are not alone,” says Christensen. “Many companies, including engineering consultants like SEH, are facing similar talent challenges.”

According to Christensen, innovative recruitment methods, benefit structures and employee perks have become critical to attracting the right kinds of people to your company — and keeping them. 

When it comes to regulatory compliance, cheese and butter makers feel they’re shooting at a moving target, notes Viviani.

“Changing compliance standards and staff turnover at regulatory agencies contribute to a sense of uncertainty,” notes SEH’s Rick Viviani.

Overcoming uncertainty, and making the right capital investments, takes confidence, adds Viviani.

It’s difficult for a business owner to make decisions about expansions and other capital investments when they don’t know for sure what will be allowed and what might be required at their facilities in the future,” says Viviani.

RELATED CONTENT: How a Food and Beverage Company Boosted Operations by Anticipating Regulations

Have questions?

Let’s talk. We’d love to share more insight gleaned from the listening sessions. At SEH, we’re working with food and beverage companies to overcome wastewater, staffing and complex regulatory challenges.

About the Experts

Kevin Christensen

Kevin Christensen is a water and wastewater engineer with more than 22 years of experience in the food industry. Contact Kevin

Rick Viviani

Rick Viviani is a client relationship specialist who has worked in the food and beverage industry for more than 12 years. Contact Rick

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