Our journey to becoming a fully accredited company!
It's hard to comprehend Arthur David now compared to 60 years ago...
Back then there were no Audits, no food safety procedures, no in depth allergen guidelines to work towards or health and safety laws to abide by, so how did we get here? How did we become one of the top food distributors in the UK? How do we now hold a AA* BRCGS accreditation?
It's no secret (mainly because we don't shut up about them) that we are incredibly proud of our accreditations and awards, but it hasn't been the easiest road to get here. Our most recent accreditation of AA* was achieved from an unannounced audit back in October 2022, yes that's right, unannounced - We knew they were coming, but we had absolutely no idea when! So it really was a case of being on top form everyday, and after a while that became our new normality. We have also been incredibly fortunate to have been recognised for a number of other awards, including Family Business of the year in 2017 and 1000 companies to inspire Britain.
Hayley Gilchrist joined the Arthur David family just under a year ago and took on the incredibly demanding job of managing our technical department and we must say, she really does do an outstanding job along with the rest of the team. We managed to pin Hayley down for a little Q&A;
Short and simple, what is it that you like about Arthur David?
Throughout my career so far I have worked for a range of businesses including start up, corporate and family businesses but no matter where I go I am always drawn back to that family like feeling within a company. The passion everyone has is next to nothing and the quirks and the character that come along with it are unmatched. There is such a huge sense of loyalty amongst all of the staff and as soon as you drive onto site you can feel the friendly culture oozing out of the walls. I love knowing I am part of a bigger picture too, its not just what we do day to day, but also the supply chain of our suppliers to all of our wonderful customers - I seem to be finding new places to eat on a regular basis as well!
What changes have you seen across the business since you joined?
We are constantly making changes to our systems with our most recent one being our first food safety culture questionnaire with employees and implementing Erudus which is an online specification system for our customers.
Where do you see us going with certification in the next few years?
We will be continuing with BRCGS Food Safety standard and the Soil Association and to build on that we may look at the gluten free module to support the category growth, as well as looking at what certificates our customers may benefit from in the future. Compliance and certification is forever adapting and improving so we need to continue to stay on top form.
What struggles do you face with unannounced audits?
It's all about maintaining good practice and studying the standards that the law requires us to abide by as a 365 day a year business. Lots of patience, lots of preparation and lots of trust in the staff members that make it all possible!
Do you enjoy what you do?
I find it incredibly rewarding when i see improvements and change across the business. The Technical department is SO much more the just audits, we are involved in every part of the business, which is essentially my favourite part of the job, being able to work with all of my colleagues on so many levels. To work well in the Technical team you need to be able to prioritise and work at a fast pace, especially within food service as food service is exchange so quickly.
Is there anything about Arthur David that surprises you?
Before my employment I would always drive past the site in Bishop Sutton and never realised how big and busy the site actually was , it still amazes me to this day! We really are part of a much bigger picture and I am so proud to be part of that, its a team effort from start to finish and its so great to see our customers create safe, nutritious and tasty dishes for the public.
For those that don't know, BRCGS stands for Brand Reputation Compliance Global Standard and is a consumer protection organisation which sets out key quality and safety standards throughout the food manufacturing industry. But why does it exist? It was created back in 1996 by a group of UK retailers who wanted to set consistent and transparent standards across the food industry supply chain and since then, has moved on to become one of the most important accreditations that a business can hold.
Here's to the next one (GULP)!