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Executive Grapevine Article

In an Article was published recently in Executive Grapevine's Interim Expert Insights, Ged Barnett argued that the food industry could have avoided the scandal of horsemeat in processed beef products or at least could have been aware of it before the news broke.  The article can be viewed at Expert Insights and a transcript of the Article is provided below:-
Turnoak Interim Management was
founded as a specialist provider of
interim managers in 1999 by Ged
Barnett. He brings a wealth of
knowledge and experience in senior
positions in Information Technology
(IT) and international management
consulting and has the added
experience of having worked as an
interim manager himself. Ged not
only runs the business but also plays
an active day-to-day role.  His
experience of IT and systems roles,
from Programmer to IT Director / CIO
and consultancy, helps us to
understand the needs of clients and
provide only candidates who fit the
specification thereby saving our
clients valuable time. This is
complemented by our constant
efforts to find and recruit interim
managers with deep experience and
the highest levels of expertise, the
details of which are stored on our
register of candidates database 
ready for client assignments.

Established and Proven

Abstract computers, technology and internet

A Blend for Horsemeat

Could horsemeat contamination have been prevented?  It is clear that food retail and processing companies have little control over their suppliers to allow it to happen and consequently we can expect more bad news about our processed food.

Total control of the supply chain is impossible given the global nature of commerce today but better information on the supplier community would have made the scandal much less likely.

Turnoak used a blend of interim management and consultancy in a fashion retailer where adverse press comments for using underage workers had potential for seriously damaging their reputation on the high street and the administrative effort and complexity of ethical compliance was increasing.  The work was undertaken in stages to provide an extranet - a closed internet based system, private to our client and their suppliers - to capture information on how ethical the suppliers and their factories were being.  Of course much more data was collected but it was the ethical trading elements that drove the development.

We used an expert Supplier Collaboration Consultant to define the scope of the extranet, the information that needed to be collected from the supply chain and at what levels, what interaction with existing systems was needed and the timescales for and costs of development.  Then we used an Interim IT Manager who managed the selection of vendors of suitable extranet products by guiding client management through the decision making process whilst ensuring technical feasibility and compliance.  Finally, an interim Change Manager established a trial and then managed the implementation of the system, including providing training at the retailer and suppliers to ease the effort and pain of change.  Continuity was maintained by keeping the consultant involved throughout.

Whilst not foolproof, the new system provides vital information on the ethical stance of suppliers and, moreover, will be able to prove to the public and authorities that every effort has been made to ensure compliance to stipulated standards.  This was achieved by blending interim management with consultancy from a single source.  Meanwhile, the food industry seems to have been blending horsemeat.

A similar strategic extranet development in food retail and processing companies could have forewarned of potential disasters, especially as their supply chains are complex and multi levelled.  Prevention is always better than cure and any manufacturer will say that quality comes from capturing information in the process and not measuring it afterwards.  DNA tests in the UK are too late!
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