Skills Food And Beverage Processing Supervisor near Edmonton (AB)

Find out what skills you typically need to work as a food and beverage processing supervisor in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Supervisors, food and beverage processing (NOC 9213).

Expertise

People working in this occupation usually apply the following skill set.

  • Recommend measures to improve productivity and product quality
  • Supervise, co-ordinate and schedule (and possibly review) activities of workers
  • Establish methods to meet work schedules and co-ordinate work activities with other work units
  • Identify, evaluate, control and prevent hazards at all stages of the food production process

Skills and knowledge

The following skills and knowledge are usually required in this occupation.

Essential skills

See how the 9 essential skills apply to this occupation.

Reading
  • Read memos from managers concerning upcoming activities. (2)
  • Read company policies and procedures for safe and clean plant operation. (2)
  • Read quality control manuals which include specifications as well as narrative information in order to ensure that all the quality requirements set forth by the company are met. (3)
  • Read regulatory information from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in order to be able to comply with government policy that impacts on fish processing. (3)
  • Read the Worker's Compensation Act in order to be able to appropriately advise workers concerning their requests for compensation following an accident in the workplace. (3)
  • May read the collective agreement to be knowledgeable of all its provisions. (3)
  • Read Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) materials to determine the circumstances in which chemicals in the plant, such as cleaning fluids, may have dangerous properties. (3)
  • May read HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) training materials and related work procedures to ensure the plant conforms to required operational standards. (3)
  • Read manufacturers' manuals for machinery and equipment in order to determine a preventive maintenance schedule. (3)
Document use
  • Complete reporting forms such as the temperature control sheet, inspection report, daily production report and inventory record. (1)
  • Refer to signs in the workplace displaying Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS) icons that are used to alert workers of specific hazards. (1)
  • Complete tally sheets for incoming fish or product at various stages of processing. (1)
  • Refer to lists of phone numbers to notify processing workers when to come in for an additional shift. (1)
  • Use a floor plan sketch to organize equipment and materials in the processing area. (1)
  • Refer to pictures of various species of fish, showing details of their size, shape and colour. (1)
  • May refer to conversion charts when converting between imperial and S.I. measures. (1)
  • Refer to Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS) labels on chemical products used in the plant to understand possible hazards. (2)
  • Read specifications regarding weight, dimensions and packing requirements for products. (2)
  • May refer to assembly drawings to understand how machines are taken apart for cleaning or repair in order to supervise cleaning and maintenance procedures. (2)
  • Refer to charts and tables in quality control manuals in order to ensure that the size of portions, cooking temperatures and packaging meet required specifications. (2)
  • Use graphs and tables to explain the significance of production and safety data to processing staff. (2)
  • Enter workers' hours into daily/weekly payroll records, summarize and verify. They investigate discrepancies and inaccuracies in payroll records and time cards brought forward by workers. (3)
  • Prepare and read work schedules for multiple daily shifts involving hundreds of workers. (3)
Writing
  • Write reminder notes regarding changes to deadlines or to schedule meetings. (1)
  • Type notices to be posted on the bulletin board for processing staff regarding upcoming events, such as social activities and training opportunities. (1)
  • Write short, single-issue, e-mail messages to managers, suppliers and buyers. (2)
  • Contribute to or assist in the writing of training materials, work procedures (standard operating procedures) and process descriptions. (2)
  • May write incident or accident reports, usually in a standard format. (2)
  • Write disciplinary letters to staff they supervise, using a standard format. (2)
  • May write performance evaluations for the workers they supervise. (3)
NumeracyMoney Math
  • Make petty cash purchases and total an Expense Claim form. (1)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Prepares and approves summaries of hours worked and wages paid, multiplying the hourly cost of labour by the number of hours that individuals have worked. Passes these summaries on to the payroll office for processing. (2)
  • May prepare a budget for maintenance and repairs to fish plant equipment or prepare a budget for the cost of buying and installing new equipment. The supervisor may phone around for quotes or scan catalogues for prices in order to prepare the budgets for these small projects. (2)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Ensure the accuracy of scales used in processing by verifying the weight of products on a regular basis using an alternate scale. (1)
  • Find the tare weight of a product by subtracting the weight of the container and wrappings. (2)
  • Use a micrometer to measure the seams on cans in order to ensure conformity with standards. (2)
Data Analysis Math
  • Compare product yield and processing time required for different products over different time periods to determine whether there has been any slippage in efficiency. (2)
  • Calculate percentage yield at each step of the processing operation by comparing the weight of raw fish to the weight of the fish after various processing steps. For example, they calculate the yield of salmon fillets after trimming and pinning, and then again after skinning. They use yield calculations to identify problems and optimize the yield of high quality, high-priced, finished product. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Given a number of workers, estimate the amount of time it will take to wash and trim a certain amount of fish. The size, condition or type of fish may be complicating factors. (2)
  • Estimate the number of staff needed to complete the processing of a batch of product. The supervisor must factor in the type of seafood being processed, the quantity to be handled, the timelines of the job, and any special processing requirements. (2)
Oral communication
  • Give direction and provide feedback to the plant workers they supervise. (1)
  • May talk to merchants about production supplies such as solvents, gloves and packaging materials. (1)
  • May interview prospective plant workers and administer qualifying tests. (2)
  • Provide orientation and individual training to new employees. This includes informing workers of unsafe work practices or deficiencies in their work style and informing them of risk factors for repetitive motion injury. (2)
  • May talk to union representatives and safety committee members regarding issues that affect labour relations. (2)
  • Discuss quality concerns with auditors from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. (2)
  • Talk to the supervisor of the previous shift during the shift change to learn of any situations or problems that will affect the efficiency of the shift just starting. (2)
  • Interact with managers to exchange information, receive updates and discuss any conflict resolution issues that may require input from management. (3)
  • Lead and facilitate training sessions for groups of processing staff on topics such as processing procedures or plant safety. (3)
  • May mentor and coach team leaders or other individuals they supervise to provide motivation and to provide instruction on new procedures. (3)
  • May facilitate and present information at committee meetings. They contribute best-practices information and provide suggestions of how to improve production flow. (3)
  • May defuse delicate situations with fish harvesters, using humour, firmness and understanding of the local culture to ensure that all harvesters are treated fairly. (3)
  • Mediate conflicts among employees supervised, assessing the extent to which the complaint or conflict is justified, seeking acceptable solutions, and motivating employees to work together. In plants with a largely immigrant workforce, complicating factors can include differing cultural expectations and language barriers. (4)
ThinkingProblem Solving
  • May encounter an unforeseen production stoppage, such as that caused by a sudden failure in the water supply to the plant. Such a situation leads to an immediate stopping of production until a supply of clean, potable water can be assured. They take steps to minimize loss of product and may reschedule staff to complete the work at a later time. (2)
  • Face staff shortages due to absenteeism or staff turnover. They reorganize the schedule to maintain plant operation and take measures to ensure sufficient staff for the next shift. Disciplining or firing unreliable employees may be part of the long-term solution. (2)
  • Discover that there is tension between certain workers, leading to a negative atmosphere along the production line. They identify the source of the problem and talk to these workers individually to counsel them. In rare instances, they may have to move people who cannot work together. (3)
  • May find that a certain employee does not have the knack of placing fillets on the conveyer belt properly, creating an efficiency issue. They take some time to demonstrate the way it should be done and may partner that person with another for some added assistance. If the problem persists, the supervisor removes the person from the line, reassigning them to another task, or terminating their employment if no suitable placement can be found. (3)
  • Find that a new policy, such as a quality monitoring system brought in by management, was not communicated well, leading to a union-sponsored walkout. They meet with management and suggest strategies that, in their opinion, will effectively communicate the aims of the new policy and defuse the situation. (3)
  • May find that the daily yield of product is down and does not fall within the normal range of variation. They examine a number of variables that could account for the problem. Is the waste caused by inefficient packaging, employee carelessness or faulty equipment? Is the computer printout accurate? Are the pieces that are going into the boxes of the correct size? After doing a detailed analysis they are able to take corrective action. (3)
Decision Making
  • Decide when to change the sizing of boxes, taking into account the size of the fillets coming along the line and the number of fillets required in boxes of various sizes. (1)
  • Decide how many workers to bring in for a shift and which workers should be contacted, using the seniority list. (2)
  • Assign workers to different jobs or training positions depending on individual ability, experience and attitude. (2)
  • Make grading decisions such as deciding when to use products for meal (e.g. cat food) because the pieces are too small to be packaged as fillets. (2)
  • Decide whether to let workers go home when extreme weather such as a severe snow storm begins during the shift. (2)
  • Decide how much product to isolate and what other steps to take when they discover that a contaminant such as diesel oil has entered the processing line. (3)
  • Decide when it is necessary to counsel employees about sensitive issues. The supervisor has to act when it appears that the collective agreement, health and safety standards, quality control or harassment policies have been compromised. For example, it may be necessary to discuss a substance abuse problem with a worker who turns up for work in what the supervisor judges to be an impaired condition. (3)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

First-line supervisors in the seafood industry plan and sequence their own job tasks to cope with the volumes of fish entering the plant. They co-ordinate their work activities with other supervisors to ensure that the work gets done effectively. As overall problem-solvers and decision makers on the plant floor they have a wide range of responsibilities for equipment, staff, record keeping, quality and safety. The pace of work may be hurried and the supervisor must always be willing to reorganize the work schedule and priorities to accommodate more incoming product. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember the terms and provisions of the collective agreement so that they are able to advise employees on labour relations issues.
  • Remember a variety of alpha-numeric product codes and operational codes that are needed to open a machine for cleaning.
  • Remember the names and faces of harvesters and the nature of past interactions with them.
  • Remember the sequenced steps in procedures, such as the ten steps for cleaning a shrimp.
  • May remember the order of names on the seniority list and the phone numbers of many of these individuals.
  • Remember the symptoms of various types of machine breakdowns and the steps that were taken in the past to repair them.
Finding Information
  • Get information about the amount of fish aboard a ship by communicating with the skipper by cell phone. (1)
  • Locate information in seniority and other employee lists. (1)
  • May phone a counterpart in another plant to inquire about the efficiency of new equipment that may be introduced. (1)
  • Check a table in the quality control manual to verify information on allowable temperature variations in cooking. (1)
  • May participate in accident, incident or near miss investigations, interviewing workers and reviewing records to find causal factors. (3)
Digital technology
  • They may use e-mail to communicate with management, buyers and other supervisors. (1)
  • Use other computer applications. For example, they use computer - controlled scales to weigh and label fish products. (1)
  • Supervisors may write letters, procedures or notices for processing staff. (2)
  • They may use the MS Excel to crack and analyse production. (2)
Additional informationOther Essential Skills:

Working with Others

The ways in which first-line supervisors work with others may differ in specific plants, based on the organizational structure of the plant. Workers in some processing plants are organized into self-directed work teams, consisting of a team leader and team members; in such situations, the first-line supervisor fills the role of coach. Other plants follow a more traditional model, with workers reporting individually to their supervisor.

Continuous Learning

First-line supervisors in the seafood industry may take training in teamwork and problem solving. Most training - e.g., Quality Control and chargehand skills, takes place off season. Training is generic and is offered to everyone, with the supervisors receiving the training first. Besides formal training, considerable learning occurs on the job. Many first-line supervisors began on the line and were promoted into their present positions based on their experience and leadership qualities.

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