During this pandemic, we have learned that we cannot take our health for granted. No wonder that we also see an increased focus on food safety, and consequently on the importance of hygienic engineering and design. The newly established GFSI Hygienic Design Benchmarking Requirements confirm that hygienic design plays a foundational role in delivering consistent food safety and quality. Furthermore, the industry now widely acknowledges that applying hygienic design can also contribute to productivity and sustainability gains.
To support its members with guidance on how to interpret, prepare for, and comply with the new GFSI requirements, EHEDG established a strategic collaboration with 3A-SSI and embraced the development and publication of Hygienic Design Benchmarking for Food Safety Management systems by the GFSI organisation. We will shortly issue a white paper to support the EHEDG members with guidance on how to interpret, implement and comply to these new HD benchmarking requirements. These kind of initiatives align with our objective to offer our members a consistently high membership value.
How do we plan on going forward in 2022? EHEDG is committed to living up to its mission: to be the leading source of expertise in hygienic engineering and design.To further increase the EHEDG membership value, we will continue to professionalise our membership services. We have implemented clear performance objectives for our Head Office and instructed our Sub-Committees to initiate and deploy new projects and services within the EHEDG strategic framework. These new projects will offer our members better access to the wealth of combined expertise that EHEDG offers.
Last year, we witnessed a low training activity - a direct effect of the pandemic related restrictions. To facilitate the deployment of our training modules, we decided to invest in an online training platform. We also plan to streamline our guideline document development processes to support our Working Groups and to comply to our five-year renewal cycle. This process optimisation enables EHEDG to issue 10-15 new and updated guideline document releases every year.
Initially, the implementation of the five-year renewal cycle for certification was a painful process, but it has now come up to speed, and today we have more active certificates than ever before, plus a solid backlog of certification requests. This illustrates that the revised EHEDG Certification Program is highly valued by our members.
And after last year’s successful pilot, we are currently inviting hygienic engineering and design experts to conduct a new set of freely accessible EHEDG Connects Webinars. We will also launch the new welcome kit that will help our new members to quickly find their ways around the EHEDG community.
As with regard to member events: we have decided to run the EHEDG World Congress every second even year, repeat the successful EHEDG Online Event from 2021 every second uneven year, and run a physical EHEDG Plenary Meeting every year. So, EHEDG is ready to organise a large EHEDG World Congress in München in October this year, which was originally scheduled for 2020. We express our appreciation for the loyalty shown by all sponsors for their continued support of this delayed event.
Additionally, we have decided to launch a loyalty recognition programme for EHEDG Company Members, distinguishing them as EHEDG Company Gold Members, as well as an EHEDG Honorary Member programme for individual volunteers that have actively contributed to EHEDG over a long period of time. Details of the loyalty recognition program will follow.
Behind the scenes
With the completed transition of the Head Office to the Netherlands, all operational support and office activities are now officially unlinked from the former VDMA offices and systems. This was a necessary step to comply with the legal requirements that apply to managing EHEDG as a non-profit ANBI-status foundation. The last step in this transition is the ongoing replacement of web shop functionality.
We will launch a redesigned four-language website in the second quarter of 2022. This updated website will offer a better user experience, with simplified navigation, enriched member data updates, and a better integration of back-office processes. Part of this process is to redirect all local EHEDG domains to ehedg.org, which will enable us to harmonise our communications in line with the EHEDG values. In other words: we are moving with the times, for your benefit, and we thank you for your patience and support.
Some changes in leadership
Frederik Wellendorph has left the EHEDG Advisory Board and is followed up by Holger Schmidt (Mettler-Toledo). Karl-Heinz Bahr has decided to step-down as the chair of the EHEDG Sub-Committee Communication. A process to find and appoint a new chair for this sub-committee is ongoing. Karl-Heinz has kindly offered to stay on until a replacement has been identified.
Wishing you all a healthy, safe and successful start of this new year,
EHEDG President Ludvig Josefsberg