Not only does Plant Environmental and Energy Coordinator Tavaris take his job home with him, sometimes, he even takes it grocery shopping. “I’ll point out different brands of dog food to my wife and say ‘We make that. And that.’ And I’m proud of that.”
A typical day for Tavaris is spent making sure the equipment is running smoothly and that his operators are conducting their 15-minute checks. It falls on Tavaris’s shoulders to ensure that the products his plant produces are high in quality and made up to our high standards.
“You want to make sure that what they’re feeding their pet is just as important as what you’re putting on the table for your own kids.”
At each 15-minute check, an operator goes to his dryer and checks the product for any irregularities. “Keeping our eyes on the product every 15 minutes gives us ample time to make any corrections if necessary.”
At the hourly checks, an operator takes the product into the satellite lab to check for moisture. They ensure that protein, fat and moisture content levels are accurate. They measure bushel weight for density. To Tavaris, it’s a little like making a recipe. “Say you needed 3/4’s cup of chicken and a ½ cup of water. We’re able to take the product that comes off the dryer and compare it to the list that’s in the computer to make sure it all matches up.”
Tavaris is patient because quality assurance demands patience. “You just have to expect that you’re going to have to wait for each product to be inspected. You are going to wait. It’s that important to us. And to be able to see my company put their words into action, to actually see the different tests that are being done, you say, ‘Wow, they really do what they say.’”
At Purina, quality and cleanliness go hand in hand. “We have what we call a kitchen concept. No one wants to come inside a house and walk into a dirty kitchen. That’s where your food is prepared. We have sanitation specialists who focus on things you and I can’t even see. These guys use their expertise to make sure that every area is properly cleansed and sanitized with a solution that is not harmful to our pets.”
At the end of the day, Tavaris is proud to call Purina home. “Many of the people here are pet owners. And the people here purchase the same product they create. To me that says a lot.”
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