In this article, we will present five ways that you can secure success when introducing shadow boards to your food production site.

Since popularising this storage solution in 2011, we have supported countless sites with their shadow board projects. Because of this, we are extremely familiar with what it takes for a shadow board project to enhance an operation – extending the lifespan of equipment, making life easier for hygiene and production teams, reducing food safety risks, and cutting down on wasted time.

We are also aware of the common queries and concerns surrounding shadow boards, with one of the most frequently asked questions: How do I ensure my shadow board project is successful? This is an important point to address and one that we will be covering in the following article.

We have split this guide into five key action points and there are valuable takeaways in each section. However, if you are short on time, you can use the links below to jump to the topic most relevant to your project.

Prioritise the Training of Your Operatives

Often, sites that struggle with unenthusiastic operatives and missing or damaged equipment will view shadow boards as an unnecessary complication. After all, it can be hard to imagine a reluctant workforce engaging with any new addition.

However, if they are rolled out alongside a comprehensive training program, shadow boards have the potential to win over even the most stubborn of operatives. The trick is to highlight the key benefits that will be enjoyed by everyone who engages with them:

  • Instead of searching for the right equipment or making do with utensils that have been damaged by improper storage, your operatives will be able to find what they need immediately.
  • A highly visual storage solution will allow your operatives to keep a close eye on the quality and suitability of each item. Any replacements can then be ordered in plenty of time.
  • Manufactured using fully certified, anti-scuff, water repellent materials, shadow boards will be easy for your Hygiene Team to keep clean.

Alternatively, if your team is already made up of motivated and dedicated operatives, any training requirements will be minimal. Shadow boards are a user-friendly storage solution that clearly indicates where each piece of equipment needs to be placed. They can also be set up in around five minutes and have been designed with ease-of-cleaning in mind.

Evaluate Your Colour-Coding Policy

Before committing to the installation of new shadow boards, its important that you take a moment to assess your site’s current approach to colour-coding. After all, shadow boards could help to reinforce this policy if you have them printed in the colours of your factory zones and the equipment that will be hung on them. This will only be a positive thing if your colour-coding policy makes sense. However, if your policy is overcomplicated and in need of updating, you will want to do this before ordering your boards.

Drawing on his 20 years of industry experience, Klipspringer Director Alex Carlyon has created a guide to simplifying the colour-coding policy at your site. Our team can also help you with this task, supporting you as you tackle common challenges such as allergen segregation, production zoning, and audit compliance.

Consider the Care and Maintenance of Your Shadow Boards

Whenever you are introducing new equipment or storage solutions to your site, it’s important to consult with your Hygiene Team. After all, they will be responsible for keeping your boards in good condition and getting the equipment ready for your production line.

If your Hygiene Team is involved in the early stages of the shadow board project, they will likely appreciate the selection of shadow boards that are water repellent, food-safe, and resistant to scuffs and scratches.

The avoidance of hidden crevices is also key, so pay close attention to the hook system and mounting method of your boards. As far as your Hygiene Team is concerned, magnetic mounting should be ideal, as they will be able to lift the boards off the walls whenever they need to clean behind them – eliminating the tricky task of cleaning behind fixed boards or working around fiddly fastenings.

Once you have selected your boards, the next step is to update the Cleaning Instruction Cards at your site. A top tip is to include lots of photos and to keep the instructions as simple as possible. When writing the CICs, you need to make sure your Hygiene Team know exactly what cleaning equipment to use for the boards, how often they need to clean them, and what condition the boards should be in ahead of production. Making this clear will help to extend the lifespan of your shadow board storage.

Ensure the Proper Care of Equipment

One of the main benefits of rolling out a shadow board project is that it will often bring hidden equipment out into a highly visual space – making it easier for you and your team to keep an eye on the condition of each utensil and cut down on the number of tools that go missing. Shadow boards will also safeguard your equipment from damage during storage, reducing the risk of them being knocked or scratched by passing operatives or containers. To ensure your site is reaping all of these benefits, it’s important that you encourage the proper care of equipment at every turn.

As mentioned above, proper training is a great way to do this and you could even take this a step further by appointing shadow board heroes in each department – aka operatives who are responsible for encouraging their team to put equipment back in the right place and report any damaged equipment the moment it is spotted.

Another idea is to add a heading to your shadow board that will reinforce a culture of care. For example, ‘Please clean equipment before returning to board’, ‘Food Contact Use Only’, and ‘All utensils must be returned to board clean and intact’.

Establish a Clear Plan for the Future

As with any new addition to your site, it’s essential to think about the future – embracing every opportunity to extend the lifespan of your shadow boards and make the most of them for years to come. With this in mind, you should consider the mounting method of your boards. This is particularly important if you regularly move around the production lines at your site. Here, freestanding shadow boards will be useful, especially ones with wheels, as it will be extremely easy for your operatives to move them as your site evolves. Shadow boards with magnetic mounting will also allow for this, simply lifted on and off the walls as required.

Another idea is to include QR codes on your shadow boards. This will allow your operatives to re-order equipment at the click of a button. Instead of running the risk of the wrong utensils being selected or your team failing to get the right equipment in place before an important audit or customer visit, the QR codes will take your operatives directly to the relevant product page.

Last but not least, the likelihood of your shadow boards standing the test of time increases dramatically if you opt for boards that have been designed with the harsh environment of a food factory in mind. For example, the shadow boards we supply are created using a direct print process, heat-sealed using anti-scuff laminate. Considerations like this will help to keep your boards free from scuffs, scratches, and peeling shadows.

So there you have it, five opportunities to ensure your upcoming shadow board project is a success. From careful planning to inspiring your operatives, there are a number of points to consider, and the Klipspringer team is available to offer support every step of the way. Below are a selection of resources for you to make use of:

You can also contact us directly on 01473461800 or sales@klipspringer.com. Alternatively, you can fill out the contact form below and one of our friendly team members will be in touch. 

If you would like further guidance relating to your shadow board project, the Klipspringer team would be happy to help. Share your details below to arrange a free consultation.