Chef Mike
Chef Michael Wunsch, Managing Director of Barakat Quality Plus Image Credit: Supplied

How did winning Dubai Quality Appreciation Award in 2015 help Barakat Quality Plus? What were the best practices that fetched you the award?

The excellence exercise helped us find and set up new avenues for benchmarking. We created meaningful and composite dashboards relevant to our operations. We also established new strategies and policies to better measure results and put in place better tools to review performance.

Our teamwork and Barakati values and culture — all members of the Barakat family call themselves Barakatis — have also played a big role. Our values are based on how we expect all members of the society to behave or treat each other. We believe in equality and we are all here in this beautiful nation we call home to serve each other. We hope to provide all members of the society we serve with products that help them achieve and maintain the best of health possible.

Did you face any difficulties during the application process?

One of the major challenges was documentation, i.e. putting them all together. As we have been ISO 9001-certified since 2006 and ISO 22000 since 2013, our documentation is one of our strong points. Documentation of all actions involved in a process helps us to review and analyse the impacts of choices/actions taken.

We have 12 departments maintaining different set of documents as per their operational process flow and need. Getting them all together as per the requirement and guidelines of Dubai Quality Award was a big task. We had some very diligent team members assigned to the task of bringing it all together and it is through their sheer hard work that we were able to consolidate it all.

We also identified that with a departmental approach tasks took longer to complete and the results were not as expected. Over time, we moved to a process flow approach whereby all departments involved in a particular project/operation would form a single unit to accomplish the task assigned. Once we established the process flow approach, team members from different departments involved in a project gelled better and their combined expertise helped to complete tasks assigned at a faster rate and yielded more productivity.

What are the new initiatives and approaches you have introduced to keep your people motivated?

We have set a clear vision for our company, which is to be the finest producer of ready-to-consume fresh products. Every time a new member joins the Barakat family the vision and mission of the organisation is explained to them through a detailed induction process.

We believe staff empowerment plays a major role in employee happiness and adds immense value to the individual work profile. By empowering our staff and making them process owners, we are giving them added responsibility and an opportunity to uplift their performance levels. This has helped us in cultivating in-house leaders who inculcate our values and lead by example.

We know happy employees make happy products. The management team firmly believes in rewarding staff who excel in their field and show more initiative to contribute over and above their work profile. We have different employee appreciation programmes, such as the employee of the month, which help to incentivise high performers as well as motivate others.

We also have an open door policy in the company whereby the staff can walk into any senior manager’s office if they have any concerns.

What are your plans for the future?

We believe innovation is key to sustain any form of business. Innovation and continuous improvement of products and processes is a way of life at Barakat. We strive to improve our processes every day with up to five R&D projects ranging from technical to product-based being run at any given point of time. We also have a new product development team that continually conducts market research to understand trends and requirements.

We have always focused on achieving two things: to give the customer a product that is the freshest Mother Nature has to offer and the convenience of having it on their doorstep. This unwavering focus have contributed to the success and development of Barakat as a brand and company. We will continue to serve our customers with the same drive.