Changing pest control service providers is not always a smooth process. Things can get ‘lost in translation.’ As a result pest control programs can bear the brunt of the lapses in service or communication.
When Twin Falls, Idaho-based Clif Bar Baking Company was looking for a new pest management service provider it was looking for consistency. Consistency in communication. Consistency in documentation and recordkeeping. Consistency in introducing innovative solutions to address pest issues.
Sprague Pest Solutions checked all those boxes. However bullet points in a proposal don’t guarantee a successful pest management program. Actions do.
Clif Bar’s 250,000 sq. ft. facility is located among agriculture fields and grass lands – sheep graze on the property – and while scenic, it is a pest-rich environment.
Zach Reeves, sanitation manager for Clif Bar, said field mice, voles and nuisance birds are a constant threat to the five-year old facility. His biggest concern, however, is pests gaining access to the facility in the tons of incoming shipments of flour, oats and other dry ingredients that arrive at the facility.
“We have dedicated significant resources to create comprehensive internal audits and inspection protocols for incoming shipments,” said Reeves. “We invest daily to keep our facility compliant with the latest audit standards.”
A strong emphasis is also placed on employee training. Clif Bar’s team members are coached on what to look for when it comes to pest threats and register those with the QA team for follow up. They are the first line of defense for the facility.
The consistency Clif Bar sought in their pest management partner was realized immediately during the COVID-pandemic when communication was critical.
“Sprague has done a nice job during the pandemic of maintaining an open dialogue when it comes to the status and performance of our pest management programs,” said Reeves. “That communication has been vital for us during a time when protecting the food supply chain is critical.”
A key part of that communication is sharing timely pest trend data and deciphering it into actionable items to strengthen the facility’s pest management programs.
“Data opens us up to consider new approaches, ideas and ways to improve our pest management programs,” said Reeves. “We use data as a reference point to show us what’s going on currently as well as what could happen if trends continue. It helps steer us in the right direction and keep us on track.”
Proactive use of trend data and the latest technology is in line with Sprague’s long held belief that innovation is essential. Today’s pest management programs are not intended to be static; they need to be flexible to adjust to a client and facility’s specific needs.
The facility holds an Organic Certification from the USDA and that reinforces the need for consistency and innovation in its pest management programs. There are more hoops to jump through to deliver pest control in an organic facility vs. a traditional food processing plant.
Reeves appreciates Sprague’s attention to detail and willingness to take the extra time to ensure the recommendations they make for treatments follow all organic certified guidelines, as well as support the facility’s audit readiness.
“Sprague consistently presents different ideas and displays a willingness to try new approaches,” said Reeves. “We didn’t have that before. They don’t use a cookie cutter approach but instead invest the time and effort to identify the right solution for the problem.”
Reeves values the partnership that Clif Bar and Sprague have established.
“Both parties must be creative and willing to collaborate,” said Reeves. “Previously we were always told everything was ‘OK’ and while that’s nice to hear, it’s not always the reality.”
Having an open channel of dialogue and a pest management partner that isn’t afraid to be completely transparent and tell you the good and the bad is valued.
“We use pest management as a benchmark to make sure we are not only staying compliant, but to ensure we meet and exceed our internal goals and protect our brand,” said Reeves.
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