Unibloc Blog

How Does Technology Help Manage Labor Challenges in Poultry Processing?

By | January 4, 2024

Executive Summary:

Unibloc® QuickStrip® FoodFirst pumps provide an advanced engineered solution for equipment that helps solve the labor challenges common in the poultry processing industry. The pumps overcome labor challenges by simplifying maintenance, improving plant efficiencies, and helping companies ensure compliance with regulatory standards for food safety.

Key Takeaways:

  • The labor challenges facing the poultry processing industry are widespread.
  • Advanced, engineered equipment can help solve or alleviate some of those labor-related issues.
  • With fewer components, QuickStrip FoodFirst pumps simplify maintenance and make the job easier for an already overtaxed third shift.

The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cast a long shadow over the labor market for the food processing industry. Many workers who left the industry during the height of the pandemic have not returned and skilled labor remains scarce.

Poultry processors are not exempt from these labor challenges. Annual turnover at a poultry facility for both line workers and supervisors is estimated to be between 60-150%. Workers with longer tenure and experience are retiring at a fast clip, representing the loss of an invaluable knowledge base needed for running the plant efficiently as well as onboarding new employees.

Plant operators find themselves in fierce competition with other sectors for the same pool of skilled talent. From the shortage of qualified maintenance staff to high turnover rates and retirements, companies are seeking answers to overcome these hurdles. Fortunately, technology is bridging the gap with innovative solutions to help poultry plants and other food processors address these issues.

Poultry processors face critical challenges in the food industry.

Poultry plant managers have an acute understanding of the challenges they face. The factors that exacerbate the labor issues within the poultry industry, particularly when considering their processing lines, are linked to:

  • Third shift duties: Pumps that move and process raw poultry are typically cleaned during third shift maintenance schedules, which is the most challenging shift to staff with experienced workers.
  • Time-consuming tasks: Poultry pumps require a Clean-out-of-Place (COP) procedure, which is particularly time-intensive.
  • Complex assembly/multiple parts: Most pumps contain intricate or complex interiors with numerous small components. Disassembly is a demanding, meticulous process. After a thorough cleaning, the reassembly requires equal care and precision to replace all parts in their proper order. Workers assigned to pump maintenance must possess specialized skills and training. In today’s tight labor market, training and retraining is a constant and costly exercise.
  • Compliance with regulatory agencies: Plant managers need to ensure the plant meets United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requirements under the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) guidelines. These inspectors are ever-present and have the authority to shut down processing lines if sanitation, worker safety, or food safety concerns exist.

Precision-engineered technology fights labor issues.

Poultry processors directly address and overcome labor challenges using the right pump technology. With a Unibloc QuickStrip® FoodFirst pump, training is minimal. The pump’s engineered design specifically targets productivity and maintenance improvements that translate directly to advantages for plants running in tight labor markets. Here’s how:

A Unibloc QuickStrip FoodFirst pump contains fewer components than a typical pump for easier and faster disassembly and reassembly during maintenance or cleaning cycles. The pump’s simple, repeatable, and one-way reassembly even features a tool-free design, adding to its simplicity and speed of daily maintenance routines. Instead of spending an hour cleaning the pump, maintenance teams might spend just 20 minutes. This frees up 40 minutes for staff to perform other essential tasks.

These features also reduce the possibility of damage to pump parts and therefore minimize the risk of foreign material contamination by cutting down on nicks and crevices created during maintenance.

Watch how easily our patented QuickStrip technology makes pump maintenance simpler.



Improved pump technology is a bridge to addressing labor shortages.

In the face of ongoing labor challenges in poultry processing, technological innovations like Unibloc QuickStrip FoodFirst pumps offer a lifeline to managers and supervisors. By applying this precision-engineered technology throughout the plant, poultry processing plants can boost efficiency, maintain compliance standards, and meet industry demands while maintaining a competitive edge in a tough labor market. To learn more about how Unibloc Hygienic Technologies products can help streamline your poultry facility, contact us or read more about our poultry industry solutions.

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