LOTTY DOTTY | RDF CEO Dr. Robert Lo Maintains Quality Standards for His Firm | Many successful businesses have achieved a reputation for quality. For Dr. Robert H. Lo, founder and CEO of RDF Feed, Livestock & Foods, Inc., it starts with a personal conviction to quality and making a commitment to lead the way for customers and employees. Investing in quality business processes and people has helped his company realize its vision – “Authority when it comes to quality.”
A veterinarian by profession, Dr. Lo established RDF in 1988 as a poultry contract grower. In 2005, he opened Fresh Options Meatshop in a supermarket in Angeles City. After going through a lot of challenges,
Dr. Lo was able to transform RDF into a forward vertically-integrated agri-food enterprise, where all facilities such as feed mill, swine and poultry farms, slaughterhouse, meat cutting and meat processing plants, meat shops and restaurants are owned and managed by the company. As a champion for quality, Dr. Lo has this to say- “We control every aspect of our operations. In our 34 years of existence, we have stayed true to our mission of providing high-quality fresh meats and value-added food products that adhere to the global standards for food safety.”
Quality starts at the feed mill
As RDF continues to build more farms, the company saw the need to have bigger storage for corn. Corn makes up 50 to 60% of the feed diets of swine and broilers. It is a source of energy and other essential nutrients such as iron, potassium, zinc, and Vitamin A.
After almost two years of construction, RDF’s corn silos have undergone testing in February and are now operational. Each silo has a capacity of 4,000 tons with a loading capacity of up to 100 tons per hour and an unloading capacity of 40 tons per hour. The major features and benefits of the newly-built corn silos are:
- Compared to a flat warehouse, silos allow better storage that helps maintain corn quality in its optimal condition (i.e., they keep the grains safe over a period of time). Also, the silos have monitoring sensors for moisture, humidity, temperature, and corn level. An example is a carbon dioxide sensor that can detect mycotoxins, the most common are aflatoxins, which are known to cause death in animals.
- With a greater capacity for buffer storage requirements, the financial impact of fluctuating prices of corn before and after harvest is reduced.
- The silos are equipped with software that provides info on historical fill levels and an easy view of all grain movements in and out of each bin, thus, inventory management is a lot easier.
Farms are GAHP- certified.
GAHP stands for Good Animal Husbandry Practices. Every two years, the company applies for GAHP certification from the Bureau of Animal Industry. By being GAHP-certified, it means that RDF farms have complied with animal welfare laws and the minimum standards of food safety across the whole supply chain. The GAHP certification also ensures that the health and safety of workers are well taken care of by the company and that its production systems do not pose health risks to the community or cause damage to the environment.
Slaughterhouse and meat-cutting plant undergo FSSC
FSSC is Food Safety System Certification. By applying for this certification, RDF affirms its commitment to food safety for customers and the public. Hopefully, the certification will be out soon.
Fresh, safe, and clean meats at retail shops
There are specific guidelines on how meat products should be transported and stored to guarantee that meats are safe and fit for human consumption. At RDF, fresh meats and processed meat products are transported to all company-owned meat shops, restaurants, and other institutional accounts through a cold chain system where proper refrigeration temperatures are maintained to prevent the growth of bacteria. A First-In and First-Out system is implemented in all retail outlets to monitor aging products so that only the freshest meats are sold to customers of Fresh Options. Bacterial cross-contamination is prevented by having each meat type in separate upright chillers. Quality assurance and store personnel are trained adequately on food safety, current Good Manufacturing Practice, and personal hygiene, in order to protect customers from possible health hazards, brought about by improper handling of meats.
Employees are the lifeblood of the company.
The CEO believes that the strength of RDF lies in its people and it is necessary that they are involved in the total quality program of the company. Because of this, Dr. Lo has been very supportive of the professional growth and development of his employees so they can be empowered to make their own decisions. And to develop more quality champions in his team, he sends his managers to universities for further studies and also, requires them to attend training and seminars to gain additional knowledge and hone their skills. To cite, two of Dr. Lo’s business unit heads have passed and completed the ISO 9001:2015 Auditor/Lead Auditor Training Course (Quality Management Systems) by the Governing Board of the Institutional Register of Certified Auditors (IRCA). They are Dr. Joy Michelle A. Literato, Strategic and Operations Planning Manager, and Dr. Camille Francesca T. Hernandez, Technical Services and Quality Assurance Manager. Moreover, Dr. Lo also hires consultants to mentor his team and promote a culture of excellence in the organization.
And to ensure that all employees will live and breathe RDF’s mission and vision, Dr. Lo shares that they have formulated a company Pledge of Quality. It signifies the commitment of every employee to persevere and work hard, to produce high-quality products, delight customers, and work together to improve the quality of life.