Known as VirtualInspector, the VR tool – AIB International's first foray into such technology – aims to ‘create a well-trained self-inspection team’ through a series of instructional slides, videos and quizzes. Employees can complete the training at their own pace, while employers avoid wasting unnecessary resources, according to Katie Mayes, VP of marketing and product development.
“Training the self-inspection team is a critical need in food production facilities, but their ability to take time off for necessary training has been a growing challenge,” Mayes told BakeryandSnacks.
“Through this simulated experience, self-inspection team members can practice identifying GMP [Good Manufacturing Practice] violations that can’t easily be replicated without wasting raw materials or compromising food safety.”
‘Producing safe food is paramount’
In addition to gleaning insight from current and prospective customers, AIB tested a few virtual learning ideas at the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) conference earlier this year, said Mayes. The Belgian-based Consumer Goods Forum, which maintains food safety protocols in a complex global supply chain, runs the annual show that brings together safety experts from around the world.
100 years of safe baking
Mayes’ product team collaborated with its own topical experts to create the content and shot a 360-degree video for the VR system – replete with audio and visual cues ‘drawing attention to important hotspots.’ That immersive element is essential, said Mayes, because it facilitates knowledge retention.At IBIE 2019, AIB International will also be celebrating 100 years in business.
“As we plan for the next 100 years, we’re expanding our bakery services to provide custom offerings at individual plants and facilities where new skills and techniques can be immediately put into practice,” said president and CEO Andre Biane.
“AIB International is well known for this kind of hands-on training and commitment to the industry, and we believe this approach will propel us into the next century.”
“We believe this format effectively bridges the gap between theory and practice,” she told us. “Understanding why a particular technique or approach is needed is great, but being able to apply it in a virtual setting makes it stick.”
Guests at the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) in Las Vegas, September 8-11, will be the first to experience the platform, while companies can purchase and access it through AIB International's Learning Management System. Naturally, it requires a VR headset, but VirtualInspector is compatible with standard VR operating systems on desktop or mobile, as well as through the five major web browsers.
“Producing safe food is paramount to the baked goods industry and the broader food industry, too,” said Mayes. “Thousands of products across the food system are recalled each year due to undetected food safety issues. Facilities need to have a well-trained team that can identify and resolve food safety issues, and this product will help them do exactly that.”