More than 400 employees from Fonterra Brands Lanka’s manufacturing and supply chain teams came together recently to celebrate the depth of talent at the inaugural Fonterra Operations Excellence Awards.
Fonterra, the dairy co-operative behind Anchor, has been operating in Sri Lanka for 40 years.
Fonterra Brands Lanka Integrated Supply Chain Associate Director Kamal Geeganage said the pioneering recognition programme celebrates the efforts taken by the team in driving the company’s purpose to make Sri Lanka a healthier, happier nation.
“We have top talent right across our business, and this was a great opportunity for us all to come together to acknowledge their hard work and achievements. This year we’ve seen great ownership from the team through Integrated Work Systems (IWS), which is an initiative that encourages teams to own a zero-loss, zero-waste mind-set, championing behaviours that lead to operational efficiency excellence.
“We’ve also seen great application of the core areas that make us Fonterra – our Fonterra Values, Health and Safety and Food Safety and Quality,” said Geeganage.
The full list of award categories included Health and Safety, Food Safety and Quality (FSQ), Continuous Improvement, Execution Excellence, Operations Champions, Exemplary Citizen and Long Service.
Food Safety and Quality
Thilina Dushantha, Shift Lead within the Co-operative’s powder manufacturing plant, was named FSQ Champion for showcasing “FSQ First” values.
“Fonterra has achieved several internationally-recognised Food Safety and Quality certifications such as the British Retailer Consortium Food Safety Standard, the FSSC 22000 Food Safety Management System and the ISO 9001 Quality Management System. Thilina has helped ensure 100% compliance to these exacting standards with the support of the Food Safety and Quality team, helping us live up to our stringent quality criteria,” said Geeganage.
Thilina was recognised for maintaining the Good Manufacturing Practices that ensure the highest quality at all times. He also showed a commitment to people leadership, conducting year-round training sessions, focus group discussions and refreshers for the team to ensure FSQ was top of mind on the factory floor.
In addition, Thilina was critical in establishing Fonterra’s state-of-the-art foreign matter detection system through proper product validation, operator training, and overall change management activities.
Fonterra also awarded Safety Champion Winner Jayantha Perera for modeling Safe Behaviours as Shift Lead in the plant, a leadership role with responsibilities for his team’s health and safety on the factory floor.
“Many of the Co-operative’s best-in-class initiatives to further safeguard its people and raise the standards of manufacturing activities in the plant have been enabled by Jayantha and we are very proud of his achievement,” said Geeganage.
Jayantha was also instrumental in relaunching the dairy co-operative’s “Life Savers” Health and Safety campaign in the plant, an initiative to raise awareness of key behaviours that minimise risks and keep employees safe.
The Exemplary Citizen award went to Personnel Services Supervisor Ajith Peiris, in recognition of the many initiatives he has personally led to care for his colleagues and community.
“Our Fonterra values of ‘Co-operative Spirit’, ‘Do What’s Right’, ‘Challenge Boundaries’ and ‘Make it Happen’ are at the heart of everything we do,” said Geeganage.
“We believe that a person who lives these values is also demonstrating the values of our culture and nation – and we wanted to celebrate the employee who has gone above and beyond their work as an Exemplary Citizen of this country.
“Ajith is a silent, unsung hero and we appreciate that his team has championed his efforts for the Fonterra family to acknowledge.”
Amongst his many contributions, Ajith has personally donated wheelchairs to the disabled, brought medicines and other supplies to patients, provided scholarships to the children from his village, Yakkala and has even established a foundation called “Sanhinda Sahana” to help people in need.
He has supported a disabled contractual employee by creating a fund which allowed him to build a house, supporting the employee’s wife to become a small-time entrepreneur and helping his children with their education requirements. In addition to his day job, Ajith is also a First Aid Warden at the dairy co-operative.
At the event, Fonterra also recognised its extended family – the children of its employees – for their accomplishments in sports and education. Eight children from ages 10 to 18 were recognised by Fonterra Brands Lanka Managing Director Sunil Sethi, for their achievements including Grade 5 Scholarship, G.C.E (O/L) Examination results, national-level sports events and representation of Sri Lanka internationally.