Ala. Supervalu DC Recognized for Safety

Suspervalu’s Advantage Logistics/Southeast Regional Facility (SERF) in Anniston, Ala., has received accreditation from the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, making it the second Supervalu distribution center to earn the honor and one of only seven facilities in the world that has been recognized for its behavior-based safety programs or processes since audits began in 2003.

In 2001, the Concord, Mass.-based center and a consortium of universities, consulting firms and insurance companies developed the accreditation criteria, which recognize exemplary long-term performance in the application of behavioral principles to workplace safety. Accreditation requires a stringent application process and a five-year audit of a site’s safety practices and metrics.

The Minneapolis-based grocer-wholesaler’s two accredited sites employ a process known as Critical Activities Management (CAM), which depends on positive reinforcement to develop and sustain appropriate and effective work behaviors.

“Our process relies on our management team recognizing and praising correct behavior, rather than simply telling people what they’re doing wrong,” noted Ron Clark, distribution director for SERF. “Although we still maintain rigorous standards and expectations for performance, we have developed a process that requires a lot more hands-on coaching and support to achieve the results we need. It is much easier and less costly to change a behavior than to hire and train a new associate, so it is in our best interest to provide the best resources and environment to ensure success.”

Requiring rigorous observation and training, CAM relies on all employees in the distribution center to support and encourage each other, to increase the likelihood that someone will repeat an appropriate behavior. Since implementation five years ago, the process has led to a welcoming work environment that is more productive, safe, clean and effective, according to Supervalu.

SERF will be accredited until August 2012, at which time it must apply for reaccreditation.

“SERF has demonstrated a strong and successful commitment to workplace safety and the well-being of their people,” said Dr. Dwight Harshbarger, chair of the Cambridge Center’s accrediting commission. “At the same time they’ve built strong business performance. That’s a feat few companies can match.”
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