Petaling Jaya, 18 April 2022 – Sime Darby Plantation Berhad (SDP) is transforming all its 33 Malaysian palm oil mills into certified food safety facilities by end of 2023, after which the same standards will be rolled out across the Group’s operations in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. As part of this exercise, mill safety and sustainability standards will also be raised to meet stringent international food production standards.
According to SDP’s Group Managing Director, Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha, this transformation is part of the larger undertaking to reimagine and reinvent oil palm plantation operations. “We have redesigned plantations, by mechanising, automating and digitalising several aspects of work that have always been done manually. Our journey now takes us into our mills where we will deliver world-class food-safety assurance to our customers while ensuring operational efficiency and safety,” said Mohamad Helmy.
The immediate priority is to achieve food safety compliance that is certified to the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) standards. Currently, four SDP mills (Giram, Sabah; Tennamaram, Selangor; Sua Betong, Negeri Sembilan; and Ulu Remis, Johor) have successfully attained HACCP certification, while another 29 mills will be evaluated by HACCP certifiers over the next few months. Recognised as a global benchmark in ensuring food safety, HACCP is used by several of the world’s best manufacturers as a systematic approach to managing food-safety risks at all stages of food production.
Despite it being a crucial stage in the palm oil supply chain, mill operations are less in the spotlight compared to the vast green landscapes of oil palm plantations and the clean industrial façades of palm oil refineries. However, it is at the “mill stage” that oil palm fruits from estates are milled and processed into unrefined palm oil and other derivatives which are then used as ingredients for palm oil refineries to produce various consumer food products.
Mohamad Helmy said, the experience and knowledge shared by Sime Darby Oils, SDP’s downstream entity, in instilling food safety as well as Health, Safety & Environment (HSE) culture throughout its global refineries will be extremely valuable as SDP embarks on transforming all its mills. “To fulfil our customers' requirements, we are not only looking at continuously improving the processes at our refineries but are now going the extra mile with our mills to ensure food safety at the supply base. Food safety is our top priority as we aim to adhere to the highest international standards and take the lead in this area for palm oil milling,” he added.
In addition to addressing food safety, SDP has also set a mission target of ‘Zero Fatality, Zero Class 2 Incidents* and Zero Environmental Non-compliance’ for all its mills. This target is underpinned by a range of comprehensive Health, Safety & Environment (HSE) key performance indicators, and full-time internal auditors will conduct regular audits at all 33 mills to ensure that they are on track with their HSE targets. To support this initiative, SDP has appointed a Chief Medical Officer, a new position that has been created to further enhance healthcare services throughout SDP’s operations and health awareness amongst workers.
To ramp up efficiency, the Group has adopted the Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) metrics to track mill performance in terms of capacity and availability. With OEE, which is the gold standard for measuring manufacturing productivity globally, SDP hopes to better identify, understand, and then, close any operational gaps.
(* Note: Class 2 Incidents refer to work-related incidents (such as injury or illness) which cause permanent disability to those within SDP’s premises or place of work assigned by the company)