Learning from a crisis the ‘Mekeni Way’

Learning from a crisis the ‘Mekeni Way’
MEKENI Food Corp. President, Pruds Garcia during the First Business Conference of Quezon City Business Council

By Monsi A. Serrano

When your brand is under attack, the normal response is to defend, and the best defense is offense as the axiom would say.

On October 24, a report from Philippine Star released a news citing industry sources that confirmed that processed meat products of Mekeni Food Corp. were tested positive for African swine fever (ASF) following the clinical laboratory report conducted by Bureau of Animal Industry.

However, in another report of GMA News online of the same day October 24, the Department of Agriculture (DA) revealed the processed meat products which tested positive of African Swine Fever (ASF) came from “a medium-scale processor in Central Luzon and the meat products were seized as hand-carried baggage of a passenger in the Calapan, Mindoro port by the provincial quarantine personnel, National Meat Inspection Service, and the Bureau of Animal Industry,” according to Agriculture spokesperson Noel Reyes.

While there were various versions about the allegations on ASF found in some Mekeni pork products, Mr. Pruds Garcia, President of Mekeni Food Corp., did not wait any further delay and made an executive decision to pull out in the supermarket, groceries and wet market their products.

At some points, Mekeni was criticized for having a poor crisis management to thwart the issue, which would be the normal response. But instead of wasting their time to deflect the attack against the brand and the company, Mekeni made a tough decision in recalling their products even if there was no order from the government to give way for the testing of their facilities, raw materials and products.

Many admired this move by Mekeni knowing that it has a tremendous financial impact and would also inevitable impact on their more than 1,000 workers they have in their world class facilities.

Speaking to THEPHILBIZNEWS, Pruds Garcia, President of Mekeni Food Corp. believes it was really a tough decision, but it is a decision based on their values and culture.

“We are not just thinking of our company. We are thinking of the industry as a whole, the farmers and also the family of our workers,” the President of Mekeni explained.

“So we talked to our people and consulted them to our plan to pull out our products in the market. We explained to them the implication in their job, salary and many more. But one thing we admire is the fact that, our employees take this crisis as a challenge. Many offered to use their vacation leaves, and have their schedule fixed to let others work and let everyone get the opportunity to earn a living,” Pruds added.

“Instead of wasting our energy and time to rebut and be on defensive mode, we talked to our people, executives and managers and plan for the year 2020. We want a clear vision to where we want to go, like a 20/20 vision. We have so many things in the pipeline that were intended for next year. But this crisis taught us one thing, that is to Always Stay Focus as Tatay Felix told us when we broke the news,” Garcia narrated.

“I was reading the posts and comments of the people when the issue on ASF about products went viral. Those who know us, know the truth and they understodd our move not to waste our time to answer back. It was a time given by God to evaluate our reason for being, and our commitment to people. And as Tatay Felix told us, “We have to face the issue and always stay focus (ASF)” and that is what we did,” the President of Mekeni Food Corp concluded.

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