ZES successfully completes its Annual Management Review

The Zeigler Experiment Station (ZES) conducted its annual management review last February 21. Part of the quality management system, this annual review aimed to evaluate the accomplishments of ZES vis-a-vis its quality objectives for 2022 and identify issues related to the delivery of its services.

Present during the review are Dr. Sankalp Bhosale, Rice Breeding Innovations (RBI) Deputy Platform Leader and Cluster Leader of the Product Development and Varietal Replacement group, Engr. Princess Dela Cruz, Breeding Operations Manager, Ms. Lily Molina, Research Manager of IRRI Service Laboratories, and Mr. Icoy Mercado, Senior Specialist of Risk Management Unit. Ms. Molina and Mr. Mercado served as main internal auditors during the ZES internal audit in November 2022. Also present are internal auditors from the Cross-Cutting Operations and Seed Health Unit - Mr. Allan Salabsabin, Mr. Alex Caneda, Ms. Sheryl Catausan, and Ms. Camille Sunga.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Bhosale highlighted that the integration of the units of the former Integrative Research Support Platform into RBI is key to the success of the platform’s One Rice Breeding Strategy, particularly as it transitions its breeding programs from transplanted rice to direct seeded rice. Engr. Dela Cruz, on the other hand, stressed the importance of continuous improvement as part of operational excellence.

During the review, team leaders of ZES shared the accomplishments of their teams from last year. Mr. Ric Hernandez, Associate Manager for Mechanization and Equipment Operations highlighted that around 70 hectares of field experiments were prepared and more than 100 hectares were maintained to support the research activities of RBI and Sustainable Impact Platforms. Mr. Ben Organo, Associate Manager for Field Operations reported that they prepared more than 9 kilometers worth of seedbeds and received almost 700 crop protection requests from research groups. Mr. Rodney De Chavez, Associate Manager for Facilities Management revealed more than 25,000 m2 of research facilities were used by scientists and breeders, while more than $10,000 worth of soil was requested for various research projects. In the postharvest services, Mr. Rico Labarda announced that a total 91,945 samples were received and processed.

The ZES technical staff members were supported by 3 admin staff, namely Ms. Egie Aranda, Ms. Rosselle Cabangon, and Mr. Raymond Penales. Last year, ZES admin staff received a total of 5,197 service requests related to field, lab, greenhouse, screenhouse and postharvest services (Figure 1). Recoveries from these services amounted to $949,797.

Figure 1. Number of OCS requests received by ASL, CCO, GSL, SHU, and ZES in 2022.

Feedback, comments, and issues raised by ZES clients were also discussed during the annual review. This gave ZES personnel the opportunity to assess their strengths and weaknesses as well as map out areas of improvement.

At the end of the management review, risk sources were identified, mitigating actions were formulated and quality objectives for 2023 were presented to ensure that ZES continues to deliver quality services in order to contribute to the vision and mission of IRRI.