For almost 75 years, St-Méthode Bakery in Quebec, Canada, has been a family business that makes a range of healthy breads. In constant evolution, the bakery wanted a management structure based on active supervision and optimized processes to support its growth, while at the same time ensuring that its core values continued to be embodied on a daily basis.
With this in mind, the bakery chose Proaction International’s UTrakk platform to empower its managers in the application of good management practices, including coaching and active supervision tours. The organization has gone paperless by adopting digital note-taking—including photos—and has benefited by stimulating better communication, coordination and collaboration across its operations.
Focusing efforts where it matters most
The organization’s management understood its leadership role in helping to drive bread production performance. They have been able to take advantage of UTrakk’s ability to track real-time supervision at the point of execution by configuring dashboards to identify departments and managers who are struggling. As a result, they are now able to prioritize coaching time to those who need it most.
“We track the progress of all the different managers via UTrakk in a structured way so that we can direct our efforts and time towards the people and departments that need it, when they need it,” says Dave Dubois, quality assurance manager at St-Méthode Bakery.
By using UTrakk to target the coaching and support efforts necessary for supervisors in their role, management has seen an increase in the attendance of active supervision tours. Problems on the production line are also solved more quickly and efficiently than before.
The bakery has been able to open communication channels through structured follow ups by adopting a tool that promotes rigorous proximity management. Its monitoring structure promotes communication in the organization as well as engagement of employees and managers.
Presence, consistency, actions, engagement, accountability
Supervisors and managers hold regular, scheduled on-site meetings to carry out active supervision tours. These informal floor tours allow them to take the pulse of both employees and production and are an opportunity to detect issues proactively and escalate them within the organization as needed.
When they go on a tour with their tablet, they know what they need to observe and what questions to ask. They start their floor tour in UTrakk and follow the checklist to ensure they ask the right questions and provide a consistent management presence to all teams.
Employees know what to expect. They can now view supervision as a special opportunity to take stock and benefit from a sympathetic ear to discuss issues that could be affecting the smooth running of the day or shift.
By documenting the challenges identified onsite as either performance gaps or opportunities in the application, supervisors immediately create the actions needed to resolve the situation and assign them to a member of staff to ensure they are completed. In this way, problems are solved much faster, and people feel accountable for completing the actions assigned to them.
It is an effective way of engaging everyone involved to ensure that operations run smoothly and objectives are met.
To complete the cycle, the employee who raised the issue is informed of the actions taken to fix it. People in operations, therefore, feel that they are heard and valued by the organization, which naturally makes them more engaged, attentive to the issues that arise in their daily routine, and proactive in finding solutions.
Since using UTrakk, results have been tangible and measurable at St-Méthode Bakery, including a 19% increase in productivity on bread line #2; a 22% reduction in the number of incidents per year (health and safety); an 11% improvement in overall production quality; a 13% reduction in material losses; and a 7% reduction in production stoppages and time losses.