Now Hiring! Openings in all our facilities for hourly and salaried roles. Click Here to Apply Today

Profile

Our ongoing quest for continuous improvement | Hearthside Food Solutions

Our mission

We don’t accept the status quo. We believe that true mastery is never-ending and we’re always looking for ways to improve.

As part of this effort, we have enacted the “Hearthside performance system,” which continuously tracks and monitors new ways to improve at each plant and office. Tracking weekly and monthly KPIs allows us to quickly understand where our attention is most needed, and make improvements before slight dips become larger issues.

From kaizen to Six Sigma, we know that there are several ways you can go about continuous improvement, but ultimately we structure our process in a way to help and keep the floor happy. In the creation of our method, we’ve drawn from various techniques to create a unique process that engages and keeps the focus on our unique people.

Overcoming key challenges

Of course, not all change comes easily at first. Especially when certain processes have become ingrained over time, it can be difficult to inspire and implement real change.

That’s why we aim to connect on a personal level during our continuous improvement work. When we come into an existing operation, we engage with the hearts and minds of those people we’re working with. We want each person to understand why there’s a better way to do things.

To do this, we follow a simple rule: show, don’t tell. When we demonstrate and put into action the new processes we’re looking to help floors implement, they’re more receptive to change because they can see it with their own eyes. Oftentimes, the real magic happens when we’re able to begin enacting these changes side-by-side. After all, our culture is anchored in trust, and our approach to continuous improvement embodies that value.

“Our culture is anchored in trust, and our approach to continuous improvement embodies that value.”

Triumphs

We teach others to fish. Instead of our leadership team coming in and fixing an immediate problem, we empower a culture of change on the floor of various facilities that can be sustained even when our change leaders aren’t physically present.

Whether it’s for the first or 10th time, when you see people work hard to enact a new method and begin reporting out positive results, it’s incredibly rewarding. We want hundreds of people to be able to improve their skills, and enable them all to make thousands of little wins every year as a result. When we can enable this kind of cultural improvement, people enjoy coming to work more, and results, retention, and quality all improve.

It’s the best part of this job, and it truly never gets old.

Prioritizing our people through food quality and safety | Hearthside Food Solutions

Our mission

“Are we meeting what you’re needing?”

When it comes to food quality and safety, we want all of our customers to be able answer with an emphatic “YES” to this question. Whether this means reduced holds, increased consistency, or better quality at scale, we go the extra mile to have a firm understanding of the specific needs of each product for each customer.

We ask ourselves: what factors matter to you? What are the most important food safety and quality elements for this particular product? What metrics do you need, and how can we help meet your company goals? How can we contribute to your success?

These questions help us drill in and get granular with the unique needs of each customer we have the honor of working with. Our approach to food quality and safety with customers is the same approach we use in all aspects of Hearthside: doing business through true partnerships. At the end of the day, we want our customers to know that we care deeply, we’re part of their team, and that they can depend on us. When we say we’re going to get something done, you have our word.

“We want our customers to know that we care deeply, we’re part of their team, and they can depend on us.”

Overcoming key challenges

One of the many reasons that a collaborative partnership is so important to food quality and safety is because of the ever-changing regulatory and customer requirements in manufacturing and packaging. Between different compliance standards, sanitization protocols, foreign material reduction, and overall good manufacturing practices (GMP), there are a lot of moving targets to consider. To stay on top of all of these important details, we do constant internal audits to make sure that we’re hitting the strict requirements needed to succeed.

Establishing open lines of communication with each customer and across all our teams is critical to upholding our standards. Plus, it allows us to be flexible, taking on ad-hoc requests and unexpected needs, and make time-sensitive decisions with increased confidence. For instance, when it comes to co-packing, every organization is different—sometimes it might make sense for a company to handle the manufacturing internally, and for us to just do the packing, for example. In this scenario, we need to alter our communication lines to get ahead of potential supply issues, making sure we’re running smoothly across multiple teams at multiple companies.

Triumphs

It’s incredibly rewarding to help our customers increase their brand quality, which simply isn’t possible without the high standards we’ve set for ourselves across quality control, safety, and product consistency.

For us, it’s really more than requirements or process, it’s a culture about doing business the right way—safely with a high bar for quality. Our people are our biggest asset and we’re proud to work with a team that’s as responsive as they are, and who treat each customer’s needs as their own. Food quality and safety is a constantly moving target, but we’re able to stay nimble, detailed, and address urgent matters by working as a cohesive team.

When we’re able to contribute to these customer wins, Hearthside wins too—and that’s something we celebrate across the company at every level.

Using data effectively to advance manufacturing practices | Hearthside Food Solutions

Our mission

Goals on every metric. Swift to address red flags. We’re constantly asking ourselves: how can we be better?

When it comes to manufacturing, the Hearthside Performance System (HPS) is our “secret” to success. This system is fine-tuned to continuously monitor and improve plant performance by leaning into data, identifying issues quickly, and taking swift action when needed. We’ve identified key metrics that are tracked diligently every shift, day, and in some circumstances, even every hour. If the goal for each metric is being met, it’s identified as green. If it’s not, the metric is immediately flagged as red.

This seemingly simple red-versus-green identification system helps us quickly isolate and respond to complex abnormalities. Our management team is able to rely on the HPS to stay on top of any issues while permanently addressing the root of the problem to ensure that it doesn’t reoccur.

Woman Inspecting the box

Overcoming key challenges

Many of our plants operate with sizable employee bases of over 1,000 people…essentially the size of a small village. Getting this level of manpower aligned, bought in, and operating smoothly as a team is no small task. Yet, it’s essential to maintain the upstanding quality and scale with which Hearthside operates.

We rise to this challenge by prioritizing our people. We believe that a community is a group of people who agree to grow together, and we enact this value through empowerment at every job level. At Hearthside, everyone has a career plan or path within the company if they demonstrate initiative, ability, and motivation. We empower employees by giving them the lean tools to be solution-oriented to the problems that they encounter day-to-day. This gives them some skin in the game, purpose, and a greater sense of pride in their job. When employees feel empowered, job satisfaction, quality of work, and consistency all improve.

Triumphs

Mistakes happen and problems arise, but our performance system has given us the ability to respond with impressive speed. The data that we get from the HPS helps us remove opinions and any potential bias in order to get to the root cause of problems—and actually solve them. It keeps us measured and honest: two vital values when measuring manufacturing success.

Additionally, our onboarding process and employee development gives us a leg up, long-term. We want to give each person the tools to control their own destiny, and envision what their future with the company could look like. That starts with their first day on the job.

Simply put, when we have enough of the right people, everything else falls into place. When you invest in your people, you invest in the company.

Fostering innovation through R&D

Our mission

In many ways, our Research and Development teams are the heart of Hearthside. They fuel our forward movement—keeping us learning everyday, and at pace with innovation. “Continuous innovation” is a phrase you hear a lot around here, because being the best for our partners is our ultimate mission.

Overcoming key challenges

As we dive deeper into R&D, we strive to keep innovation in check with reality. Though we’re always looking for new cutting edge opportunities in each product space, we don’t lose sight of what consumers want and will accept in the real world.

As trends continue to pop up, we decide which ones are worthy of pursuing by putting them through a series of baseline questions: What does the research indicate? Does this product fill a gap? Does this product meet an actual consumer need? What are the tangible benefits for the consumer?

The answers to these questions help us identify which new products and concepts are worth the sweat equity and additional R&D. And, when the time is right, we’re there for the testing, trials, and production scale-ups to ensure that the entire process is accounted for.

Triumphs

At the end of the day, we’ve done our job if we’ve provided new, interesting, efficient, effective solutions for our customers. After all, “solutions” is in our company name for a reason. We work in true partnerships with our customers and are constantly finding ways to add value to our working relationships. Research, development, and innovation is an incredibly important aspect that helps our customers conceptualize and create new products and stay competitive in the marketplace.

Truth be told, we love being a small part of creating something wonderful that gives joy (and nourishment) to people. Our partners allow us to have a hand in making some of the most delightful, delicious products in the world. And that’s something we are grateful for and celebrate every day.