McVitie’s factory boss on the value of staff empowerment

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

A factory boss at Britain’s leading biscuit maker says staff empowerment is key to improving cost performance and reducing waste.

Dee Smith, factory general manager at the Pladis-owned McVitie’s site in Manchester, said focused improvement workshops have handed staff the responsibility to improve their working environment.

In this exclusive video with Food Manufacture​, Smith explained that staff were taken off their production lines for eight weeks at a time, and handed “the tools and techniques to drive improvements”​.

The Manchester factory, which celebrated 100 years of operation in 2017, produces 51,000t of biscuits and 33,000t of chocolate annually. In addition, six million Jaffa Cakes are made daily, equating to two million cakes a year.

Close links with the community

The factory also maintained close links with the local community, with annual events including a Christmas lights switch-on and a family fun day.

“We do lots of work with the local community, and we have a Platinum Award from Stockport Council for the work we do with the young,” ​Smith said.

“That can include going to schools and working on interview techniques with young people. Or, it can be teaching primary school children how to make biscuits.

“It can also involve bringing local people onto the site and teaching them what work is all about. That ranges from just a little taste of work experience, through to a much longer period with the company.”

Subscribe to Food Manfacture

Find out more about how Smith’s continuous improvement projects have helped Pladis on its mission to reduce waste – part of our Me and My Team series of profiles – in the May issue of Food Manufacture​.

Meanwhile, the director of a Leeds-based salads and vegetables business has drawn on his own experience to highlight the value of giving staff the incentive to progress their careers.

In this exclusive interview​, Troy Foods commercial director James Kempley told Food Manufacture​ he would take on staff “no matter what”​, so long as they were willing to start on the factory floor and were ambitious about furthering their careers.

Related topics: People, Bakery, Confectionery

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