Today, I want to share an inspiring video from Frito-Lay's Williamsport, Pa. plant that captures the teamwork, empowerment and optimistic, "can-do" attitude employees there demonstrate everyday.
The plant, which opened 38 years ago, produces Cheetos, Baked! Cheetos, Restaurant Style Tostitos and my three sons' all-time favorite snack, Funyuns. Many employees have worked there since the early days, which gives the site a wealth of technical expertise. In addition, the employees boast a culture of pride, both for their plant and for Frito-Lay, making high-quality products and striving for continuous improvement.
Frito-Lay made a video about the site’s history and people a few months ago, when the plant was beginning to implement a new program called “Team 4ward,” a topic I blogged about before. As part of Team 4ward, teams of frontline technicians are empowered to find opportunities in key areas like safety, product quality, environmental sustainability, sales and customer support, and diversity and inclusion. Managers support the teams as "servant leaders" by making sure the employees have the resources they need to do their jobs and by removing obstacles that might be in their way.
"Since we made this video, we've seen more positive results at the plant, especially around Team 4ward, the pride each employee has in their job and the responsibility each has to each other," Toby Johnson, Williamsport’s Manufacturing Manager, (pictured third from right with other Williamsport employees), told me. "We’re bringing out the potential of our frontline by placing the business squarely in their hands. Through empowerment, we’ve seen an incredible growth in their leadership skills and capability to identify opportunities for improvement in all processes in the plant.”
For example, the product team, which acts as the voice of the consumer, decided to conduct weekly reviews of products from each of the plant’s shifts. In blind product tests, they decide which shift is making the best product and identify where improvements are needed. The employees believe that because consumers trust them enough to eat what they're making, they have an obligation to deliver the best taste and quality possible.
I hope you'll enjoy watching the video (below) and agree that it’s an inspiring example of the teamwork and empowerment that’s alive and well at Frito-Lay.