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Client Spotlight: Campbell’s Accelerates Training with New On-the-Floor Observations

By Intertek Alchemy   |   

Campbell’s created its first can of soup in 1895. Since then, it has grown into a billion-dollar company with multiple plants nationwide. Campbell’s understands its quality products are a direct result of effective training, communication, and standardized processes across its workforce.

In 2012, Campbell’s Paris, Texas, facility began introducing new products requiring a new and expansive training documentation system. Most of its existing training materials consisted of paper documents that needed to be made easier to track and report. New hires and transfers were handed large training packets during orientation and asked to self-evaluate with limited manager involvement.

Intertek Alchemy Senior Training Strategy Consultant Eric Teague has worked with the Paris facility since 2020, helping Campbell’s develop an extensive on-the-floor training and documentation program. Teague worked closely with Cristi Fernandez, a senior training manager who has been with the company for 12 years.

In 2012, Campbell’s Paris, Texas, facility began introducing new products requiring a new and expansive training documentation system.

Teague and Fernandez designed and developed a training and documentation program that determines the effectiveness of safety and manufacturing training through on-the-floor observations. These observations continue to be one of the best ways for Campbell’s to validate that employees understand and retain training content as they build skills across the workforce.

Campbell’s COVID Challenges
During the pandemic, Campbell’s experienced a massive increase in demand, which required the company to hire and train new employees at a rate they had never experienced.

Before COVID, Campbell’s conducted about 25 new hire orientations (NHOs) per year. During the pandemic, those NHOs became weekly occurrences. Campbell’s training managers began training hundreds of new employees at a time without a plan or process to maintain steady, ongoing on-the-job training.

Despite a large hiring push, Campbell’s – like nearly every manufacturer in the country – experienced a less-than-ideal retention rate, making it difficult to continuously and effectively train employees.

That’s Paris, “Texas,” y’all.

“Cristi and the team at Campbell’s were under serious pressure to train a huge influx of employees effectively during the pandemic. Instead of getting bogged down by it, they pivoted to make it more efficient,” said Teague.  

The Campbell’s team rose to the challenge, leveraging Alchemy Coach to develop a standardized and structured approach to perform ongoing training and documentation.

Introducing On-the-Floor Observations
To begin building on-the-floor observations, Teague spent three days at the Paris facility with Fernandez and the Campbell’s team, looking at the plant’s processes and developing a rollout plan. Fernandez wanted to use a standardized approach to achieve quick wins utilizing a handful of Alchemy Coach’s pre-made observations for lockout/tagout and quality audits.

These processes were already in place, but the observations and documentation were documented on paper and, therefore, not very useful. By setting up these observations and documentation with the Alchemy Coach platform, Campbell’s could familiarize employees with the technology and begin an important feedback loop between coaches and employees.

Within two months of incorporating Alchemy Coach’s pre-made observations in the workforce, Fernandez and Teague developed custom observations specific to the Paris facility’s sauce plant.

The observations and documentation that Fernandez and Teague created were instrumental in identifying gaps in training and knowledge throughout the workforce. Once gaps were identified, the team could again brainstorm ways to update training, set checkpoints, and gather additional information from employees and managers.

Within three months of rolling out 24 custom on-the-floor observations, Campbell’s saw a 55% reduction of employees in active “ramp-up” training. The impact was huge, meaning new hires were able to move through orientation, safety, and operational training much faster and become productive employees, which helped Campbell’s keep up with the increased demand for its products.

“In less than two years, we have coordinated orientations for 743 new hires. That’s 743 training packets created, 743 packets of safety gear issued and well over 20,000 training courses logged,” said Fernandez. “Alchemy Coach really provided us the structure and the ease to get our employees up to speed quickly by enabling us to deliver materials more effectively.”

Teague reiterated the success of on-the-floor observations, “They allow trainers to collect data and zero in on their gaps. It’s still important to be creative to energize employees. Trainers know what works for their people. What worked at Cristi’s plant might be a great jumping-off point to build on and take your own twist on that.”

Contact us to learn how clients like Campbell’s use Intertek Alchemy solutions to create, customize, and deliver on-the-floor observations.

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