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Déli-Porc Develops an Agile, Digitalized Culture Focused on Optimization

Adeline de Oliveira
Worker wearing a white smock and a hairnet, intensively looking at a laptop opened on his knees

Developing skills, building loyalty, and ensuring the succession of managers are common concerns for many organizations. To be effective over the long term, these strategies require organized, agile management. This is exactly what Déli-Porc, part of the Or-Fil Group, has done successfully.

This leading Canadian player in the transformation and commercialization of high-quality pork wanted to optimize its management model in response to a rapid growth.

It called on Proaction International to consolidate the skills of its managers. The goal? Position the company as a leader in its market, while improving employee engagement and preparing the succession of current teams, through an agile, digitalized management structure.

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Déli-Porc, a company focused on improvement

Founded in 2002, the Quebec-based company has grown rapidly and is now experiencing significant development on both national and international markets. It employs 115 people in Laval, at a 5,110 m2 site with nearly 56,633 m3 of refrigerated storage space.

In addition to serving the local market since the pandemic, Déli-Porc is a proud Quebec supplier for many international customers.

Déli-Porc’s reach continues to expand. But the progress of the organization in an increasingly difficult and competitive landscape requires significant managerial investment.

Increasing the impact of supervisors and team leaders

When a company experiences rapid growth, its managers need to be able to keep up. That’s why Déli-Porc has chosen to support its management teams.

Empowering and redefining managers’ roles

Frontline managers were supported in their daily management activities by Proaction International’s operational performance coaches. This enabled them to better understand their role in steering operational performance, and to clearly redefine their responsibilities to move from reactive to proactive management.

My life is easier today. I have less stress and I don’t need to be on the floor as often because, with the help of UTrakk, I trust my supervisors. Now I can concentrate on planning and improving.

John Linhares, Director of Operations, Déli-Porc Inc.

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Preparing succession and replacements

By empowering all team leaders, the company has addressed one of its major concerns: the succession of supervisors.

By structuring field tours and empowering all employees, it is now easier to get new people to replace more experienced managers. The definition of roles and responsibilities via the Leader Standard Work in UTrakk enables better integration of new managers, as well as a richer manager-employee experience.

At the same time, the company has developed a matrix to facilitate employee training on the field, manage replacements of absences, and give everyone the opportunity to vary their activities.

We have the knowledge, we have a game plan, but for how much longer? When managers reach a certain age, we’re going to have to think about the next generation. If we don’t have a structure, we will lose the new generation. With our previous structure, we couldn’t hire someone from outside and bring them here. Now with UTrakk, it’s possible.

Kevin Tremblay, Sales Coordinator, Déli-Porc Inc. and Proacteur

From active to proactive management

Supervisors and team leaders have also ritualized new management practices, such as active supervision tours (ASTs).

With 3 tours a day for supervisors and 5 for team leaders, frontline managers create moments of exchange with employees at every hour of the day. This provides opportunities to resolve problems quickly and to listen to teams, stimulating engagement and commitment.

Backed by UTrakk, Déli-Porc was able to standardize its active supervision tours to guide its managers. By carrying out tours with their iPads, no control point would go unnoticed.

The management team benefits from real-time monitoring of the information gathered during each tour. They can make informed decisions based on tangible data.

UTrakk brings supervisors a guide to follow checkpoints because it can be easy to forget one. The management has a follow-up, knows if the tours have been done correctly, sees if everything is checked off and at what time the person made their tours.

Kevin Tremblay, Sales Coordinator, Déli-Porc Inc. and Proacteur

Boosting the optimization of source material

By calling on Proaction International, Déli-Porc also wanted to optimize the yield on its source material – which is essential in the agri-food industry.

Proaction International’s operational excellence experts helped the company implement a rigorous procedure for weighing meat at each stage of the cutting process. The goal was to maximize the yield of the source material, by comparing it with the weight of the initial piece. The new methodology ensured that the cuts made were as efficient as possible.

The procedure was first tested on a single workstation. Once the right formula had been identified, it was applied to all cutting stations, ensuring consistency and uniformity in the whole source material transformation process.

Our foremen were able to tell us that there were major shortcomings affecting our yield.

Keven Pimentel, HR Executive Director, Or-Fil Group

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A successful organizational transformation

In addition to reporting gains from 2% to 10% on product yield, the company reports:

  • 15% improvement of the Management Skills Index (MSI) due to managers’ better understanding of their roles and responsibilities.
  • 46% improvement of the Active Supervision Index (ASI) with a greater presence on the floor, resulting in better problem-solving and greater employee engagement.
  • 12% to 80% increase of the Management Effectiveness Index (MEI) due to better management practices.
  • 15% to 70% improvement of the effectiveness of the communication structure.

A coaching approach coupled with the implementation of UTrakk enabled Déli-Porc to achieve significant strategic gains:

Sustaining results

The final challenge for Déli-Porc was maintaining these results over the long term. To perpetuate the success of the Proaction International approach, the company could rely on UTrakk – but it decided to go one step further.

The company trained 4 Proactors to ensure follow-up and facilitate the onboarding of new managers. On top of being trained, the Proactors play an ongoing coaching role. They regularly go on the field to ensure that managers maintain good management practices.

They also provide an outside view to help improve processes on a daily basis. This involves audits performed by Proactors regularly to ensure that the system implemented continues to set the standard.

Even if as a team leader you see your teams’ improvements, it’s always useful to have an outside eye validating progress.

Kevin Tremblay, Sales Coordinator, Déli-Porc Inc. and Proactor

Keven Pimentel intends to take advantage of the current excitement to perpetuate the approach and implement it in the group’s other two plants. He has already succeeded in convincing the plants in the Or-Fil family to follow Déli-Porc’s example and implement the UTrakk daily management system.

We’re interdependent, so if I’d had just one of the plants with a different system or mentality, for sure the approach would have been threatened. But by bringing UTrakk into the other two plants, we’ll all be speaking the same language, with ritualized meetings between the different departments and standardized responsibilities. It’s as if UTrakk had come to glue our buildings to each other.

Keven Pimentel, HR Executive Director, Or-Fil Group

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Satisfied employees and more productive teams

Beyond optimizing its profitability in just a few months, Déli-Porc has made its managers and employees happier and more motivated than ever. A culture of agile, digitalized management, a positive work environment, and an unrivalled team spirit were witnessed first-hand when we accompanied John Linhares on a field tour.

Having equipped all plants with UTrakk, the Or-Fil Group is now in the best position to meet its ambitions in terms of performance, loyalty, collaboration, and engagement.

Today, Déli-Porc is proud of its achievement. It has gone through the improvement process and demonstrated determination, commitment, and leadership to drive positive change.

The team knew there were challenges and improvement opportunities, so they chose to invest in an improvement process. A climate of trust and collaboration was established, and the team started working together keeping in mind that improvement could not be imposed but had to be the fruit of a collective effort to win as a team.

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Adeline de Oliveira

Adeline de Oliveira

Editorial manager and web editor since 2010, Adeline de Oliveira is passionate about communication and human behavior. At Proaction International, she writes on various topics such as leadership development and employee engagement.