How St-Méthode Bakery digitalized its management and cultivated collaboration with UTrakk
Market leader with annual sales of $80 million, St-Méthode Bakery is a jewel in the crown of Quebec's agri-food industry. For almost 75 years, the family business has been carving out an enviable place for itself on the plates of consumers with its delicious range of healthy bread made with passion. In constant evolution, the bakery wanted a management structure based on active supervision and optimized processes to support its growth, while at the same time ensuring that its core values continued to be embodied on a daily basis.
With this in mind, St-Méthode Bakery chose the UTrakk platform to empower its managers in the application of good management practices, including coaching and active supervision tours. Front-line management went paperless by adopting digital note-taking (with photos to back it up), and the factory benefits from better communication, coordination, and collaboration across its operations.
Focusing efforts where it matters most
St-Méthode's management understood its leadership role in helping its foremen drive bread production performance. Indeed, they leveraged UTrakk's ability to track real-time supervisory rigor at the point of execution by configuring dashboards to identify departments and foremen who are struggling. As a result, they are now able to prioritize coaching time and effort to those who need it most.
We track the progress of all the different managers via UTrakk in a structured way so that we can direct our efforts and time towards the people and departments that need it, when they need it.
– Dave Dubois, Quality assurance manager, St-Méthode Bakery
By using UTrakk to target the coaching and support efforts necessary for supervisors in their role, management observed an increase in active supervision tours attendance. Issues on the production line are also solved more quickly and efficiently than before.
Opening communication channels through structured follow-ups
By adopting a tool that promotes rigorous proximity management, St-Méthode Bakery has implemented a monitoring structure that promotes communication as well as the valorization and engagement of employees and managers.
Presence and consistency
Supervisors and foremen now hold regular, scheduled on-site meetings to carry out active supervision tours. These informal floor tours allow them to take the pulse of both employees and production and are an opportunity to detect issues proactively and escalate them within the organization as needed.
When they leave with their iPad, they know exactly what they need to observe and what questions to ask. They start their floor tour in UTrakk and follow the checklist to ensure they ask the right questions and provide a consistent management presence to all teams.
For employees, it's reassuring to know what to expect. They can now view supervision as a special opportunity to take stock and benefit from a sympathetic ear to discuss issues that could be affecting the smooth running of the day or shift.
Actions, engagement, accountability
By documenting the challenges identified on-site as either performance gaps or opportunities in the application, supervisors immediately create the actions needed to resolve the situation and assign them to a member of staff to ensure they are completed. In this way, problems are solved much faster, and people feel accountable for completing the actions assigned to them.
It is a very effective way of engaging everyone involved to ensure that operations run smoothly and objectives are met.
To complete the cycle, the employee who raised the issue is informed of the actions taken to fix it. People in operations, therefore, feel that they are heard and valued by the organization, which naturally makes them more engaged, attentive to the issues that arise in their daily routine, and proactive in finding solutions.
Increasing the performance of the entire organization through better management
At St-Méthode Bakery, growth goes hand in hand with quality. That's why increased productivity comes with better management, which is reflected in the entire culture and performance of the organization.
Improved team dynamics and coordination between shifts
The biggest transformation experienced by the St-Méthode Bakery teams since adopting proactive management supported by UTrakk is undoubtedly the dynamics between the teams. The follow-up on actions and issues created a real bond between the different shifts and departments, as well as a marked improvement in labor relations.
That's where the magic happens.
If I have a problem in the evening or at night, it’s as much the day shift’s problem as the night shift's. We want to be involved in problem-solving, so we include everyone, we have our team meeting and then we talk. Productivity is not just for one shift, it's good for everyone.
– Alain Tardif, production coordinator, St-Méthode Bakery
Performance that was once seen as a sector and shift objective is now everyone's business. Where once everyone wanted their own shift to perform well, but didn't really care about problems on other shifts, now everyone works to prevent problems and collaborate as one big team.