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How Zavida scaled up from a family business by grooming strong managers

Family-owned for over 40 years, gourmet coffee producer Zavida was at a crossroads in its history when it became part of an important investor group. To further grow its business, the organization needed to optimize its processes to secure performance and maintain employee engagement while undergoing cultural, process, and leadership changes.

Reinforcing structure while fostering leadership

As a small (yet very successful) company, Zavida's performance monitoring processes and structures were mostly informal. The investor group recommended that Zavida seek Proaction International's assistance in assessing and streamlining its efficiency to implement a more systematized approach to operational effectiveness. The group had experienced several successes with Proaction International in other companies in their portfolio and entrusted it as a performance consultant.

With the help of the expert team, Zavida adopted more key performance indicators (KPI) to track its results and installed an OEE monitoring software for its industrial equipment. They also developed new management skills and practices at all levels of the organization to support managers and ensure the sustainability of the company's gains.

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Karen Maynard was thrilled to work with the expert team to develop a coaching culture to implement this new performance monitoring. But what really sparked her enthusiasm as a human resources manager was the prospect of training Zavida's managers, especially team leaders and supervisors, on how to implement and maintain best practices in performance management.

Productivity is an important measure for success, but it is equally important to strengthen the supervisory skills of front-line managers, to make them feel responsible for their departments, and to provide them with soft skills training. – Karen Maynard, HR Manager, Zavida

By equipping its managers with a communication structure and coaching that supports them in their role, Zavida gave them the confidence and the accountability to be strong leaders.

I really noticed a huge difference specifically with our production supervisor. He's grown leaps and bounds from having this structure put in place through production. – Karen Maynard, HR Manager, Zavida

 

A rising star

That supervisor is Manuel Avila. Whether you ask Ms. Maynard, CEO Mark Cummings or Jake Rivers, the Proaction International expert in charge of the project, his name is the very first thought that comes to mind when thinking about the success of the process at Zavida.

From technical expert to managerial leader

Mr. Avila had been working many roles on the production lines for 28 years and he had just been promoted to a supervisor position. He knew all the operations very well, but it was his first time being in a management position.

He first was very proud and excited, with a bit of nervousness, about his new role. Although he basically knew everything there was to know about the day-to-day work of his team, he wasn't too keen on holding them accountable for their performance.

With the help of his coach Jake, he quickly realized that his role in supervising and managing his team's performance is more about ensuring, through active supervision and an effective communication stream throughout the organization, that each team member has everything he or she needs to achieve their specific goals and perform collectively.

Appreciating the full scope of organizational performance, which includes productivity, but also product quality, health and safety, and employee engagement (and well-being), Mr. Avila committed 100% to develop his management skills and adopting best practices to become a true leader for his team.

Zavida, Manuel Avila

My relationship with my team is great. They take ownership of their productivity and are willing to go out of their way to make their performance better. I appreciate that. – Manuel Avila, Supervisor at Zavida

 

Growing strong managers to scale up on solid ground

By giving its managers expert support to develop their leadership skills and optimizing production and management processes, Zavida has improved its order backlog, reduced its cost per pound of coffee produced, and built a solid, scalable structure that puts people at the heart of the performance.

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The Proaction International Team
Topics: Leadership Development, Operational Excellence