Customized Food Training gives Groezinger Provisions the Competitive Advantage
Groezinger Provisions Inc. is a family and women-owned business that manufactures pâtés and specialty meats in Neptune, New Jersey. This ‘MADE in New Jersey’ manufacturer has been in business since 1982. Groezinger and Alexianare their two signature brands, distributed to specialty food stores and high-end grocers across the country. Alexian Pâtés are made with fresh, natural ingredients, and are free from added hormones, antibiotics, and anything artificial. Groezinger Provisions is their USDA facility that produces Alexian and other deli products. Focusing on continuous improvement and providing the highest quality safe food to customers has elevated their business and both food brands.
As manufacturers know very well, employee absences can interrupt the flow of any production schedule, especially those in smaller settings, and absences of key personnel can be especially detrimental. In the past few years, Groezinger has faced the challenge of the absences of key personnel due to retirement and sudden medical leaves of absence. Every manufacturer understands how difficult it is to find anyone to join their ranks, but that challenge is amplified when specific skills or certifications are needed. It is especially challenging when positions are specialized, and employees are not cross trained. This disruption can be managed if an employee is out for a day, however when key personnel take an extended leave, it can bring a production line to a halt or serious mistakes can be made. There is no room for mistakes when it comes to food safety.
Additionally, the ever-changing updates in FDA and USDA rules and regulations required Groezinger to revisit all its food safety plans and programs consistently. This, coupled with the growth and expansion of Groezinger was incredibly challenging for the small manufacturing business.
After identifying the challenges on their own, the Groezinger team reached out to NJMEP. Juliana Canale, NJMEP’s Food Manufacturing & Regulatory Expert connected with Alexandra Groezinger, VP of Groezinger Provisions Inc, to conduct a complimentary business and food safety assessment to identify specific gaps and to gain a deeper understanding of Groezinger’s business.
Cross-training was the only way to ensure a single employee’s absence would not impact the entire organization. On-site training was the most direct way for Groezinger to effectively and efficiently cross-train their workforce. Juliana Canale worked with Alexandra and key personnel to ensure a customized training solution was developed to meet the clients’ specific needs.
It was uncovered that Groezinger could also use assistance updating their food safety plans and programs so they are up to date and compliant with both the USDA and FDA.
Groezinger was able to completely rework how they upskilled their employees and update their materials by working with NJMEP’s subject matter expert.
Through close collaboration with the client, NJMEP was able to create a completely customized training experience.
The strategies below were employed to meet all Groezinger Provisions specific needs…
- A customized training plan was developed after gaining a deeper understanding of the client’s needs
- Training was incorporated into the company schedule to create a culture focused on food safety
- Adding training to the schedule allowed Groezinger to provide training periodically instead of rushing to meet regulatory needs before deadlines
- Smaller training groups were formed so more questions could be asked and in-depth discussions could take place
- NJMEP’s subject matter expert brought the trainees onto the floor to walk through real-world scenarios
- Groezinger worked with NJMEP’s subject matter expert to update their food safety plans and programs to comply with both USDA and FDA rules and regulation updates
“We changed up the style of training we’ve been doing. Juliana is excellent at aligning with this new strategy to create a more effective training program. We host smaller group trainings and they’re more like roundtables, more of a discussion format rather than the whole group of 30 employees sitting in front of a projector with a faciliatory droning about a PowerPoint. Having smaller groups also meant that we didn’t have to stop production to do the trainings, ” Alexandra Groezinger, Vice President, Groezinger Provisions Inc, stated. “The feedback from our employees was positive and reassuring that this style works. In fact, trainings that were supposed to be one hour in length, extended to an hour and a half or two hours because employees were so engaged in the conversation. It was certainly time well spent off the production floor!”
Groezinger Provisions, Inc. has been able to take advantage of a variety of programs and services NJMEP provides to drive business forward. Over the course of 12 months, the below results were identified from engaging with NJMEP.
The results listed below were recorded from an independent third-party survey to capture the true economic impact of working with NJMEP…
- Increase Sales: $900,000
- Retained Sales: $3,000,000
- Jobs Created: 2
- Employees Retained: 15
- Cost Savings: $10,000
“I’ve heard my employees say they really like the direction things are going and the training is one of the areas that have been improved,“ explained Alexandra. She continued by saying, “NJMEP has been extremely helpful and an integral part in the way we’ve been doing business. You have provided so much support for manufacturing and it’s very nice having NJMEP put such an emphasis on Food manufacturing.”
Alexandra made a point to mention, “You can’t do business anymore unless you have the help of experts. Juliana is like a member of our team I can turn to when we have questions.”