MRC - Manufacturers Resource Center

 

Freshpet

 

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based Freshpet makes fresh all natural food for pets. The company—united by a passion for pets and a mission to give them the best pet food possible for a happy, healthy, and long life—strives to lessen environmental impact while giving pets the freshest, healthiest food there is.

“MRC’s assistance has been foundational to our expansion.”
– Steve Weise, Executive VP of Manufacturing and Supply Chain

Following several years exceeding 20% in annual growth, Freshpet saw year-over-year gains of more than 30% in 2019 and 2020. This rapid (and accelerating) expansion came with significant pressure to add capacity and train new people.

What’s more, given that fresh pet food is produced under the same rigorous conditions as RTE (Ready to Eat) human food, the company seeks to continuously improve sanitation without sacrificing output, a balance that demands creative problem solving and optimal process design.

Solution

In response, Freshpet turned to MRC once again in 2020, undertaking a long list of projects including Training Within Industry (TWI) for both employees and trainers, initiatives to reduce sanitation downtime on two legacy production lines, and problem solving and continuous improvement on sanitation processes, dry batch, and other production areas.

Freshpet also undertook Kata facilitation and coaching to support other, ongoing continuous improvement efforts, as well as the identification of potential machine vision inspection equipment.

“MRC is always willing to work around our hours,” says Freshpet Executive Vice President of Manufacturing and Supply Chain, Steve Weise. “We’re a seven-day operation with four different crews. MRC worked with us overnight, when the sanitation crews are most active, to enhance their processes.”

Weise adds that the TWI approach is the underpinning for Freshpet Academy, which enables employees to complete training in-house in hopes of “leveling up”—building the depth and breadth of their understanding as they learn new skills.

Integrating the TWI methodology to Freshpet’s internal training has made all the difference in terms of cross-training and employee progression.

“We couldn’t have grown the way we did without TWI/MRC,” Weise says. “It’s made it possible to bring people in, get them up to speed, and help them be productive in a short amount of time. It also helped our in-house people learn new and better skills, something that was especially important the past year as we adjusted the workforce almost day-to-day in response to COVID.

Results

    • Able to improve cleaning effectiveness by 30%
    • Reduced cleaning times by 20%
    • Realized $250,000 in cost savings

For more information about Freshpet Kitchens, visit their website at www.freshpet.com