Though our flagship Heinz product, Ketchup, is made from real tomatoes grown from the ground, it takes a lot of work to get it from field to factory to your fries. Operations week was all about learning about what makes the company tick–how we make our product, and how we get it to where it needs to go! Without operations, there would be no product, and without the product, there would be no company. We were able to hear from top leaders in the department, with decades of experience in the consumer goods industry. We learned about supply/demand planning, ingredient sourcing, and transportation–AND we learned about what can happen when those things don’t go according to plan. Running operations at a big consumer goods company like The Kraft Heinz Company is kind of like running the world’s most complicated relay race: each leg of the journey relies on those that come before and after it to do well, in order for the team as a whole to win.
Without a doubt, the best part of the week was doing our factory visits, to see where the magic happens! The trainees split up into four groups, all going to different factories. Groups road-tripped to our Mason, Massillon, Fremont, and Holland factories, where we saw Ketchup packets, Smart Ones® frozen meals, and pickles being made. I was in the pickle-factory group visiting the 118 year-old Holland, MI factory, and I can tell you, the place smelled AMAZING. We got behind-the-scenes tours, and learned about how the products were made–safely, efficiently, and deliciously. And of course, no factory tour would be complete without a full taste test at the end. Our group had hot dogs, to try the tasty Heinz® relish with.
The Kraft Heinz Company may be co-headquartered in Pittsburgh and Chicago, but we learned this week that the HQ is just one part of a much, much bigger story.