2013 Plant of the Year winner:

Friday, September 6, 2013

At The National Provisioner, it is our mission to give our readers an unprecedented, first-hand look at the operations of some of the most innovative and progressive companies — telling their success stories and digging into the details of their efforts to further their business and the industry in general.

This year, we continued to offer our readers a voice, through our second-annual Plant of the Year voting — allowing them to choose from the list of processing plants visited by NP from July 2012 through June 2013. Thousands of readers responded, and when voting concluded, JBS USA’s Grand Island, Neb., processing plant tallied 43% of the vote to win the 2013 Plant of the Year award. The Grand Island facility was profiled in our August 2012 issue, in which we toured and learned about the tremendous investment the company had put into its wastewater-treatment systems. Since that story published, many of you have contacted The National Provisioner to tell us about your facilities and the investments and innovations you’ve made to better handle your wastewater. The story and topic have been among the most popular over the last two years, and this story was a catalyst for the discussion amongst our readers.

Andy Hanacek, editor-in-chief of The National Provisioner, checked in with JBS and the Grand Island facility to congratulate them and get an update as to what has changed at the plant since his visit in the summer of 2012.

Manlio “Manny” Medellin, the Grand Island plant manager, offered the following updates:

Medellin: The broad message is, it is evident that JBS is making the necessary investments to ensure that the Grand Island facility holds true to our responsibility to our customers, employees and community, while ensuring we are committed to our responsibilities around environmental stewardship. Here are a few things that we have going on at the facility now:

Community Outreach

  • Donated $25,000 to the Grand Island Public Schools to help initiate a pre-K center (this year).
  • Presented a case to Grand Island city hall in an effort to increase affordable housing in the community that would greatly benefit our workforce, as well as the surrounding area (this year).
  • Initiated a yearly employee appreciation picnic for our employees, through which we utilize the city water park (Island Oasis). This is a great way for us to show our appreciation to our employees and it also infuses funds into the local economy, since the park is operated by the City of Grand Island (this year is the second year of the event).

Facility Improvements/Customer Service

  • Currently, we are going through the transitional phases into our new distribution center, which will essentially double our storage capacity. This, in turn, will improve our customer-service performance by allowing us to be more flexible in meeting our customer expectations. It will also improve our shipping efficiencies (project completion: spring 2014).
  • We will be investing capital in our ground-beef operation to help improve the quality of product going to our customers (this year).
  • Capital money is also being invested in our packaging area to improve our package quality and improve customer performance from that aspect (this year).
  • The facility also invested in new welfare areas for our employees to include new locker rooms, restrooms and cafeteria seating (last year).

Sustainability

  • We also have a tripe machine automation project in the works that will reduce utility usage (this year).
  • Working with a new potential vendor to increase land application of organic wastes and reduce what is currently going to landfill (this year).