Archive for the ‘management’ Category

The Circle of Conservation

Friday, June 2nd, 2017
Alan Menken and Stephen Laurence Schwartz wrote Colors of the Wind for the movie “Pocahontas” and today I’m reminded of the importance of their lyrics:  

“The rainstorm and the river are my brothers

The heron and the otter are my friends

And we are all connected to each other

In a circle, in a hoop that never ends”

  Today’s decision to publically and demonstratively turn our back on the environment is shameful and heart-wrenching.  Our planet knows no politics.  It knows neither Democrat, Republican, Argentinian, Brazilian, Croatian, Danish, Egyptian, Fujian, Georgian, Honduran, Indian, Jamaican, Kenyan, Laotian, Malaysian, Nigerian, Omani, Peruvian, Qatari, Romanian, Syrian, Tanzanian, Uzbeki, Venezuelan, Welch, Yemeni or Zambian.   All it knows are those who protect, preserve or plunder.  It’s keeping track, by letting us know its temperature, its temperament, and our ability to listen to it, to recognize what it says, is a science.  The repudiation of the Paris Agreement is an affront to Science, to educated men and women around the globe who are listening to the planet; it’s a betrayal to those who are passionate about our environment and it is a disservice to our future generations.  It is our duty, our responsibility, as conservators of the planet we inhabit today, to ensure that our humanity and our way of life continues to thrive and that means we must leave the next generation this beautiful, glorious, mother earth in good health.  We are, every one of us, connected to each other, no matter where we live.   As a company, Eagle Beverage stands with all the other corporations and businesses that support the Paris Agreement, not just because of economics or trade, but on principal: We stand with all our brothers and sisters around the world in our commitment to do our part to protect our only home.

Reflection & Thank You

Monday, December 19th, 2016
As we wind down the year and look back, it was definitely a year fraught with twists and turns.  Could anyone have imaged 2016 would have brought us Brexit or Trump?  Or taken away such larger than life pop culture influencers like Prince, Bowie, Za Za or Muhammad Ali?   It has been all rather dreamlike and I’m not sure when we will wake up. At Eagle, though, we would take this opportunity to say thank you to all our team members.  You have worked tirelessly, silently and even though we don’t always have the chance to stop and talk, we want you to know how much we appreciate your commitment to the company, the pride you bring with every box and case you package and in every shipment that leaves our door.  Our team is, and always will be, the heart and soul of this company. The volatile events of this year have occasioned concern and confusion among our team regarding their place in the United States.  As a company, we do not define anyone based on religion, ethnicity, country of origin, gender or other life choices.  We hope we will always have a peaceful union, one that we can perfect together, as a culture, community and civic society.  It is our shared responsibility to work together and support each other.  We wish everyone a happy, safe, peaceful and wondrous holiday season!

A-Musing about the Seahawks

Saturday, October 8th, 2016
Everytime I think about the Seattle Seahawks, I can’t decide if I’m naively optimistic about them, or cautiously pessimistic… And here’s why… Sometimes they are amazing, and sometimes, well, you know….  And it’s a franchise and a “profit center,” so I’m even more puzzled.  If our Customer Service team approached every interaction we have with our customers the same way the Seahawks play a game, what would that look like?  Would somedays be Outstanding customer support, other days, mediocre?  And who decides how the interaction will go?  The customer, the tone of the email, what you did last night?  I’m no sports buff, but I see parallels in providing great customer service and providing great entertainment.  The seattlite in me cheers and waves for our Hawks, but the business person inside me says…. Let’s be consistent, make every encounter count and be the one that elevates the game!

Strength Through Diversity

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015
Diversity is important in the workplace.  At Eagle, we pride ourselves on our diverse team who come from an array of countries – Nepal, Somalia, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Samoa, and so many more.  We always joke that we have the United Nations represented at Eagle, and our diversity allows us to succeed in a competitive environment.  We always hope that our customers appreciate the diverse points of view we bring to the table.  When we have tastings for new flavors, we ask our team members to evaluate the flavors.  They all bring feedback that we use to improve the quality of our products.  In manufacturing, our diversity is the backbone of our manufacturing.  We are especially proud to be featured in Starbucks’ diversity newroom recently.  Thank you Starbucks for recognizing all that we do!  The full article from their newsroom can be found here.

Happy New Year

Monday, January 2nd, 2012
It is with great excitement that I start to write for the blog again.  First of all, Happy New Year to all of you.  From us at Eagle, we wish you all a very prosperous and happy new year.  Second, I apologize for such silence on the blog.  Last year was busier than could have been imagined, considering I was covalescing for the greater part of the year.  I am back to being mostly functional and for that, I am very grateful.  Over the next few posts, I hope to share with you some of the facinating and exciting things that we expect for 2012, along with some of what we learned in 2011.

Feeding my Apple Addiction

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011
I am an Apple(R) addict.  I am an early adopter of all Apple products and I see nothing wrong with owning all iPhone generations and the iPad and iPad2, at the same time.  A forage into my closet doesn’t yield designer shoes, but rather, vintage Apple products, like the Powerbook 145B, and multiple colors of interchangeable track balls that were sold that year. Is it any wonder then, that Eagle Beverage now was an App for the iPad? You can download the app at the App Store.  An App?  For Private Label?  But of course.  How else can our sales team remember each detail of a custom private label program?  The app is designed for food service professionals who are interested in selling a custom private label program for speciality beverages.  It’s nifty because you can see more detail of flavors and actually create your own program.  Do you want to match a brand?  Enter the info in the field.  Do you want choose your capsule color?  Click your color.  Need to print the sales sheets or email directly to the person across the table from you?  Select print, email or download to PDF reader. I’m not recommending that everyone downloads the app.  It is a very specific app for a specific market segment.  In addition to helping our sales team promote private label programs, this app asks the question… how useful are apps for business to business generation?  Or is the market share for one billion plus apps predominantly B to C?  Or did I miss the platform of where B2B apps belong? I should point out that the app is not free and Eagle Beverage does NOT offer refunds for those who download the app because they download everything there is out there whether they need it or not (yes, I know I have 650 apps of which I only actually use about 20).  But we will refund the price of the app if someone actually uses it to create and buy a private label program from us! I am enjoying the process of learning how to integrate technology into the selling of custom foodservice items.  And I have enjoyed learning how Apple has developed a whole platform for the creation, maintenance and distribution of apps.  The reviews from the sales team who have seen the app working have been great.  I really hope I don’t have to buy them all iPads now…!

Reasons to be Thankful

Friday, May 13th, 2011
Sometimes, we move too fast.  One May day, I was excited to be presenting a margarita mix to a local Mexican chain that has about 60 stores.  I arrived at the location, picked up the box of samples out of the truck, turned and landed on the ground.  The samples (fortunately plastic bottles), went rolling.  A colleague was with me, and luckily, he was able to retrieve the bottles, help me to my feet and get help.  In the end, I suffered two breaks in my left foot and an ugly elbow. During the process, however, two things became apparent quickly.  One, I need to slow down and accept help when offered and two, I must always be thankful.  Not knowing how I fell, the injury could have been more severe and everyday, I am thankful that I am being looked after. Having been literally chaired (grounded, or otherwise told to stay put), I’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with many of our customers and really understand how our team does such an excellent job of getting their work done.  I’m sure that they would rather not have me scrutinizing everything, but there is always room for improvement and hopefully they recognize the value of having another perspective to solving problems and exceeding on customer care.  Being at the office for such an extended period of time, brings home to realization that a company that does not have direct oversight and management by owners runs the risk of having decisions made for the company instead of company management making decisions for the company.   The flipside is micromanagement tends to make the team nervous or suddenly unsure of themselves.  I have tried to find a balance, but I do believe everyone is ready for me to start visiting customers again!

The Jerk/Sucker Tradeoff

Monday, September 20th, 2010
I was at a class recently taught by Professor Sonia Marciano a Clinical Associate Professor of Management and Organizations at the New York University Stern School of Business. She had a story to tell about the the jerk/sucker tradeoff. She highlighted professors at university who have to decide on summer schedules and projects. She said everyone usually keeps their head down, mumbles incoherently and prays that they are not asked to take on any more responsibility. Within the group, there emerges two types of people – the Jerk, who says no to projects and building school value and the sucker, who will always say yes, but won’t be happy about it. She illustrates that the problem is that the sucker knows that doing the job will bring more value to the school (in the form of grants, research opportunities, etc.), while little to no personal value. The Jerk recognizes that their lack of contribution does not enhance the schools image, but also feels no reason to go out on a limb since there is no gratitude in doing so. These are two very common emotions towards a workplace and this same scenario is found in companies around the globe. There are always some employees that will do whatever it takes, because it is the job but they know that their work may go unnoticed or unrecognized. Others will do the minimum to keep their job, but nothing more. The sweet spot is to eliminate the feeling of the jerk/sucker tradeoff. Empowering employees to do more, recognizing their value and promoting their efforts energizes the company as a whole and in the long run, brings more value and satisfaction to the place where we spend our days.

Insight into McDonald’s Corporation

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010
One of best parts of the IFT Annual Show are the technical field trips they offer. I signed up for 2 very different field trips, one of which was a visit to McDonald’s Corporate Headquarters. The field trip started at 8am and lasted until approximately 1pm. We all met at McCormick and took a bus to famed Hamburger University. After signing in we went upstairs to sit in one of their lecture halls and learn more about their company. The agenda for the day included tours of the following areas: Hamburger University Campus Office Building The chef’s kitchen The Sensory Lab Discussion of the process for Product development Lunch Very Short History Lesson: Ray Kroc was born in 1902, bought the franchise from the McDonald’s Brothers in 1961 and died in 1981. During his lifetime, he amassed a fortune of $500 million. Ray Kroc visited the first McDonald’s when he was selling multi-mixer milkshake machines. Prior to that he sold paper cups! Today… * McDonald’s is one of the 10 most valuable brands in the US * There are 31,000 stores in 121 countries. About 12 thousand are in the US * McDonald’s serves 2 million customers a day A few basics about Hamburger University * It sits on 88 acres just outside of Chicago * They train international and US managers of McDonalds restaurants. * 2,400 people go through the university each year * It is the only food service company with it’s own university * The curriculum is ACE accredited and can be credited towards college or business degrees. * McDonald’s is #37 in Training Magazine’s list of the top 125 companies offering training, learning and development The programs are varied, from equipment management, operations and leadership. They focus of four different leadership approaches – coaching, consulting, directive and empowering. Team development focusing on forming, storming, norming and informing. Everything they work on focuses on how to get results from others. Every owner operator has growth criteria and under the people and every restaurant must be managed by a Hamburger University graduate. Next time you visit a McDonald’s, you’ll know that the manager has invested in his/her’s professional growth and that of their team members.

Paul Ettinger, Caffe Nero

Monday, June 28th, 2010
“Always have friends with a high net worth. You never know when you are going to need their help.” – Paul Ettinger. The changes to Caffe Nero over the last 12 years have been tremendous. It was an existing business with 5 stores and the management has grown it to over 400 stores today. It operates predominantly in the UK and has expanded into the Middle East. When discussing how he got into the business, Paul cheekly said “I was asked to run the kitchens for 6 weeks.” He never left. Paul offered advice to the audience, saying simply “for those wanting to get into business – do not start a business, go out and buy a business.” Excellent advice as few companies survive the two years. He said to ask yourself the following: Are you ready for this business? Do you have the money to succeed? Are you prepared for extreme changes? Do you have the stomach for sleepless nights? If the answers are yes, then you have what it takes to succeed. Caffe Nero’s story is failry well known. What I found interesting was their continuous effort with cash flow, something all businesses can understand. When they needed money, they borrowed; when they needed money again, they sold stock; when that proved burdensome, they bought the business back. Each time they took outside financing, the shackles and demands of an outside investor made the business less fun, as outside investors rarely understand the passion of the owner and managers. They realized the best people for the business was them, but money always proved to be in short supply. One experience he cited with a bank was putting the lenders to work in each store. The lenders ran a store for a period of time, so they could understand and learn how Caffe Nero was relevant to their customers. That experience made the relationship stronger and beneficial to both parties. The alternative, working with banks and investors who didn’t understand your business, your philosophy was not something anyone enjoys.