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Flying Cans in Cali

Greetings from sunny California and the Operations department of the Fairfield Brewery! Our job here is to get the beer from a tank into cans and out the door. It is massively more difficult than I imagined and the entire process  is very visible making it easy for a new guy like me to appreciate. I’m grateful to be able to spend time on the line with the operators who actually run the machines, hear their stories and see how they solve problems. Then I get to participate in watching the issues on the floor flow through the entire Operations structure and to find out where and how problems are actually solved.  Every day is different in Operations but that is what makes it fun.

Last Friday was Be(er) Responsible Day where we all headed out from the breweries to spend a day with the wholesaler salesforce on the ground talking with retailers about designated driving. In just one day, I visited over 20 on-premise accounts (bars and restaurants) putting up table tents to promote Budweiser’s Designate a Driver efforts and talking to the proprietors about what they were seeing in terms of designated driving and how we could improve. The most interesting part was seeing the backsides of so many restaurants and learning from Rich, the salesman, about his life and experience getting our beers on tap.

After a weekend in Yosemite with some friends from school (Yup, as a GMT I don’t have to take any work with me on the weekend which has led to loads of adventures from sailing under Golden Gate Bridge with sea lions and dolphins to four weekends of hiking), I returned to the brewery to finish up designing a short series of feedback workshops. Embedded in our culture is a desire to own our results and always strive to grow together. We’re always looking to improve our ability as individuals and an organization to share outside perspectives with each other - the essence of feedback.  On Monday I ran a trial of the workshop series with my boss (Chris) and his direct reports (Mike, Sam, and Paul), and then we worked together to figure out how to improve it for the group managers – our frontline supervisors. I’ve really enjoyed the extent to which the people here are open to experimentation and pushing me to take risks and try out some new things. The support has been fantastic – last week Chris spent almost an hour with me processing a meeting Mike gave me the opportunity to facilitate where the group managers were reassessing how we do shift hand-off meetings. Now I’m spending time planning out a Hack-a-thon for our group managers where we all spend the day together solving problems. It’s a tech company idea but the folks in Fairfield aren’t afraid to try out new ways to drive better results. I guess that’s just one of the advantages of working in an organization where everyone is an owner.

Besides that, I’ve been doing a lot of the great stuff that everyone has already mentioned from working the keg line to working on our Innovation project- except I get to do it in California sunshine.

-Michael Baskin

Filed under Fairfield supply Operations GMT11

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