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Reduce product waste in your company with your employees help

Case: Tortilla-maker 

Maximize the potential of your Hispanic leaders to lead a more effective and profitable team.


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By Eduardo Figueroa

A team of Hispanic leaders reduced product waste and save more than $120,000 a year to the company.

Hello, my name is Eduardo Figueroa and I want to thank you for joining me in this series of video cases I have designed to help you gain peace of mind, help your Hispanic employees become more productive and responsible and eventually,  help your company generate more profits.

My intention is to provide guidance and samples of how to develop a more efficient and responsible team of Hispanic leaders, that will help you reduce costly mistakes, eliminate waste of resources, and avoid conflicts that distract you from focusing in more profitable activities and projects.

Also, I want to contribute to your well-being by having a less stressful working life and gaining more time for you and your family. And this is especially important for me. I believe that if we are less stress out, and have a more balance life, we will be healthier and happier.

I have over 20 years developing Hispanic supervisors to be more efficient and better team players. Here in the United States, I do this through in-person training sessions and now with my online program called Supervisor Eficaz (Effective Supervisor).

Besides my extensive experience as a trainer, I also have studies in leadership, communication, conflict resolution, process improvement, and much more.

In this first video, I will tell how to develop a team of Hispanic leaders to reduce waste and save a lot of money in your company.

I am going to do this by sharing with you the case of one client, a tortilla-maker, to which I was giving supervision and leadership training to their Hispanic employees.

I live in Southern California, and since this company is in another state, I had to go once a month from Thursday to Saturday to train different groups, and I did it for several months.

The training program I provided was based on my training model titled Supervisor Eficaz (Effective Supervisor).

This training always starts with the topic of leading and embracing change. The reason is that we are going to ask participants to change their behavior, actions, and attitude to become more respectful and productive leaders.

Then I teach about responsibility, respect, and include exercises to improve their self-esteem and their confidence to embrace bigger challenges and responsibilities.

Another important topic that participants learn is how to communicate more efficiently and understand that micro-expressions sometime become macro-aggressions that leads to poor productivity and revenge.

I also teach how to build an effective team, as well as how to become assertive leaders.

I use several assessment tools that help participants to learn how others see them and why they react the way we do.

And these are some of the topics I presented in the tortilla-maker manufacturing firm.

If I remember correctly on my fifth trip, and in the session I had on a Saturday with all the supervisors and assistants from production, the laboratory, and the shipping and raw material departments, I was delivering the process improvement session.

In one part of the session, I asked everyone to help me make a list of the main problems they had at the plant.

And after writing these on a board, I asked them to now put them in order of importance or severity. And the first on the list was the product waste.

Then I asked them to tell me how much the waste was and to give me the information in dollars. Some had an idea in their departments but did not know what the waste was like in other departments and what the cost was.

Fortunately for me, an owner was observing the session and I asked him, what is the total cost of waste in the company, to which he replied that it was $50,000.

I asked him if that cost was annual, and he answered no, that it was monthly.

So, I wrote on the board: $50,000 a month for 12 months equals $600,000 a year.

When the participants saw that number, they were completely surprised. There was a murmur of amazement in the room where I was giving the training.

No one knew or had any idea that the total waste from the different departments was that big.

Then, they explained there was waste since the raw material was received, in this case, the corn when it was emptied into the silos, part fell out to the floor and this had to be thrown as waste because it had already been contaminated.

There was also waste in the production lines of tortillas and other products when the dough fell from the line to the floor and became garbage, waste, and so on. They told me in what other areas there was waste.

The finished product was put in plastic bags and packed in boxes. Once in the finished product warehouse, sometimes by mistake, with the forklift they perforate the boxes contaminating the tortillas or other products. And this is added to the waste, which accumulated was costing the company more than $600,000 a year.

There were other problems that also had a cost, but not as high as this one, so we decided to focus on reducing and looking for solutions to reduce costly waste.

I am almost certain this company waste cost did not allow the owners to sleep well.

Here, I taught the participants how to generate ideas to reduce errors and waste in their departments.

Then I divided the group into departments and asked them as a team to think of possible solutions to reduce the product waste.

I was monitoring each team as they went, giving them some suggestions, and after about an hour and a half, they all returned to the plenary session with some suggestions for their own department.

Back in plenary, I taught them how to prepare a cost-benefit proposal to present their suggestions to management.

When I returned to the plant, approximately 24 days later, to give another series of sessions, I was informed that some of the ideas had already been implemented and that they estimated a 20% decrease in waste, which would imply a savings of $120,000 a year.

On this trip, talking to the owner, we estimated that the investment they made in some changes in equipment and processes and in my training so far, including my travel expenses, the company had invested about $47,000.

And this compared to the $120,000, which they estimated they would be saving, implied a return on investment of 255%, only in that year, and this without including other changes they were considering making to the processes of the ideas that had emerged from the participants in the previous session.

You can imagine how the owner felt when the investment he made had a considerable return on investment and when he saw savings of more than $120,000, which represent an increase in the company’s profits.

In addition, this allowed the owner to dedicate his time to other important projects for the company.

This exercise demonstrates once again that employees want to help the company and they need to be taught how to be better leaders and work as a team.

People wants to be educated. This build confidence to act.

When employees are empowered, they will produce better results, and it would make them feel they are also contributing to the improvement of the company, of their place where they work and from which they feed their families.

It makes these employees feel included and that their ideas are heard, creating a win-win experience for everyone.

Some of the lesson learned from this case are:

  1. A well-trained team of Hispanic supervisors can resolve problems and avoid mistakes.
  2. It is good to share information, good and bad. Employees need to know what is going on.
  3. Teaching how to generate ideas to reduce waste, pay-off
  4. Educating employees how to do a cost-benefit proposal helps the company to get solutions to problems
  5. People wants the opportunity to contribute, to be part of the solution
  6. Education empowers people, so you do not need to manage them

When this training is offered in their own language, they feel more comfortable asking questions, and especially if the information is delivered by an expert person with whom they identify and speaks their own language. They will learn better and become more productive employees.

As you can see, there was a very important and positive transformation in the company, starting with the employees, the processes and eventually the profits for the company, besides giving the owners a little more peace of mind and time to carry out other personal projects.

Here, we provided training to all employees at a leadership level and in their own language in Spanish, which made it more effective, productive, and above all, profitable, using my training model created in my program Supervisor Eficaz.

If management had not invested in the development and training of their supervisors and leaders, perhaps it would still be losing more than half a million dollars a year.

There is always a process in learning, and this requires someone with experience, knowledge, and above all, someone who knows how to communicate it in a bicultural way, to be effective.

My question to you is, do you have a similar situation, and how much does the waste in your company cost per year? And what are you doing to decrease it?

Invest you time in educating your Hispanic employees, this will pay off, or let a professional trainer do it for you.

Remember: Training inspires positive change

I would like to share my vision with you. My goal is to help companies to increase profits by empowering their Hispanic employees to be more responsible, productive, and become profitable leaders.

If you believe that empowering people is a win-win situation, please join me in the next video-case.

In the next video lesson or case study, I will talk about a company in which the human resources department was dealing with employee complaints and conflicts generated by Hispanic supervisors.

I will explain what they did to change the behavior of supervisors who created those conflicts costing the company thousands of dollars a year to deal with them.

Please leave a comment below on how you are managing the reduction of waste of resources in your company. Or if you like to ask a question, also write it there.

I will read all the comments and try to answer your questions.

Remember to watch my next video case and how they solved it.

Thank you again for watching this video.

I wish you a wonderful and productive week.

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Assessment tool to estimate the annual cost of the problems and determine their causes, in your company


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Training in Spanish Ensures Better Understanding and Better Performance!


Online training course designed for Hispanic supervisors and leaders in Spanish with subtitles in English

Eduardo Figueroa

Trainer & Author

My mission is to help companies to be more profitability by bringing out the best in their Hispanic team of leaders and employees.

I achieve this successfully by training participants in their native language (Spanish) and by been a Hispanic.

I have developed on-site training sessions and online programs, in Spanish, that are practical, effective, easy to use and affordable. With great ROI, investment-benefit.

I have the education, knowledge and over 20 years experience, helping clients in manufacturing, agribusiness, hotels, all kind of service, restaurants, and construction, here in USA and Mexico.

I hold a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the Instituto Panamericano de Alta Dirección de Empresas and a Chemical Industrial Engineering Degree from the National Polytechnic Institute, both in Mexico City.

Hispanic Business Consultants © – Eduardo Figueroa 2024  – Supervisor Eficaz

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