SPAM team wins annual #039;Best of the Best#039; contest

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 7, 2002

The day shift SPAM workers at Hormel Foods Corporation's flagship Austin plant are the "Best of the Best."

The grocery products department's SPAM line day employees achieved a reduction in total product costs that resulted in significant savings.

Runners-up were teams representing shipping at the Austin plant and a Fast 'N Easy bacon night shift team in the meat products department.

Email newsletter signup

The shipping team achieved an 80 percent rate of all trucks in central shipping.

The Fast 'N Easy bacon team improved labor by 98 percent and yield by 100 percent.

Bruce Jordan, chairman of the plant's quality planning committee welcomed the teams and other interested guests to the final competition Thursday afternoon.

According to Jordan, 74 teams entered the 2002 "Opening Eyes to Quality" competition and 50 projects were completed. On Nov. 21, the 10 semi-finalists competed and that left the three finalists in the running for the coveted "Best of the Best" award.

Bob Stratton, chairman of the Quality Improvement Team at the Austin plant, told how the competition attempts to avoid the "stale syndrome" by inviting ideas to "freshen" it up in three-year cycles.

Jeff Nuytten, Austin plant general manager, introduced special guests, Bill Snyder, vice president of operations and refrigerated foods, and Bryan Farnsworth, director of quality management.

Nuytten said the three finalists "represent our company very well."

Snyder and Farnsworth, plus Austin plant quality improvement team members, voted as each of the three teams of finalists touted their year-long projects.

The shipping team members told how they tracked how they could improve the accuracy of orders filled, the safe transporting of product and ensuring on-time deliveries.

Then, the Grocery Products SPAM day shift team recalled how they set out to reduce total product costs of one of the company's most successful core products.

Finally, the meat products' Fast 'N Easy night shift team explained how they endeavored to increase productivity.

Snyder congratulated all of the finalists and then offered a comparison between Hormel Foods and its industry competitors.

In the comparison, Hormel Foods out-distanced its competitors in stock value, return on assets and sales, according to Snyder.

He said one of the reasons Hormel Foods has enjoyed another successful fiscal year is because "everyone contributes."

Then, Nuytten announced the winner and the celebration began.

Each member of the wining team will receive $100 in Hormel Foods gift certificates. Each member of the two runners-up will receive $25 in Hormel Foods gift certificates.

The winning team and two runners-up automatically qualify for the company-wide Best of the Best competition.

The 2001 winning team was the microwave bacon workers.

A team from smoked meat won the original competition in 1980.

Next year's theme for the Best of the Best competition is "Quality is the Key in 2003."

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at