The right team

Masada’s new affiliation with TBC is working well, according to the local managers. “The two organizations meshed nicely,” said Jackie Bouysou, Masada’s human resources manager. “There were a lot of expectations and some worries, but we have come a long way.” The new owners raised wages and upgraded company-paid benefits. In turn, it established systematic evaluation and promotion procedures.

“We strive to find people who want a career,” Ms. Bouysou continued. The bakery’s workforce is quite diverse, and nine languages plus English can be heard in the plant. “Our production manager, Abbas Merzah, speaks four,” she said.

Ms. Harrington observed, “It’s the people. They have a can-do attitude.”

Hezi Stein added, “The people who work here have a feeling of ownership. You can see it in how they back up and help their colleagues. The soul of the business is who we are, and the soul of Masada is seen in its people, in their love and their pride in what they are doing.”

It helps that the nature of the bakery as a family-owned business has stayed the same. “In the past decade, while the business has grown, it has kept the family aspects,” said Mike Scalera, controller, Masada. “TBC brings the same family environment and pride of workmanship to the business. It’s a matter of putting artisan pride and service in the forefront.”

Managers emphasize flexibility as important to continuing the business’ success. “This is a team that embraces change,” Mr. Maddox said. “We’re learning as much about baking from Masada as they are learning from TBC.”

Masada Bakery General Manager Larry Murray confirmed the need for flexibility in the artisan workplace, which can have a great deal of complexity. “Making artisan product — and making a lot of it — is not easy,” he said. “Success in artisan production boils down to the type of equipment and, more importantly, the talented bakers directing use of that equipment to produce outstanding quality.”

Flexibility and discipline have improved and impacted the bakery’s business side. “The effect has been to build a better foundation for creating and serving accounts,” said Kristi Bryson, customer service manager, Masada. “Production scheduling has been streamlined, and we’re better able to serve our customers. There have been leaps and bounds of positive change.”

Masada Business Manager Alan Fishman described growth in managing the supply chain and information systems. “There is a strong focus on the metrics of the business,” he observed. “And there’s an open-door ­policy. Everyone is welcome to bring up ideas and improvements. The focus is on customers and making the company stronger every day.”

TBC recently embarked on another initiative to fortify its business: putting in an enterprise resource planning system. Hunter Wilkinson heads up this project. “We plan, plan, plan before we execute,” said CFO Tom Harrington. “The senior leadership and IT teams in all the bakeries, plus our plant managers and process experts, are involved.”