Fireking Baking Co. sees very little turnover because owner Greg Acerra sees the value of taking care of his staff. For example, Krzysztof Ramotowski, the baker Mr. Acerra hired in the early 1990s to open Fireking, has come and gone and returned again. Most of Fireking’s management team has been on board for more than 10 years. Mr. Acerra treats his employees like family, and they reward him by staying.
The diversity of Fireking’s staff is apparent when listening to the chatter on the plant floor. English, Spanish and Portuguese all can be heard throughout the bakery. Currently, Mr. Acerra is in the process of improving his training programs to accommodate all of these languages.
“When they come in and work on a specific piece of equipment, they are trained on that equipment,” Mr. Acerra explained. “They’re not allowed to randomly start working on machines unless they are signed off to work on those machines.” At the moment, he is creating training videos for each system in each of the three languages spoken among his employees.
The bakery also offers food safety, personal hygiene and English-as-a-second-language training in addition to equipment training.
The bakery’s food safety and quality control systems include lot tracking, equipment swabs for various bacteria and GMPs. Fireking also qualifies its vendors for 15 different measures. At the end of each processing step, operators also monitor quality control aspects of products to make sure they are within spec. Thermo metal detectors check product after packaging for foreign material.