Sticking to It
At Tyson Foods, Inc., all management personnel, including CEO Donnie Smith, are birds of a uniform feather.
"We all wear khaki to show that we are working managers and not afraid to get our hands dirty," reports Russell Gayer, manager of Tyson Printing Services (TPS).
Tyson prides itself, not only on the work ethic of its employees, but also their ability to work cooperatively, both internally and with supplier partners and customers. Cooperation, communication and care help Tyson maintain its competitive edge as one of the world's largest processors of chicken, beef and pork.
The company counts on TPS as an integral part of the Tyson team. Operating out of a 45,000-square-foot shop right down the street from Tyson's corporate headquarters in Springdale, Ark., the in-plant consists of 54 employees led by Gayer.
TPS specializes in the production of pressure-sensitive labels, and prints approximately 35 percent of Tyson's labels. The rest are outsourced to suppliers (including Multi-Color and Omni Systems).
"From a risk management standpoint, we don't want all of our eggs in one basket," Gayer notes. Tyson outsources all other packaging.
Gayer categorizes the relationship between TPS and Tyson's other label providers as complementary rather than adversarial.
"Our niche is short-run, quick turnaround and they are better suited for longer runs, which would bottleneck our operation," he explains.
Gayer is confident that the in-plant is positioned properly and securely. "Our ability to manufacture labels at significantly less than market price due to low overhead—and drive those savings to the bottom line—has led to a greater appreciation of the in-plant by executive management and a willingness to invest in the business," says Gayer. "And, being in the label industry ourselves gives Tyson an advantage when negotiating with suppliers."
Related story: Looking Beyond The Label