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Learning: Our Field Trip to Amy’s Kitchen

We are on the eve of attending our industry’s big show, ISS in Long Beach, CA this week. However, I was reminded this week that if you keep your eyes open, you can learn things from outside your industry almost as well as within. My pals at Iggy’s Bread always give me inspiration on how to do things right, and it is funny how many of their mixing and baking systems are not that much different than systems I see in ink manufacturing.

My good pal Peter Stohn graduated big time from working with me doing screenprint customer service (he still has nightmares about a customer we called “the white ladies”) to buyer of ton after ton of quality ingredients for Amy’s. He took us on a tour of one of their facilities in Northern California. Sworn to secrecy, we can’t show photos, but I can tell you that if you grab one of their pizzas from the freezer, it is all it claims to be and more. I know their food is tasty when you are in a hurry, and I know of their sponsorship of a cause dear to me Farm Aid, but I had no idea of what kind of operation they run. Their commitment to quality ingredients, organic growing, food safety, worker safety, worker’s benefits, and tasty food was re-inforced in spades to me when we saw just a small part of their enormous operation.

I learned a thing or two about cleanliness and organization and was left with one image in my head to bring back to my shop: We peeked into one area of the factory and there were about ten line workers doing exercises together to avoid repetitive stress injuries. They also switch out people into different jobs along the line. Factory work is hard, now everybody stretch…


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