2014 CAE Recipient Profile - Cargill Value Added Meats


Cargill Value Added Meats (CVAM) is a business whose purpose is to enable growth in partnership with Cargill’s strategic customer, McDonald’s.  Cargill and McDonald’s relationship started in Canada in January 2002, when Cargill acquired a chicken processing and hatchery business in London and Jarvis, Ontario from Cuddy International.  The business was re-named Sun Valley Foods, a division of Cargill Limited, then Cargill Meats Canada, and recently Cargill Value Added Meats.  The London poultry processing facility is the sole supplier of chicken products to McDonalds Canada.  In September 2004, two beef patty-processing facilities in Brampton, Ontario and Spruce Grove, Alberta operated by Caravelle Foods were acquired to exclusively supply McDonald’s Canada with beef patties.  In 2008, a supply chain rationalization project was completed to supply all beef patties from the Spruce Grove facility.   Today, approximately 1,100 people work for Cargill in this customer focused business.

Our Business Excellence journey began shortly following our initial acquisition.   We leveraged Cargill’s internal expertise and identified Business Excellence subject matter experts to help get us started.

One of the very first opportunities identified was that we needed a formal communication mechanism to ensure that our key messages are delivered throughout the organization accurately and consistently.  On an annual basis, we facilitate Town Hall Meetings to communicate our company’s Purpose, Mission, Core Values, Core Competencies, and Key Strategies to all of our stakeholders (employees).  We also develop an annual Key Strategies booklet that we distribute to all of our stakeholders. The booklet contains all the information above and is translated into six different languages to meet the needs of the diverse ethnicity of our stakeholders.  Based on surveys we have conducted following our Town Hall meetings, over 95% of our stakeholders have indicated that they not only understand our strategies, but also understand how their role and work aligns with our strategic objectives.

Customer Focus is our core competence built on the unique relationship we have with our sole customer, McDonald’s Canada. Our strategy is to grow hand in hand with McDonald’s Canada by creating strategically aligned long term goals every 3 years. This alignment ensures that we continue to support McDonald’s Canada with unique products and services that provide them with distinct competitive advantages. A formal supplier performance review is conducted jointly every two years.  Our "zippered" approach to determine current and future customer needs and expectations ensures daily interactions between Cargill and McDonald's Canada.  As a result, Cargill has won five Supplier Excellence Awards from McDonald’s Canada in the last six cycles, the most recent one in 2014, and being the first McDonald’s Canada supplier to be awarded the Terry Williams Food Safety Award for the outstanding complaint reductions and food safety performance of our Spruce Grove, Alberta beef patty processing facility.

In order to benchmark our company within Cargill, we began participating in Cargill Chairman’s Award for Business Excellence program with an application in 2006.  Cargill’s Business Excellence criteria are modeled after the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which is also very similar to the Canada Awards for Excellence Criteria, covering seven elements: Leadership, Strategic Planning, Customer Focus, Measurement, Workforce Focus, Process Management, and Results.  Cargill’s Business Excellence program has a two year cycle.  We applied again in 2008, and an example of our continuous improvement efforts was although we have an Opportunities For Improvement (OFI) idea capture system, stakeholders thought using it was slower than reaching-out directly to their supervisor.  There was also an opportunity to define and measure Near Misses as a safety metric.  To address these issues, we began to measure our OFI response time, targeting 100% feedback completed within 45 days.  We have also created a new Near Miss Reporting form that can be found in various locations throughout the facility and is used by stakeholders to report any near miss incident.

Our most recent application for the Cargill Business Excellence Award was in 2010.  With a detailed and concise application and a well-organized site visit, we achieved our goal and won the 2010 Cargill Chairman’s Award for Business Excellence.  The site verification team highlighted our strengths including: clear vision for the business, systematic approach to communicating and engaging the workforce, strategic business planning that’s coordinated with the customer and other Cargill businesses, well deployed two-way customer focus communication, systematic and aligned approach to collect data for overall organizational performance, and systematic process to review the key processes annually.  Our greatest opportunity that was identified was to have a more systematic approach towards measurement and analysis.  Since then, we have created an overall business balanced scorecard which defines the key work processes and their key measures clearly across all of our locations.  It is reviewed monthly and quarterly, and gives our senior leadership the ability to access the overall performance of the business.

In 2011, we completed external validations and continued building momentum with continuous improvement after and applied for the Canada Awards for Excellence.  Given the similarity of the Criteria, we were able to tell our excellence story very well in the application, which lead us to the site verification from the Excellence Canada team.  During the site visit, the verifiers were most impressed with our stakeholders.  Their focus on safety, food safety, customer focus, and continuous improvement was clearly and genuinely demonstrated.  We are very proud that we were awarded the Canada Awards for Excellence – Quality Award Gold Trophy.

In 2012, we received Cargill’s Chairman’s Award for Customer Focus, for consistently delivering savings to McDonald’s system and significantly increasing sales over the past 10 years; and also for new product innovations, store innovations, and collaborating with McDonald’s Canada on brand transparency initiatives, which generated significant brand health metric improvements for McDonald’s.

Since we received the Gold Trophy in Quality 3 years ago from Excellence Canada, we applied for the highest honour awarded by Excellence Canada, the Order of Excellence Award. Through the application and site verification process, we demonstrated that Business Excellence and Continuous Improvement remain critical aspects of how we operate our business each day...  During our most recent site visit, the verifiers were again impressed by our stakeholders’ engagement around safety, animal welfare, food safety, and customer focus.  We are extremely proud that we successfully achieved the Order of Excellence Award.