Ashton Deroy writes: Maybe it took more time than I would of liked, but I finally got an assignment out of my Social Responsibility & Sustainability class that I am proud to put on my blog. This was graded 20/20. Partially this high quality work comes from finally getting on the same page as my Professor. However, partially this proposal contains things I had always wanted to talk about in regards to my experience in working for Hawkin’s Cheezies. Let me continue from here saying that all my blogs are posted as conversational pieces. This also just happens to be a portfolio piece.
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Hawkin’s Cheezies is a Belleville born company that is in the business of manufacturing fast food Cheezie products. From my family, to just about anyone in Belleville. Hawkin’s Cheezies creates some of our town’s favorite treats. Hawkin’s Cheezies was founded in 1952 by W.T. Hawkins and Jim Marker. It is a locally owned company, that does not trade on a public stock exchange. The company has a revenue of $26.9M, and 175 employees hired through their human resources partner ManPower.
Current sustainability efforts:
The company outlines no Sustainability efforts for ecological sustainability or Social responsibility. The company meets the legal standards set by Canadian Labor laws & uses their own set of values for their corporate culture. In order to talk about the culture of this company I will use phrases the company they themselves use to talk about their workplace culture. This way you can get a deep personal look at what makes this company so unique and valuable to the community within Belleville Ontario.
Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) – Meaning the company earns within 10 million to 1 billion a year in revenue. The company also has under 500 employees. The company self-describes themselves as a Medium Enterprise with small business culture. This is referring to their individual relationship with employees & the way their team works like a family.
Family time – This company recognizes Friday, Saturday & Sunday as family time. Therefore the company does not book employees to work on these days. Rather there is a culture of encouraging employees to spend time with their loved ones & rest up for work. This is what has made the job sustainable for years of employment for many of the employees & students.
Lean Manufacturing – The company manufactures products to fulfil actual customer orders. If the company does have orders to fill, then they cut the amount of labor hours they utilize for manufacturing. They do not implement a level manufacturing strategy that requires a consistent output that don’t fulfil the needs of the customers. The company takes waste seriously in the sense where they don’t intend to produce more than they can sell.
We care about worker success – This is not a cliche the company uses to boost their company profile. Hawin’s Cheesies puts in effort to ensure employees have long term relationships with the company & so that they grind out their skills
Sustainability audits – The company has no UN pacts & no sustainability goals. There is no process of internal or external audits in regards to sustainability. Just the legal audits associated with running a safe factory. They do tag out lock out procedures. They count days without workplace injuries, which was at 100 days communicated internally last I heard.
Willard’s 5 stage journey
- Pre-Compliance – The company meets the legal standards required for food manufacturing set by the province & municipality.
- Regulatory enforcement – This company meets the bare minimum requirements as legally required. They pay employees minimum wage, they get the Provincial standard for sick days. They handle their garbage disposal legally with the use of a commercial dump. They also transport their recyclable waste to a recycling plant at the end of operation days.
- Beyond compliance – This company is not at Beyond compliance.
- Integrated strategy – There is no integrated strategy for sustainability.
- Purpose & Passion – “We believe that people, our managers, our permanent staff, our temporaries and our students represent the brick and mortar of our company. It is through people producing the finest quality product available, we will continue to forge our future. We will always recognize that our customers are the vital key to our future. We are obligated to our customers to deliver the finest and we have promised to do so in full measure.” Hawkins Cheezies mission statement.
Hawkin’s cheesies is a work in progress as far as sustainability goes. Even for a Small & medium enterprise, there is a lot more Hawkins Cheezies could be doing for the efforts of Sustainability. This document summarizes personally conducted research as well as a bit about the culture. This company is not an early adopter for sustainability, it is not even in the early or late majority. This company is a Sustainability laggard.
Due to the fact the company is a laggard in switching to sustainable models of business. That means there are large quantity of changes that would need to be made in order to bring this company up to a modern compliance for a sustainable business. The most practical place to start for implementing sustainable practice is to eliminate plastic waste from production. I am talking about replacing the iconic plastic Hawkins Cheezies bags, with a sustainable product packaging. Secondly I would try to dedicate 25 working hours to humanitarian causes & lastly I would recommend calling out sexist language in the workplace.
The biggest issue in all the sustainability problems related to Hawkin’s Cheezies is by far the plastic bags. I would estimate the factory disposed of 180 gallons of defective plastic product bags a day. Then besides that there are the bags being bought by commercial and residential customers. There are reusable snack bags that could be just as effective for the company & could be re-used by the customers long after purchase. Use of these bags could both eliminate waste & replace a considerably resource wasting production process.
The company could also work to dedicate 25 hours a year to humanitarian causes. Right now Belleville Ontario needs help. The city has a growing percentage of homeless people, people suffering from hard to treat health conditions & elderly with lack of access to care. Any number of these causes could be taken on by Hawkin’s Cheezies and create a positive difference in the city of Belleville Ontario that would be felt in a massive way.
The last part I am ashamed to admit, but it is true. There is a major problem with sexism in the workplace at Hawkin’s Cheezies. The company culture could be changed in a way that would work to call that kind of behavior out. For example, a colleague of mine while I was there was sexually harassed by one of our barrel lifting employees. This problem is a worthy problem for their company to tackle as it does not just affect the interpersonal nature of employee relationships though. At Hawkin’s Cheezies they did not hire female barrel lifters simply because it was the company’s attitude that women are not strong enough to repeat the process of lifting 50 pound barrels for repeat execution. I am from a family where a lot of female relatives happen to serve in the forces, where they do this kind of lifting all the time. I think it is a massive waste of potential talent to dismiss women in their ability to lift heavy objects. Plus the process of doing this can definitely make a case for workplace sexism.
Honestly it is not that surprising that a Small & Medium sized Enterprise within the small town of Belleville is not beyond Regulatory compliance in Sustainability policies. It is a cliche about the culture of these businesses in small towns. However the company has an opportunity to make massive changes that can have positive effects within the community. I think if they switched to a reusable snack bag it would save them a ton of money & eliminate waste with terrible ecological effects. Hawkin’s Cheezies could also dedicate 25 hours of manpower a year to humanitarian causes that the company feels are important to their culture. Hawkin’s Cheezies should start to call out sexist behavior both in the workplace & around the community. It is time to make Belleville a more pleasant place for people of all genders and sexes to live.