Case Study

Buckhead Beef Drives Safety And Efficiency With Food Training Courses

Packaged Meat

About Buckhead Beef

Buckhead Beef, a SYSCO company, is the premier “Center of the Plate” purveyor of portion control cut steaks. The company stocks one of the largest inventories of dry aged USDA Prime and Certified Angus Beef in the U.S. In addition to a fully autonomous sales and distribution operation, Buckhead Beef is responsible for the meat procurement and supply of premium cut steaks for several SYSCO companies.

The Challenge

As a leading supplier of protein, Buckhead Beef seeks to implement consistent safety practices across its operation. Buckhead held weekly meetings with employees to discuss safety, but the meetings were not effective in building a culture of safety. “The meetings basically consisted of a team leader reading from a canned ten minute message,” says Brye Wiskman, Risk Manager. The company was not confident that every employee mastered the safety topic.

According to Wiskman, “One of our staff members got her hand caught in a machine. Our investigation found the safety interlocks were not working and she was operating the machine with the guard raised. We immediately knew we had to implement procedures to inspect the safety interlocks on a daily basis and retrain everyone on machine guarding.” Wiskman needed the ability to quickly train 400+ people at two locations.

Wiskman needed the ability to quickly train 400+ people at two locations. Additionally, Buckhead had no consistent training in place for onboarding and refresher training to ensure employees understood their role in supporting a culture of safety. “We are a state-of-the-art facility and our employees deserve the best training,” Wiskman says. To achieve this, Buckhead needed a way to engage with their diverse workforce while bridging generation gaps, language barriers, and learning styles.

The Solution

Buckhead Beef turned to Alchemy to provide a comprehensive training platform. Over three million workers at 50,000 locations use Alchemy’s training, coaching, and reinforcement solutions to reduce workplace injuries, safeguard food, and improve operations.

Buckhead implemented Alchemy programs to build both the knowledge and confidence employees need to consistently work at expert proficiency. A new approach to classroom training incorporated interactive remotes, gamification, and quizzes to engage employees and test comprehension. All responses are recorded and securely stored electronically for 24/7 audit-readiness.

Buckhead Beef incorporated Alchemy into the weekly safety meetings to verify employee comprehension on the spot and schedule remediation accordingly. Buckhead used Alchemy “lightning rounds” to create friendly competition among employees. Winning the lightning rounds demonstrated employees’ knowledge of concepts while creating a culture of accountability among the employees for the safety of one another and the quality of their product.

Additionally, Alchemy’s flexible platform enabled Wiskman to incorporate her own material in response to the worker injury. “I created a presentation with video of the machine, pictures of the scene, and dialog detailing what happened and how we will prevent it from happening again. By the end of the week, all 400 employees were trained to inspect the safety interlocks daily,” says Wiskman.

Buckhead supplemented the Alchemy courseware with additional company-specific content and began using the Alchemy platform for new hire orientation.

The Result

Instead of a one-off reactive approach to mitigating risk, Buckhead was able to take a proactive approach to maintaining a culture of safety and quality. Wiskman values the agility of the Alchemy system, “One supervisor who saw an increase in back injuries in her department used Alchemy to quickly retrain her entire crew.” The ability to quickly respond to incidents like this enabled Buckhead to mitigate risks and manage their recordable incident rate.

By engaging their diverse workforce, Buckhead was able to ensure that frontline employees understood their role in the process. “I know that each safety meeting is delivered the same and every employee is being trained exactly alike,” Wiskman reports. “My employees retain more of the information with Alchemy’s program.”

Wiskman estimates that the automated record keeping functions of the Alchemy platform frees up about 400 hours each year since she no longer has to manage training documentation and audit preparation. She can use the additional hours for higher value initiatives like supporting supervisors in coaching workers on initiatives that drive productivity.

With automated testing and verification, she can now rest assured that each employee understands their role in actively shaping the culture of safety at Buckhead. “Each week I run reports and tell each supervisor who has to make-up last week’s meeting. No one can slip through the cracks, and we will easily pass our operations audit,” Wiskman says.