It has been an eventful year for Randall. As we worked to continue to safely work and produce beans throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the overwhelming demand for beans and other jarred products across the country made acquiring jars to meet our production demands about as difficult as it was to buy toilet paper in the month of March!
On top of it all, it was with a heavy heart that we mourned the passing of our longtime Tekonsha plant manager, Alan Copas, who was a huge part of the Randall family for a very long time.
But somehow we made it through (with our sanity relatively intact!) and a big reason for it was the efforts, innovation, and leadership of new Randall Beans plant manager, Derrick Himebaugh.
A native of Nevada, Derrick moved to Tekonsha a few years ago to be closer to family in Grand Rapids and soon found a job in the Randall warehouse. Hard work and determination soon brought Derrick up the food chain and the Randall plant and eventually put him in a position to overtake plant operations after the passing of our former plant manager.
Immediately after, the plant ran into its fair share of meeting production demands because of issues obtaining lids for our jars. So, we have Derrick unexpectedly coming into a new position, dealing with production issues, and navigating his way through the COVID-19 pandemic like everyone else. That is a lot for anyone to deal with, but Derrick welcomed his first child, a baby boy, into the world to top it all off!
Through chaotic times, Derrick proved to be steady and calm leadership.
“We ran into some issues early on, but we never got knocked down,” Derrick said. “Things were full steam ahead and it actually allowed us some opportunities to evaluate things in the factory and make some changes to our processes.”
Derrick came into the plant with a clean slate and said he spent much of his time early on trying to observe and learn as much as possible about the plant’s processes and the way things were done.
During that time, he realized there were some processes done in the factory that were perhaps a little antiquated and kept around simply because it was the way they were always done. Derrick saw room for improvement.
“The goal never changed: we want to make the best beans for our customers possible,” he said. “Things had always been done a certain way and we saw areas we could improve while continuing to meet our goal.”
Derrick brought in some new processes that added some new elements of automation, allowing for certain things to be done faster or smoother than before. These improvements also opened up people filling certain roles to be less occupied, allowing them to fill multiple roles at once while making the work easier.
That was a big priority for Derrick. People have always been at the heart of our Randall Beans plant. People are our best resource for ensuring the quality of the beans our fans love and no one wanted to sacrifice that.
“We didn’t want to automate everything,” he said. “We think we found a good balance of utilizing the attention to detail and quality that our hard working team has with the efficiency and speed that automation can provide.”
In the end of all this craziness, it feels like Randall is entering a whole new age! Derrick and our plant are supported by an outstanding team environment where everyone pitches in, does their share, and embraces the change.
But the process of making Randall better is ongoing. We will continue to improve our factory and processes to work toward delivering on that all important goal.
Taste them for yourself! The best cooks start with the best beans, and our beans are grown in American farms, packaged in an American plant in the Heartland, and can be found on the shelves of a store near you and ordered online!