A Baker’s Dozen and Then Some
Edward Mafoud, President “ITAC is playing a vital role as Damascus continues to grow. Our employees can see career paths, communication is much better and our internal HR and training processes have improved greatly thanks to ITAC’s work. We appreciate all of the work ITAC has done for us and look forward to continuing to partner with them.”
Damascus Bakery Inc. produces various types of flat breads in Brooklyn, NY. They currently employ approximately 100 people in their Brooklyn facility. ITAC has done projects involving Manufacturing Systems, Human Resources and other endeavors since then.
Damascus decided to centralize and formalize their Human Resources function and internal communication systems. The principals wanted to grow employees from within as much as possible, and to become an internal training organization – one where all employees would be able to grow and develop along set career ladders or help to create new ones. They asked ITAC to assist them with these workforce initiatives.
To help Damascus formalize their HR function, ITAC’s Human Resources Consultant served as an interim HR director for Damascus. ITAC began by creating structure to the company’s policies and procedures with the end goal to hire the right HR manager. As part of this makeover, ITAC helped Damascus create job descriptions for key positions, institutionalize goal setting, and set up an employee recognition program.
ITAC’s work with Damascus also encompassed several continuous improvement initiatives. To ensure that the principles employees learned were carried forward, Damascus wanted to formalize a system for communicating new ideas and project updates. ITAC worked with Damascus to implement continuous improvement practices and used Innovation Engineering tools to nurture the process and move projects toward completion. ITAC trained managers and employees in intra-organizational communication including setting up and leading continuous improvement teams, meeting skills, and prioritizing projects.
During this time, Damascus has experienced tremendous growth. This growth spurred the company to add a second location in New Jersey. In order to keep policies consistent, to ensure compliance at both locations and continued growth, it was necessary to formalize human resources policies and procedures and teach them the tools to sustain their continuous improvement practice. ITAC referred Damascus to NJMEP and we are working together on a cross-training program.
ITAC’s work to formalize the Human Resources function and intra-organizational communication training were two steps to help Damascus realize its vision to become an internal training organization. With the addition of its second location and to sustain growth, these practices became even more necessary. In 2013, Damascus Bakery Inc. reported a total economic impact of $3MM, 20 new jobs and 10 retained jobs as a result of their work with ITAC.