As consumers, we rarely consider the time and dedication that goes into the products we purchase. Especially with treats like candy, we take for granted all the steps taken to ensure each item is as delicious as the last—let alone packaged properly. American Licorice Company’s team of production associates cover all the bases when it comes to quality, efficiency, and integrity of their product.
The packaging that encases Red Vines and Sour Punch candies—American Licorice Co.'s landmark products—is instantly recognizable to many shoppers. Production team members like Senior Plant Operations Manager Josh Griffin and Assistant Plant Operations Manager Scott Klosowski work hard behind the scenes to make sure that packaging is as clean and recognizable as ever, and that’s just one of the many aspects of their workday.
“Production associates have multiple responsibilities. The team is assigned positions on three different lines and rotate positions every hour. These positions consist of packing products into boxes, jars, or bags, palletizing finished goods boxes, or operating packaging machines,” Griffin said.
“The production associates’ main responsibility is to ensure our product is produced in a timely fashion and to the quality standard that we guarantee to our customers,” Klosowski said.
Starting from the kitchen, where batches of product are created, production team leaders then follow the batch closely to guarantee American Licorice delivers their product consistently with each order. The packaging team makes certain the packages are filled to the exact weight the company declares and that the product looks presentable to sit on store shelves.
“The team is also responsible for our strategic priorities—Safety, Quality, Engagement, Delivery, Profit—to ensure we are meeting our corporate goals from a manufacturing standpoint,” Griffin added.
Production associates are also tasked with carrying out American Licorice’s core values of Integrity, Compassion, Engaged, and Teamwork to create a strong culture built around happiness. Both Griffin and Klosowski were drawn to the positive and community-based ethics that American Licorice Company fosters.
“The efforts of American Licorice Company to invest in happiness through the community, environment, and people are all ways that the company is enhancing Northwest Indiana,” Griffin said. “The many charitable events, donations, sponsorships, and volunteer activities improve our local community. The efforts to become a zero-waste company, reduce our carbon footprint, and offset our carbon emissions are all ways to help the environment.”
Griffin said the company also does an excellent job of investing in the individual and people, particularly when it comes to his department.
“Through tuition reimbursement, Ivy Tech courses for certified production technicians, and maintenance apprenticeship programs for production associates, the company is striving to educate and change the lives of those within the company to pursue potential opportunities within our community,” he said.
Griffin himself has benefited from such opportunities, and the trust corporate management places in him.
“My position creates different opportunities every day. It has also provided me the opportunity to teach, train, and coach those around me while pursuing my own personal growth,” he said. “Recently, the company allowed me to go to Japan for an incredible learning opportunity as well as tuition reimbursement to finish my master’s degree.”
Griffin has worked with American Licorice Co. for 13 years.
“I’m drawn to the company by the incredible efforts that ownership has made over the years to make American Licorice an employer of choice,” he said. “There are many benefits American Licorice provides that other local companies have yet to pursue. It’s also nice knowing that those who own the company are working right next to you to help every step of the way.”
Klosowski had no previous experience in factory work when a friend recommended American Licorice to him for its friendly environment. Now, he’s been employed for seven years.
“We are one of the most generous companies in this area,” he said. “The benefits our associates receive are incredible; Not only are there great health benefits, but we also gain sharing and incentives for the associates when they hit the scrap goal and the safety goal of no OSHA recordable injuries.”
“My favorite aspect of my job is the satisfaction I receive when the team hits a goal, or when we are able to problem solve an ongoing issue and it benefits the team in a positive way,” Klosowski continued. “Investing in Happiness is our mission statement, and my job is to not only ensure the company meets its delivery goal, but to also to make sure my team is happy in doing so.”
The empowering and encouraging management style that Griffin and Klosowski have embraced trickles down from American Licorice Co. owners. Everyone in the company feels it.
“This company is not just owned by a family, it treats its employees as part of the family,” Kolsowski said. “The people who work here are not just a number, they are treated as unique individuals with feelings and emotions. The chief operating officer will actually go to the orientations for new hires to give them the expectations the company has for them. I don’t know many other companies that give you access to the highest authority, where you can actually form a working relationship with them.”
“American Licorice Company takes great pride in working with individuals to improve not only their professional lives, but also their personal lives,” Griffin said. “This is one of the few companies that I know that truly work toward creating a culture where everyone is family.”
To learn more about American Licorice Company, visit https://shop.americanlicorice.com/.