OpEx Spotlight: Sean Brady, Continuous Improvement Engineer, T. Marzetti Company

At the Center for Operational Excellence, we work alongside our members to foster a problem-solving culture that’s grounded in tried-and-true operational excellence tools, and that’s constant and far-reaching. One way we do that is by connecting industry executives, Fisher College of Business faculty, and our consortium of member companies. By learning from each other and accessing the resources Ohio State has to offer, member companies have the constant support needed to chart a path to excellence that builds resilience and adaptability in a rapidly changing world.

Our OpEx Spotlight series highlights members of our OpEx community and allows them to share their experiences and perspectives with continuous improvement, organizational change, operational excellence, supply chain, operations, and any niche they feel passionate about.

This spotlight highlights Sean Brady, Continuous Improvement Engineer at T. Marzetti Company. After graduating with a degree in Chemical Engineering from The Ohio State University in 2016, Sean started working at T. Marzetti as a Quality Assurance Analyst. Sean enrolled in Better Processing School at Ohio State in 2018 and received certification for acidified and canned foods for our caviar processing process. In August 2018, he enrolled in the T. Marzetti green belt program where he completed a SMED changeover project reducing average changeover time by 30%. In March 2019, he completed the T. Marzetti internal Preventative Control Qualified Individual (PCQI) course for our Food Safety program. He became a Continuous Improvement Engineer in 2019. He is currently enrolled in the T. Marzetti Black Belt Program, where he is be completing a project on a piston filler variance reduction. 

How did you get into this type of work? Why is it important to you?

In college, I had a small quality internship in my hometown but nothing related to my field of study. As a result, I was only qualified for a role in quality assurance after college. While in QA, my daily duties quickly became repetitive, and I wanted to grown and learn more. I found an opportunity to join our OpEx pillar and was introduced to one of our company's black belts.

After learning about his role and seeing the way he was able to help associates see things from a different perspective, I knew OpEx was where I wanted to be.

He did something different everyday, he utilized creative solutions to help solve problems at the plant, and he got to work on projects to help the company save money. 

Is there an area of topic within operational excellence that you’re most passionate about? If so, why?

Our continuous skills development pillar plays an important role. In the past, we survived through passed-on knowledge, but with that comes the telephone game effect where details may be omitted or misconstrued. Creating, introducing, and sustaining training materials that associates can use to perform standard work is a critical part of the OpEx journey at T. Marzetti.

What has been your greatest OpEx challenge?

My greatest OpEx challenge has come from the necessity of continuous follow-up to ensure the concepts and programs from our pillars are successful. Promoting accountability and process ownership at a union plant is challenging, but not impossible.

It is my job to help our associates understand the value of the work we are doing and sometimes that requires breaking old habits.

We have associates with different skill sets, backgrounds, education levels and native languages. Patience and persistence are key when implementing new concepts in any environment.

What advice do you have for other OpEx professionals?

Keep an open mind. Don't get yourself down because something didn't work the first time. Success does not come from being the smartest person in the room. Curiosity and persistence will always prevail.

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December 1, 2020 at 4:41 pm
Scott T Brady

So proud of you Sean, keep up the great work!

December 7, 2020 at 9:01 pm
Don Roy

Outstanding job Sean...it’s great having you on the team and seeing the fantastic results you’re delivering with the various teams. Appreciate you!