Kern Meat Co., Inc.
Location: Bridgeton, MO
Industry: Meat Processing
*SECOND YEAR HONOREE*
Matt Sherman uses the skills he learned as a trained historian and researcher to solve complex problems in business as the general manager of Kern Meat Co., Inc.
“I approach complex problems using the same method as approaching a historical problem: discard implicit assumptions, unpack the data, analyze the sources or data by component parts, evaluate each individual source individually, draft a theory and then test that theory through practice,” he said.
For 75 years, Kern Meat Company has provided the St. Louis metropolitan area and the Midwest with meat products sourced from companies committed to humane handling practices. It works closely with local farmers and ranchers to showcase Missouri’s agricultural heritage and preserve natural resources.
Under Sherman’s leadership, Kern Meat Company follows five core principles:
Produce only the highest quality meat products.
Source products from the best regions and from reputable companies that are committed to humane handling practices.
Work closely with local farmers and ranchers to showcase Missouri’s rich agricultural heritage and preserve our precious natural resources.
Provide outstanding service to our customers.
Treat our employees as members of our family.
To address the labor shortage issues facing businesses across the country, Kern implemented semi-automation and automation techniques that have increased production by 20% without hiring more staff. It also reduced human error by adding new technologies to help production, shipping and receiving.
Part of Kern’s culture is gathering on Fridays for a “family meal” together. Sometimes, Sherman cooks the meals, and employees relax and talk in a setting where it’s easier to be comfortable and be honest.
Sherman said he has also prioritized mentorship within the staff at Kern Meat Company.
“This has been a challenging two years for everyone in so many ways,” Sherman said. “When asked how many people work for me, ‘No one works for me. We work together. They work with me’ promotes a culture of teamwork, improvement and collaboration. Whether during the employee interview process or conversing, it sets a precedent that we all work together.
“All employees, whether in sales, shipping, production, office or warehouse, can walk through my door and ask anything, and I will guide them happily to see their success. Their success is company success.”
Sherman serves on the ACF Chefs de Cuisine Governing Board and is a board member of the St. Louis Chefs de Cuisine Educational Foundation.
The greatest thing that has come out of this has been ability to network and share ideas, especially these last two years stuck at home or office, Titan 100 offers opportunity to network and collaborate. We try to find our own answers but we don t always have solutions and we can lean on the Titan network to come up with other creative ideas, from taxes to banking to shipping and receiving, we all generally face the same issues on a daily basis and we all share same problems and we can find solutions together.