June 22, 2023
Darren Estrada is a shift supervisor at Dot’s Pretzels in Edgerton, Kansas. Dot’s Pretzels is a family-owned business based in North Dakota with bakeries in Arizona and Kansas. Darren has been chosen for our June Frontline MVP Spotlight because of his work ethic, drive to succeed, and innovation in process and production.
He’s a very hard worker, he’s shown our team a lot, and he’s always willing to get in and help out when he needs to.Randy Kruse | Senior Business Development Manager, Dot’s Pretzels
Darren came to Dot’s Pretzels as a temporary employee. He volunteered to move to the new Edgerton, Kansas facility, which opened in November 2020. He was hired as a full-time employee and stepped up to help set up and launch operations in the new facility.
Management soon learned that when something needed to be done, Darren was ready to help. Darren learned everything he could about the equipment and processes at the plant and was one of the early adopters of QAD Redzone. His hard work, skill, and great attitude led to more responsibilities and a promotion to lead on the D shift, followed by a promotion to supervisor on a brand new line on the A shift, a mere 18 months after he joined the company.
This dedication, teamwork, and leadership also led to Darren winning the 2022 Redzone Frontline MVP of the Year Award. Read on to learn some of the values he demonstrates at Dot’s Pretzels.
While on the D shift, Darren used QAD Redzone huddles with his team to improve productivity. They used QAD Redzone to track production, identify opportunities for efficiency, report any machine issues on the line, and keep other teams informed.
During his six months on that shift, they had about a 60% gain in productivity improvement and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). After his promotion to supervisor on the A shift, they saw a 25% improvement in OEE in the first two months.
Darren has a passion for improving himself and his teammates. He initially came to Dot’s because it was a smaller company, yet had room for advancement. He’s self-driven and brings his passion for excellence to everything he does. He strives for constant improvement, knowing that all growth benefits his team and the company.
Darren is always ready to volunteer for whatever is needed, whether it’s completing a task for his manager, learning new QAD Redzone tools, or helping a struggling team member master a process. If he sees something that needs to be done, he’s ready to give it 110%.
With a natural leadership style that encourages others to follow, Darren is dedicated to helping his coworkers grow. He’s focused on helping his team reach their goals, while also stretching toward his own.
Darren is passionate about learning new skills and teaching them to others. He feels the more he knows, the more he can help his coworkers, ultimately setting them up for success. Always on the lookout for ways to encourage his teammates’ growth, he will happily come in on a day off to train a teammate on a new process.
He’s passionate about teaching … about good quality, good service, and taking care of his people.Angie Riggs Martin | Continuous Improvement Manager, Dot’s Pretzels
After management adopted QAD Redzone, Darren was 100% on board. Though he hadn’t seen the technology before, he embraced the tool as a way for his team to engage and grow. Darren was the first to learn it and shared it with his team to improve training and communication. He now has his tablet ready so he knows what’s happening at any given moment.
When Dot’s Pretzels announced they were opening a new facility in Edgerton and needed help, though still a temp, Darren volunteered to be on the team. He was rewarded with a full-time position and threw himself into the move and set-up, even before a single pretzel came off the line.
Once at the Edgerton facility, Darren took the initiative to ask questions and learn everything he could about the equipment. He wanted to better understand how the machines worked and what caused them to go down, so he could troubleshoot issues.
Darren has advanced quickly at Dot’s Pretzels. In less than two years after his first temp position, he was promoted to lead on the D shift, then supervisor of a brand new line on the A shift.
Both his coworkers and management at Dot’s Pretzels praise him as a natural leader and teacher who’s respectful to everyone on the team.
Darren received the 2022 Redzone Frontline Worker MVP of the Year award for his commitment to improving productivity and growth in the company, his coworkers, and himself.
Darren would like to take his passion for growth out on the road. He envisions traveling to other plants and training people in process improvement, so the company can continue to grow.
Congratulations to Darren for his recognition as the June Frontline MVP Spotlight, and for receiving the 2022 Redzone Frontline MVP of the Year Award.