Job Shadow

Since taking over as Chief Operating Officer of Silver Spring Foods, Robert K. Roemer increased profits every year, implemented metric tracking systems, and has guided the company to record high sales numbers; he is the focus of this job shadow.Robert Roemer in his office. © Michael Roemer

Robert Roemer in his office. © Michael Roemer

Bob came to Silver Spring Foods in 2011, from Curt Manufacturing, where we was the Chief Financial Officer. As CFO Bob was in charge of all the money the company had. Curt Manufacturing was sold in 2011, so Bob started looking for a new job and arrived at Silver Spring Foods. His first action as COO was hire some of his former employees from Curt to take over a struggling financial department at Silver Spring Foods. Only a couple years before the COO was caught stealing money from the company and his replacement the following year failed to turn a profit for the company at the end of the year.

“It was a mess,” Bob said when asked about the situation he walked into. “There was no accountability whatsoever and we did not even have spreadsheets and graphs tracking data on our employees until I brought the systems over from Curt.”

On the job shadow the first thing that was done was that Bob introduced me to the whole office. I knew a couple of the people from Curt but the owner recently moved to Eau Claire and Bob took me by his office and let me ask a few questions about the history and daily duties he faces as owner.

Bob informed me that Silver Spring was having their board meeting next week and one of the things that we would be doing on the job shadow was going over the financial report for 2015 and also the budget for the 2016 year that he would be presenting to the stakeholders of the company.

Roemer talking about his job title and duties.

Silver Spring Foods has put in place many systems that can track employee performance, inventory, production, and sales that they did not have five years ago. I was able to view the daily reports that are emailed to all front line supervisors so everybody is kept in the loop as regards to the other departments in the company. This is important because the crew that is bottling the mustard or horseradish that is being produced should know when the product is ready to start packaging and how many people are needed on the line to package that product.

The day concluded when Bob took me on a tour of the warehouse. It was very clean and it might not be an exaggeration to say that you could eat off the floors! Each employee has to wear a hair/beard cap, lab coat, and safety glasses. What impressed me was that even with all that gear on, Bob said hello to every employee and addressed each person by name.

Overall I believe the job shadow went well. I learned a lot of things that I didn’t know before, and also realized that a lot of things that employees take for granted are that way because management has put in a lot of time and effort to make those things happen.

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