Operational Excellence Advocate: Ken Neishi

We would like to recognize and introduce Ken Neishi as a partner and advocate for business transformation and operational excellence. He has worked in the food industry for over 40 years holding a variety of executive positions with some of the best-known food brands. Ken served as the Vice President of Operations for over 16 years among a variety of companies including Michael Foods, Columbus Manufacturing, Bioplex Nutrition, and Boyds Coffee Company.


Ken currently serves as the Vice President of Operations at Boyds Coffee Company where he is responsible for manufacturing, engineering, maintenance, product development, supply chain planning, and purchasing of supplies for optimum company success. In 2017, he led the company through a substantial transformation when the company was sold to Farmer Bros. Coffee. This resulted in the successful integration of all company assets into Farmer Bros Coffee for new operations.


During his time as Vice President of Operations for Columbus Manufacturing between 2008 and 2015, he managed three different manufacturing plants where he implemented new tactical strategies for Copack operations, QA, Engineering, Maintenance, Product Development, and Technical Services. He successfully led the transition of moving the Deli processing from internal plants to a copacker which resulted in a 50% SSF plant shutdown and executed a smooth transition plan for 65 employees. In 2011, Ken implanted his plan for a startup of a meat slice plant that efficiently remained on time, in budget, and generated over $30 million.


"Assess the leadership capabilities within your organization. That needs to be from the very beginning. Don't just walk in there and think that you have a process or a written process in a book and hand it out to everybody. You make sure that you assess the leaders that report to you. Understand their strengths and weaknesses."

Interview with Ken Nei shi, Vice President of Operations sponsored by the Leadership and Transformation Podcast



During his time as Chief Operating Officer for Vitalus Nutrition, he managed three manufacturing plants located in the US, Canada, and Argentina. In this role, he led a $4.5 million milk protein concentrate line that transformed how milk was processed. It enabled a capacity to produce 30 million liters of milk per year that resulted in milk protein concentrate (MPC) 70 and MPC 80.


During his time as Vice President of Operations for MG Waldbaum Company, a division of Michael Foods, INC, he guided a production startup of a $20 million dried eggw facility that produced 20 million pounds of product with the state of the art technology, supporting rapid growth for the dried egg business over the next decade. As this facility was growing, he simultaneously led a $20 million plant expansion which increased production capacity for precooked products. At this point in time, precooked product was the fastest growing product category in his company's portfolio, making Ken an extraordinary leader for his company.


He earned his bachelor's degree in Food Science and Technology from the University of California and has been involved in several other impactful transformations of workplace practices and culture change which all led to successful bottom-line improvements.



We are proud to support Ken in his future endeavors and excited to share powerful leadership tools from his career experiences! Take a listen to his podcast, “How to Transform a Business into a World-Class Success ” sponsored by the Leadership and Transformation Podcast for more information.


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