Janet Hynes usually walks through the doors of the Icewater Seafoods plant in Arnold’s Cove around 6:45 a.m. Although day-shift production begins at 7:30 a.m., Janet arrives early to check in with production to see which customer has ordered the day’s fish. Before a single codfish enters the processing line at the plant, the company knows the customer who ordered it, and how they want to receive it. For example, a UK customer might want the tail cut shorter, while a French customer might want the portion cut longer. It’s Janet’s job to make sure the technology, and the people, know what that order is, and the plant is ready to deliver on it flawlessly. Janet does this by programming the intelligent portioning machines (IPM) on the production floor. There are only 2 IPM machines for cod in the province and both are in the Arnold’s Cove plant.
Once work begins, those portioning machines scan and weigh each fillet of the fish, then determine where to cut based on the weight, length, and daily order specifications, before sending it along the belt to the trimming line. On that line, 16 employees work, inspecting every piece of fish, removing imperfections, maximizing the quality of the fillet and the overall yield. It’s those 16 employees that largely determine how much of the flesh of the fish is used for premium markets.
Janet has spent most of her 32 years at the plant on that trimming line. She laughs and says, “people say I was good at it. If the company was aiming for a 90 percent yield, I was aiming for 92. I know how important yield is to the success of the whole plant.”
In 2018, she was promoted to the position of Trimmer Coach, a Quality Control position that oversees and inspects the work of all the trimmers. The flow line selects samples of trimmers work, which Janet checks and records on her work station computer. She coaches her team on trimming skills by the day, and by the hour.
Janet has worked at the plant for 32 years, and her role is critical to the success of its operations. But what makes Janet a valued employee goes beyond her trimming and interpersonal skills. She has worked in the cod-only plant through a 26+ year moratorium and has seen the innovation, the technology, and the commitment to quality that has kept it operating against all odds. Janet also lives in Arnold’s Cove. She knows how important the town and people of Arnold’s Cove are to the company. Her son works there, and so does her sister. Her husband has worked in the plant in the past. She knows it’s a community business, a family business, and she’s committed to continuing to do her part to protect local jobs by delivering quality products to customers around the world.