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Celebrate the Tribe: Breaking Records in June

Posted 07/14/17

Photo for Celebrate the Tribe: Breaking Records in June

Out of 18 total years working at The Ziegenfelder Company, Jeffrey Battles spent 15 of them in bitterly cold temperatures as a Freezer Tech.

“Working in the cold is the hardest part of the job,” said Battles, who is now a team lead. He explained the demand for frozen treats increases every summer. “I’m used to it. It’s about the same time every year. But now, it’s getting busier as we get bigger.”

The record breaking numbers from just the month of June supported Jeffrey’s claim that his team is working harder compared to past years. Out of Wheeling plant alone, the freezer team worked with the logistics department to ship 267 trucks. Plus, they unloaded another 72 incoming transfers.

They broke down those numbers even farther for the month of June. The total combined pallets moved on or off trucks from The Ziegenfelder Plant in Wheeling came out to 7,219 pallets. That meant they moved nearly a half million CASES. You wouldn’t need to move those cases yourself to know that’s a lot of Budget Saver frozen treats!

“It was all hands on deck,” said Eric Milhoan, Supply Chain Manager at The Ziegenfelder Company. “They really had to come together to accomplish this. Everyone from the supervisor, to the guys stacking boxes, to logistics, they were all back there picking orders.”

Milhoan went through the steps it takes to get a truck loaded with Budget Saver products once orders are requested through the company’s sales department. The logistics crew evaluates each order and coordinates the delivery with trucking companies all over the country. The freezer crew gathers up each product the day before a truck picks up the order. Once the truck arrives for the pick up, the truck is loaded as quickly, and as safely, as possible.

“Picking an order can take about an hour,” said Milhoan. “It’s a tough process in negative 20 degree temperatures. Then, these guys load a truck in 30 to 40 minutes. Trucking companies and drivers give us a lot of credit for that. If it’s not quick and fast, orders don’t get to customers on time.”  

Along with battling the freezing temperatures, the Zieggy Tribe also fights to find space for daily operations.

“We are capped with space,” explained Milhoan. “The freezer crew can’t get ahead. It’s all day-to-day because if they pick ahead they won’t have any space to put away freshly made products. Plus, there’s only two loading docks and no parking at the Wheeling plant.”

“It’s growing so fast,” said Michael Tenley, who began working at The Ziegenfelder Company as the Warehouse Supervisor. “The week before the Fourth of July is one of the busiest weeks.”

The numbers also supported that claim. Across all three Ziegenfelder plants in West Virginia, California and Colorado during the week of June 26 through July 3, the logistics and freezer teams shipped 154 total trucks carrying 3,539 pallets. That came to a total of 207,000 cases in just one week.

“Just think about it. You could be stacking 3,000 cases in one shift,” said Tenley. “That’s 30 pounds a case. Total, that’s 90,000 pounds a shift. They are lifting those with their hands and stacking on pallets. They spend two to three hours a time in negative 10 to 20 degree weather.”  

Tenley and Battles both offered the same piece of advice to freezer techs who are experiencing their first summer season at one of The Ziegenfelder Company plants. Each summer, mental preparation always resulted in success.

“I’m mentally prepared for it,” said Battles. “I always check with my guys when I see them to make sure everything is going alright. I explain each day how many trucks we’ll have. Then, I check the inventory. A lot! Because it can’t be off.”

“Keep working,” said Tenley. “Keep looking forward. Keep loading trucks.”


About Celebrate the Tribe: Celebrate the Tribe recognizes groups of employees or departments within The Ziegenfelder Company who live the company’s core values outlined in the Zieggy Essentials during challenging or stressful situations. To nominate a department or group, please email Kelly Greathouse at You can also submit nominations to the main office at each of The Ziegenfelder Company’s three plants.