Clean Control | Front Line Leader Training, Plant Layout
In 1980, Steve Davison wanted to create a concentrated cleaner to compete for government contracts. Along with a chemist friend of his, who is now the director of research and development for Clean Control, Davison and his friend began experimenting, mixing chemicals in Davison’s bathtub. Today, the company, which is based in Warner Robins, employs 100 people, three in research and development, four chemists, and one microbiologist, allowing them to continue experimenting with new chemical combinations, but in a more controlled environment.
Michelle Bowen, CFO/General Manager, said, “I’ve been at Clean Control for 17 years and we have a lot of team members that have also been here a long time. As a management team, we felt it was important for everyone to understand how they fit into the larger team and the importance of working together.” To assist with this, she called Hank Hobbs, project manager with the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech, to conduct a series of three classes on front line leadership.
Additionally Bowen and the team were expanding their space, adding 51,000 square feet to the facility and worked with Hobbs, Alan Barfoot, GaMEP central region manager, and other members of the GaMEP team on expansion planning and just-in-time manufacturing, helping to better prepare for the growth.
For front line leadership, Hobbs taught three sessions, to 12 people each, training 36 of the team members. During these sessions he focused on communication, conflict resolution, diversity awareness, problem solving, job instruction, and much more. At the end of the training, he gave each group a project, including the budget, where they had to develop a company outing. Each person had an active role within the project and began working more closely with people in other departments. Since the training, Clean Control has continued to implement these working groups, changing up the team, allowing people to get to know one another. As a result the communication lines are more open and the teams radio each other throughout the day, asking questions and brainstorming ideas.
For the plant expansion, Clean Control extended their business into shipping direct to online customers. In just a few short years, the business has grown three times as large as it was and they knew they needed to expand their facility, streamline their processes, and get their packages out more efficiently. They worked with Barfoot and his team to develop CAD drawings for the facility, helping to map out the expansion, including new storage capacity and racking configurations. They also examined how to change their conveyer layout, so that they were able to pack up and ship out the new demand with the same number of team members.
By looking at how their facility was laid out, they also discovered that they were storing an excessive amount of pallets on their production floor. They couldn’t lose the pallets because their shipments are required to go on them, so instead they asked the company to drop a truck with pallets outside their facility, giving them back 100 percent of the floor space. With the expansion, they also plan to buy one large mixing tank, reducing the number of small batches they mix daily, but also freeing up equipment for future products.
Since beginning their work with the GaMEP, Clean Control was able to:
- Train 36 of their team members on front line leadership, improving communication within the plant
- Return 100 percent of the production space by moving their storage of pallets
- Plan for the purchase of a larger tank to reduce mixing from 3-4 batches a day to one batch
- Reuse the smaller mixers for new products and formulas
- Reduced inventory from 2 truckloads of bottles at start of month to what is needed at delivery
- Changed their conveyer layout to conduct 3 times the business with the same amount of people
Bowen said, “We’ve worked with the GaMEP for years and as we grow, they continue to support us in our efforts.”