Concrete Products

FEB 2018

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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52 • February 2018 www.concreteproducts.com CHAIRMAN'S REPORT BY NPCA STAFF LESS YELLING, MORE PRODUCTIVITY In addition to studying world-class companies to learn about lean manufacturing, Ashley Smith looks to them for examples of opera- tional excellence and retaining their people. "We've said for years that our turnover is too high but it's only in the last couple of years where we've started to measure it and do something about it," he says. "We found that 80 percent of the people leaving were going within the first 116 days. What it caused us to do is take a different look at how we hire and onboard. We've improved about 10 percentage points in the last year by being more deliberate about onboarding and making sure they're successful and trained properly." Increased retention has a variety of benefits, he adds: "You don't have to retrain people all the time. If we reduce turnover we're going to be a safer company. Quality is going to improve. Productivity is going to improve. It all ties together and reinforces. A people-oriented culture starts with safety." Smith-Midland has been focusing more intently on safety in the past five years, starting every management meeting and huddle with a review of the previous day. "We're really being intentional about making it a safe place to work," Smith affirms. "Our goal is zero recordable injuries. We're not there yet but we're working on it. When you're trying to make it more about the people who work here, the first thing is safety—both physically and emotionally. We want to make sure they don't get hurt, but also don't want them in an envi- ronment where they are constantly getting yelled at. In the old days, we had a lot of directives, a lot of yelling. And the result is you have a lot of people standing around waiting to be told what to do. That's just not going to work." Continued on pages 54, 57 Smith-Midland subsidiary East-Set Worldwide licenses production of namesake, all-precast restroom and storage buildings, shown below at Missouri's Echo Bluff State Park; and, the J-J-Hooks pin down safety barrier, protecting crews and motorists along a Virginia Route 29 overpass construction zone in Culpeper.

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