Beverage-Air is dedicated to being a leading provider of a wide-range of commercial refrigeration equipment to the food service industry. Headquartered in Winston Salem, North Carolina, their manufacturing facility is located in Brookville, PA. The Brookville location employs approximately 420 employees typically working 10-hour shifts, Monday through Thursday, with some Friday overtime required depending on customer demand.
Beverage-Air is committed to promoting an environment conducive to continuous improvement and this applies to their employee development methodology as well. In the past, team members attended boilerplate style supervisory training classes and executive leadership worked on changing habits and developing middle management on an ad-hoc
basis. While improvements were made, they wanted to prioritize their focus on the Team Leaders in the Assembly Department who faced various challenges, including:
- Assimilating new people onto their teams
- Getting team members to engage and respond
- Time management and holding employees accountable
- Communication skills
The risks of not effectively addressing these challenges include a low retention rate of new employees and an overall lack of productivity due to poor communication skills and time management.
NWIRC’s Employee Development Specialist recommended an onsite 6-week Team Lead training program that focused on communication skills, high-level problem solving, taking ownership, time management and team building. Based on NWIRC’s experience with similar companies, spreading the program over smaller weekly sessions versus delivering the program in a few consecutive days allowed the Beverage-Air Team Leaders time to take the relevant classroom examples, exercises and activities into the real world between sessions with follow-up and lessons learned discussions occurring at the following session.
Beverage-Air states the outcome of this training has been increased Team Leader engagement and effectiveness. The subsequent increase in manufacturing productivity shows improved Assembly Line communication, teamwork and
understanding impacts the bottom line. The company is planning a subsequent employee development project with NWIRC focused on a manufacturing element that is common across all of their assembly lines involving parallel processes that merge together into a single flow. The goal will be to develop a holistic teamwork approach that maximizes the Team’s total productivity versus Team Members concentrating solely on ‘their job.’