Caterpillar Shares Industry Best Practices in Operations & Innovation

DAELP X tour of CAT

DAELP participants visiting Caterpillar Building Construction Products (BCP) Visitors and Training Center in Clayton, NC

On Wednesday, February 6, the participants of the Depot and Arsenal Executive Leadership Program (DAELP) visited long-time IDB partner and sponsor, Caterpillar Building Construction Products (BCP) Visitors and Training Center in Clayton, NC.  This Center is the world source for Caterpillar small wheel loaders and is one of three campuses employing a total of 2,275 people in the Raleigh area.

A critical function of all IDB programs is bringing together members of the government, academia, and private sector organizations to share best practices in business operations, and innovative technologies and methodologies.

Caterpillar’s Commitment to World Class Safety, Manufacturing, and Profitability

After an introduction to Caterpillar, BCP’s General Manager Doug Petterson, Chief Finiancial Officer Doug McCallen, and  the DAELP class toured the Clayton facility K-series Small Wheel Loader line, hosted by Darwin Barton and Michael Bastin.  During the DAELP visit, the Clayton facility was producing  machines on 2 shifts. The line was a case study in teamwork and efficiency which was evident in every facet of the operation.  Cat Clayton’s innovative use of technology to control and sustain the production lines, culture of safety and employee engagement, as well as extensive training and use of cross functionally trained teams is essential to making the BCP Division production goals and has enabled the BCP Division and Clayton facility to contribute significantly to Caterpillar Corporate growth goals.  The management techniques employed by the BCP Division are readily apparent at the Clayton plant, and have enabled sustained production growth, profitability, and employment opportunities. Caterpillar’s commitment to the safety of their employees and facility, technology and process innovation, quality, and continuous improvement was demonstrated throughout the facility.

Following the plant benchmarking tour, Dwight Hendrickson, BCP Supply Chain Strategy Manager, Lisa McClymonds, Clayton Visitors  Center, Vic Baluis, the Clayton Facility Manager, Darwin Barton & Mike Bastin, Clayton Visitor Training, as well as BCP Clayton leaders from facilities management, logistics, manufacturing, and engineering sections discussed their business challenges and opportunities with the DAELP participants and explained their approach to employee engagement, business culture and continuous improvement within the Caterpillar Production System.  Significant management information was exchanged and discussed given the collective expertise and experience of the groups.  There was particular interest in Caterpillar’s performance management metrics and methodologies employed to achieve and sustain the positive culture and work environment evident within the facility.

Also, Mr. Darren Jones of Marine Depot Maintenance Command was able to assist the Clayton management with technical details and possible solutions for them to consider for improving the application of Chemical Agent Resistant Coatings for their DoD vehicle painting process.  The benchmarking event was a tremendous experience and information exchange for the DAELP class and we are very appreciative of the hospitality and professionalism extended to the program by the BCP Clayton team.

Wendy Laing with DAELP X

Wendy Laing of NC State University addressing DAELP class

But the collaboration did not stop here – in fact, it was just beginning.  We have the private sector; we have the government; now it’s time to bring in academia for a topic of great interest to both Caterpillar and DAELP. Wendy Laing, Manager of NC State University’s Industrial Extension Service Southeastern OSHA Training Institute Education Center (IES) addressed the group on the topics of industrial and occupational health and safety, investing in your organization, and OSHA Hazard Communication updates (OSHA). Most importantly, Wendy stressed that safety must become a habit and the importance of VPP (Voluntary Protection Program), North Carolina Star, and the Career Program 12 government safety and training initiatives.  Why is safety still so important today?  According to OSHA, 4,609 workers were killed on the job in 2011, the equivalent of 90 per week.

Laing showed examples of industry best practices with behavior safety based programs, noting that the most important aspects are:

  • Employee, management, and leadership participation
  • Worksite Analysis
  • Hazard prevention and control
  • Safety and health training

In addition to the DAELP participants, several members of the management team from Caterpillar’s Building Construction Products Division participated in the afternoon discussion. The visit to the Clayton facility was yet another example of the tremendous benefits gained by bringing together experts from government, academia, and the private sector to share best practices and to exchange of ideas and information for continuous improvement.  The IDB is deeply appreciative of the participation by the armed forces, Caterpillar and all of our corporate partners, and the Industrial Extension Service of North Carolina State University in our executive education programs.