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Newell Coach

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									        Newell Coach
        Miami, OK Manufacturing Luxury

Manufacturing Industry
Oklahoma Kids Mean Business::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >                    pg. 3
Sweet Home Oklahoma::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >                pg. 4-5
Lafarge Cement Plant:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >            pg. 6-7              – editor –
Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >                   pg. 8-9            Lydia Johnson
What Is Unique About Oklahoma Employment Laws? :::::::::::::::::: >                                   pg. 10-11
                                                                                                                       – contributors –
Muncie Power Products::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >              pg. 12-14
                                                                                                                        Cathy Reeder
A Winning Team With Local Drive ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >                   pg. 15            Chuck Greer
Moore’s Business Services Team :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >                   pg. 15           Jennifer Crowel
Newell Coach :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >       pg. 16-19           Jim Ross
                                                                                                                         Kym Koch
Superior Fabrication, Inc. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >           pg. 20
                                                                                                                        Lauren Clark
Oklahoma Hospital Association ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >                 pg. 20           Megan Juneau
Free Safety Consultation ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >            pg. 21            Mindy Koenig
South Central Oklahoma Workforce Investment Board::::::::::::::::: >                                  pg. 21           Cynthia Pulliam
Freightliner::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >   pg. 22-25           Tim Eisel
                                                                                                                         Bill Gerber
Made in Oklahoma :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >           pg. 26
                                                                                                                    Special thanks to Joe
Society for Human Resource Management::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >                            pg. 26         Epperley, Director of
From the Governor’s Council :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >                pg. 28        Communications, The
                                                                                                                    Oklahoma Alliance for
                                                                                                                   Manufacturing Excellence

                                                                                                                         – designer –
                                                                                                                          Joey Garrett

                                                                                                                  Business Crossroads is a
                                                                                                                  publication of the Public
                                                                                                                  Awareness and Outreach
                                                                                                                  Team of the Governor’s
                                                                                                                  Council for Workforce and
                                                                                                                  Economic Development
                                                                                                                  and is available at no
                                                                                                                  charge from Business
                                                                                                                  Services Team members
                                                                                                                  statewide. Electronic versions
                                                                                                                  are available at www.
                                                                                                                  well as contact information for
                                                                                                                  Business Services Teams.
                                                                                                                  All comments should
David Wheeler (left), a Manufacturing Extension Agent with the Oklahoma Manufacturing                             be directed to: Lydia
Alliance, and Terry May, President of Tulsa’s MESA Products.                                                      Johnson, Lydia_Johnson@
   For the past six years, Wheeler and the Alliance have helped MESA                                              Workforce Oklahoma and
coordinate and implement its business-quality programs. The effort recently                                       the Oklahoma Department
culminated when MESA earned the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National                                             of Commerce, as well as
                                                                                                                  all our partners, are Equal
Quality Award. The company was one of three recipients from across the                                            Opportunity Employers.
country. Mesa provides materials for cathodic protection systems that keep                                        Happy Birthday, Oklahoma!
things like oil and gas pipelines from rusting. In addition to making the                                         Business Crossroads was
company’s production more efficient through Lean Manufacturing, Wheeler                                           printed at a cost of $5,354, or
helped MESA improve quality in areas including leadership, strategic planning                                     $0.63 per copy. This document
                                                                                                                  is in the public domain.
and market focus.
2 business crossroads
OklahOma kids mean Business
    Junior Achievement’s Innovative        team-building. The classroom                   designed to maximize student skill
Exchange City Program is now               curriculum aligns with the Oklahoma            development.
available to students in Oklahoma          PASS objectives and reinforces math,         • Follow-up curriculum and
City. Exchange City is a nationally        technology, citizenship and language           evaluation tools.
recognized, innovative learning            arts skills learned in the classroom.         To get your school involved, please
program that provides elementary             • Provides students with a               contact April Bortmess, Exchange
students with an understanding of              memorable learning experience          City Director, Greater Oklahoma City,
basic economic concepts and personal           that reinforces skills taught          405-235-3399 ext.104 or
financial literacy while developing            within the classroom and a real
and reinforcing math, language arts            opportunity for career exploration.       There is a $30 per student
and citizenship skills. Students learn                                                fee. Junior Achievement works
                                             • Curriculum and program materials
first-hand what it takes to create                                                    in partnership with foundations,
                                               for each student.
a business, produce a newspaper,                                                      corporations, businesses and
supervise employees, hold an elected         • Training workshops and materials
                                               for both teachers and volunteers.      individuals to provide financial
office, and personally earn and                                                       assistance to schools in need. v
manage money. During their day               • A state of the art learning facility
at Exchange City, students become
citizens of a city that consists of 14
businesses including City Hall. Each
student has been hired for a specific
job that is crucial to the overall
success of the city.
    Since 1967, Junior Achievement of
Greater Oklahoma City has educated
Oklahoma’s youth about business,
economics and free enterprise to
improve the quality of their lives.
Through a dedicated volunteer
network, Junior Achievement
provides in-school and after-school
programs for students in grades K-12.
Junior Achievement offers educational
programs that focus on seven key
content areas: business, citizenship,
economics, entrepreneurship, ethics/
character, financial literacy and career
    Exchange City was specifically
designed to develop the skills of
4th, 5th and 6th grade students.
The Exchange City opportunity is
provided by Junior Achievement of
Greater Oklahoma City – serving
students in Central and Western
Oklahoma. The Oklahoma City
Location is the 2nd floor of the
Omniplex, 2100 NE 52nd Street.
    By participating in this unique,
experiential learning program, where
students learn by doing, students
experience first-hand responsibility,
leadership, decision-making and
                                                                                                        business crossroads 3
sweet hOme OklahOma

           he name is foreign, the   made accordingly. The company,           chocolate factory, Bedrè does it all
           flavors exotic, but the   an economic enterprise of the            from its sparkling clean and delicious
           products are purely       Chickasaw Nation, utilizes custom-       smelling candy plant in Pauls Valley.
           homemade right here in    made equipment from a variety of            Bedrè Chocolates, featured
Oklahoma.                            European manufacturers to effectively    nationwide in upscale shops and
    Bedrè, Norwegian for “better”,   and efficiently produce chocolate that   neighborhood creameries, transcends
is truly among the highest quality   literally melts in your mouth.           all socioeconomic distinctions for a
chocolates in the world, and is          And as Oklahoma’s largest            very simple reason – it tastes great.

4 business crossroads
    “We make our chocolates with             The increased production
a higher cocoa butter content,            capacity and room for
and without paraffin,” says Bedrè         future growth has expanded
Manager, Nic Carlsson. “That means        marketing efforts as well. Not
the chocolate actually melts at body      only have sales to established
temperature, or whenever it hits your     clients like Neiman-Marcus
tongue.”                                  increased, but retailers like
   The precise mixing of ingredients      Braum’s and Love’s Country
from secret recipes is done in large      Stores will now be covered
tanks which hold hundreds of gallons      with chocolates made at the
of liquid chocolate. Chocolate in the     Bedrè factory.
tanks is heated to precise temperatures      And it’s not just the
at exacting rates to provide perfectly    gourmet chocolate line
“tempered” chocolate.                     that is evolving. Bedrè is
   Water-jacketed pipes deliver the       enriching and expanding its
chocolate to enrobers at the precise      sugar-free line of chocolates
temperature providing the perfect         to an ever-growing market.
consistency to coat chips, nuts,          The company also has an
cookies and various other coated          established fundraising line
centers.                                  and is going international
   The precisely heated chocolate is      with chocolates in Canada,
also delivered to molds which form        the U.K. and Singapore to
everything from chocolate coins to        date.
bite-sized filled pieces to candy bars.      Although the chocolate
   Along with chocolate, other tanks      factory is cranking out
contain peanut butter, caramel and        scrumptious candy on a daily
other ingredients to form centers         basis, the four busiest times
for candy bars and filled pieces.         of the year for Bedrè are:
From there conveyers transport the        Christmas, Mother’s Day,
confections through cooling tunnels       Easter, and Valentine’s Day
with strictly controlled temperature,     - weeks when the chocolate
air flow and humidity. Candy              flows 24/7.
emerging from the tunnels is dry and         Bedrè is one of the many
ready for packaging.                      diverse businesses of the
   All chocolate products are             Chickasaw Nation, who
packaged on site through either           has owned and operated the
automated or manual means, and            chocolate company since
sport various brands or private labels    2000. Bedrè is the only
depending on retail destinations.         Native American owned
   Since Bedrè opened its 17,800          chocolate company in the
square-foot facility in 2003, the         United States.
company’s annual sales have more             The Bedrè chocolate
than tripled. In 2005, the move was       factory also features a retail
made to a more automated system           store and viewing gallery
which impacted the quality of the         where daily tours explain
products in a positive way.               and show people how the
   “Now that the ingredient mix is        chocolate is made, complete
precisely controlled, it provides a       with free samples.
superior, more consistent product,”          For more information on
said Carlsson.                            tours, call 405-207-9320. v

                                                                           business crossroads 5
lafarge tulsa Cem

             world-class operation       site served as an ideal source for high   cement and building materials.
             dedicated to serving its    quality raw materials. Its proximity to   In its first full year of operation
             customers, communities      major markets, water transportation,      by Lafarge, production capability
             and employees, the          and two turnpikes also ensured that       topped 235,000 tons of cement – with
Lafarge Tulsa Cement Plant continues     2609 North 145th East Avenue was          only one kiln, one raw mill and one
a tradition of excellence that began     the perfect site. It’s no wonder          finish mill. Since that time, another
nearly a half century ago. The plant’s   Dewey’s Tulsa Cement plant opened         kiln, raw mill, and two more finish
success was built on a consistent        to much fanfare in 1961.                  mills have increased production
commitment to excellence, a safe            Forty years later Lafarge acquired     capability to an astounding 750,000
working environment, and an active,      the Tulsa Plant from U.K.-based Blue      tons per year. Customer pick-ups and
positive relationship in and around      Circle Industries. Dewey had become       deliveries occur at the plant, as well as
the community. Since Lafarge’s           a division of industrial products         at terminals located in Oklahoma City
acquisition of the facility in 2001,     giant American-Marietta Company           and Springfield, Missouri.
these same principles of operating       when its Tulsa plant opened in 1960.         Creating the finest cement is an
remain a priority.                       Blue Circle Industries, formerly          amazing process that begins in the
   The Tulsa Cement Plant, situated      known as Associated Portland Cement       quarry. Here, Lafarge employees
on 1,235 acres and set atop a            Manufacturers Ltd., began developing      extract limestone, which is crushed
limestone formation with more than       interests across the United States,       and transported by conveyor system
forty years of remaining reserves,       in places such as the Tulsa plant,        to mix silos. The raw materials, shale,
has been producing materials for the     throughout the 1980s and 1990s and        sand, iron ore, and limestone, are then
construction industry since 1961. It     had become the sixth largest cement       mixed together and heated to over
was the dream child of brothers Frank    producer in the world. With its           2600 degrees Fahrenheit in the kiln,
and Herbert Tyler, who founded the       acquisition by Lafarge Corporation in     becoming “clinker.” When the clinker
Dewey Portland Cement Company in         July 2001, the Tulsa plant became part    emerges from the kiln, it is cooled,
Dewey, Oklahoma in 1907. The Tulsa       of the world’s leading producer of        mixed with gypsum and ground into
6 business crossroads
ment                   Plant
  a fine powder known as Portland
  Cement. This cement is then pumped
                                            the facility with the PCA 2004
                                            Community Outreach Award.
                                                                                     acreage, and these areas have been
                                                                                     certified by the Wildlife Habitat
  into large storage silos for shipping         Lafarge’s environmental leadership   Council. Lafarge also supports the
  and distribution. The bulk cement is      is legendary. By practicing a            Nature Conservancy, the World
  then loaded onto trucks and railcars      consistent commitment to preserving      Wildlife Fund and Habitat for
  and shipped throughout the region or      and protecting the environment, the      Humanity International.
  bagged for distribution.                  company has made steady advances         For more company and product
      This is a mammoth process that        in environmental preservation            information visit the Lafarge North
  keeps kilns operating 24 hours a day,     and developed and successfully           America web site at
  seven days a week. 722,000 tons of        implemented numerous strategies or call
  product were produced in 2006 within      and programs across North America.       (918) 437-3902.
  a total grind capacity of 811,000 tons.   The Tulsa plant has invested millions       Lafarge North America is the
  Lafarge holds a cement leadership         of dollars in environmental controls     U.S. and Canada’s largest diversified
  position not only in the greater Tulsa    and continuous improvement. It           supplier of construction materials
  metropolitan area, but also across the    is committed to working with             such as cement and cement-related
  state of Oklahoma.                        wildlife experts toward sustainable      products, ready-mixed concrete,
      High quality cements from the         development in the area and serves       gypsum wallboard, aggregates,
  Tulsa Plant are used for a broad          as an active, positive force in the      asphalt and concrete products. The
  range of projects that include the        community, working toward cleaner        company’s materials are used in
  I-40 emergency bridge replacement,        and greener operations. The Tulsa        residential, commercial, institutional
  Tulsa’s Creek and Cherokee                plant has established nature habitats    and public works construction across
  Turnpikes, new additions to both          on a portion of its rehabilitated        the U.S. and Canada. v
  St. Francis and St. John’s medical
  complexes in Tulsa, Oklahoma State
  University’s Boone Pickens Stadium,
  Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport,
  Bud Walton Arena and the Razorback
  stadium addition in Fayetteville,
      Backed by the strong partnerships
  Lafarge builds with its communities,
  Tulsa employees hail from all across
  Green Country, including Nowata,
  Sand Springs, Tulsa, Broken Arrow,
  Beggs, Wagoner and Skiatook.
  Characterized by their dedication and
  professionalism, Lafarge employees
  proudly participate in many company
  sponsored programs. They provide
  time, money and in-kind resources
  to agencies such as the public school
  systems in Collinsville and Catoosa,
  Junior Achievement, Up with Trees,
  Habitat for Humanity, the Ozone Alert
  Program, the Laura Dester Shelter
  for Children in Tulsa and various
  local charities and sports teams.
  The Portland Cement Association
  recognized the Lafarge Tulsa for
  its community efforts by awarding
                                                                                                       business crossroads 7
the OklahOma manufaCtu                     extension agents and applications          every $1 million in manufacturing
                                           engineers, the Manufacturing               sales there are eight manufacturing
                                           Alliance provides hands-on                 jobs plus six service sector jobs.
                                           resources for improving productivity,      For every 150 manufacturing jobs
                                           increasing sales, and reducing             there is a $30 million economic
                                           costs. In partnership with an array        impact. “Simply put, the health of
                                           of organizations, it connects small        Oklahoma manufacturing affects all
                                           and medium-sized manufacturers to          Oklahomans,” Peters said. “When
                                           local expertise and state, regional,       I visit manufacturers around the
                                           and national resources. “We make           state, one fact that is increasingly
                                           a positive difference for the state’s      apparent is employment growth in
                                           manufacturers and Oklahoma’s               manufacturing is embedded in high-
                                           economy,” Peters says. “Often              wage jobs. High-wage jobs are being
                                           working behind the scenes, our             created, and wages for existing jobs
                                           organization builds beneficial, lasting    are climbing.”
                                           relationships that lead to beneficial,        The Manufacturing Alliance
                                           lasting results.”                          receives funding though the
                                              In the past five years alone, the       Oklahoma Center for the
                                           Manufacturing Alliance assisted more       Advancement of Science and

                                           than 2,000 individual companies.           Technology and through the
           hrough innovation and           “We continue to help manufacturers         Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
           diligence, Oklahoma             create wealth and bring prosperity         On the federal level, the Alliance
           manufacturers are learning      to the workforce by providing the          is part of a national Manufacturing
           to succeed in a 21st            leadership and assistance they need        Extension Partnership, which
Century economy. The Oklahoma              to become more successful,” Peters         supports similar agencies in each
Manufacturing Alliance plays a key         says. “Our strengths, built over more      state. A variety of private and local
role in helping the state’s industry       than a dozen years of service, have        community supporters also makes the
grow and prosper. Now more                 established us as a trusted and valued     organization’s mission possible. More
than ever, manufacturing is about          organization.”                             than 40 local sponsors—CareerTech
competitiveness, continuous learning          Oklahoma’s 4,000 manufacturers          centers, higher education institutions,
and constant change.                       employ about 240,000 and pay               and economic development
   “The Manufacturing Alliance is          a livable wage. It is vital to rural       organizations—contribute office
committed to improving our state’s         Oklahoma where the loss of one             space, clerical support and pay part
economy by leading the movement            company can devastate a community.         of the salary of the manufacturing
toward modernization,” said President      One of manufacturing’s great               extension agents. The agents live in
Roy Peters. “One of the most               strengths is its ability to innovate       their communities and work with
important components of Oklahoma’s         and apply innovation to increase the       manufacturers in their area. “The
economy is manufacturing. It               state’s overall productivity. This leads   model is based on the agricultural
generates nearly 16 percent of the         to a high “multiplier” for increasing      extension system,” Peters said.
Gross State Product—the largest of         demand for intermediate goods              “But instead of suggesting ways
any economic sector. The gateway           and services in other sectors. The         of improving crop production,
Oklahoma must travel through to            manufacturing multiplier, according        our goal is to help manufacturers
catch up with the rest of the nation, in   to the Commerce Department, is 2.43        increase sales and reduce costs.
terms of per capita personal income        in intermediate and final output. This     They look at industry needs from the
and economic growth, is unlocked           compares to multipliers of only 1.5        manufacturer’s viewpoint.”
through manufacturing.”                    for financial and business services            The agents provide a variety
   The Oklahoma Manufacturing              and 1.7 for health and education           of services such as developing
Alliance is a not-for-profit               services. Rising manufacturing             marketing plans, helping introduce
organization providing a variety           output, then, provides a bigger boost      new technology and suggesting new
of support to Oklahoma industry.           to overall economic growth than            training. They also provide training on
Through a network of manufacturing         that of other sectors. On average, for     Lean Manufacturing, which involves
8 business crossroads
uring                allianCe
  analyzing how information and            automated data capture with bar code      the best tax incentives Oklahoma
  materials flow in the manufacturing      scanning and RFID communication.          has,” Watson said. “The program
  environment, then continuously           That will save the employees from         provides cash rebates to firms that
  improving processes to increase          having to manually enter information      create new jobs. For companies
  profitability.                           into the company's system and save an     that meet certain requirements, the
      “The assistance provided by the      extra two or three hours of planning      program provides cash payments
  Oklahoma Alliance for Manufacturing      time.                                     of up to 5 percent of the newly-
  Excellence is helping us stay               Ridenour says the biggest surprise     created payroll. “This is cash back
  competitive,” said Bill Ridenour,        he witnessed was the increased            for creating new jobs,” Watson said.
  president of UPCO in Claremore.          capacity once changes were made in        “It’s a wonderful deal if you meet
  Extension agents helped UPCO align       the plant. The first year into Lean,      the criteria and the Manufacturing
  its management group so they could       UPCO's sales jumped 35 percent,           Alliance is there to make sure the
  function as a team instead of focusing   while inventory declined nearly 30        application and paperwork are
  on individual processes. After intense   percent.                                  submitted correctly.”
  planning the Manufacturing Alliance         At the end of every project carried       At the leadership core of the
  helped UPCO implement a new              out by the Manufacturing Alliance,        Manufacturing Alliance is a diverse
  manufacturing system. In the old         the extension agents sit down with the    group of directors that reflects the
  system, a customer would place                       firms’ CEOs to determine      varied nature of Oklahoma itself.
  an order for a large amount                           an estimate on the dollars      “The diversity of our board of
  of product. The customer                             saved and retained.           directors is essential for credibility
  would receive the materials                                                        with small manufacturers,” said
  in bulk, regardless if they                                                        Cheryl Hill, board chair and president
  needed that much product                                                           of Hill Manufacturing in Broken
  immediately or not. The                                                            Arrow. “If the board was comprised
  new system allows UPCO to                                                          of bureaucrats and officers of large
  release mixed bundles here and                                                     corporations, I think most small
  there, meaning the company                                                              manufacturers would lose
  can quickly turn around orders                                                             interest.”
  for small batches or fill larger                                                              The board is drawn from
  orders in a manner more timely                                                             four groups: small- and
  than ever imagined. To get                                                                 medium-sized manufacturers,
  where UPCO really wanted to                                                                larger corporations, public
  be, the team tackled product                                                               institutions, and companies
  flow throughout the plant.                                                                   serving manufacturers.
  The factory was laid out like                                                                    “The Alliance board is
  a series of small cities before                                                               designed to take a broad
  the process. Key equipment, such as          Also in its tool belt is                         view of Oklahoma’s
  lathe and grinders, were located at      a partnership between the                           manufacturing industry,” said
  opposite ends of the plant. Product      Manufacturing Alliance                             Peters. “That starts, of course,
  movement was identified as a key area    and the Oklahoma                                 with leaders representing the
  for improvement. Before, extraneous      Department of Commerce.                      manufacturers themselves—both
  lift trucks moved the product from       Through a formal agreement, the           small and large. But it also includes
  a machine to a holding area before       Alliance serves as ODOC’s field agent     government and public agencies that
  being transported to another holding     to make sure companies are taking         work with those manufacturers; and
  area for the next machine. To improve    advantage of state incentives. Kay        companies that play a supporting role
  flow, UPCO reduced distance between      Watson, a manufacturing extension         to the industry.”
  many of its machines and installed       agent serving the Ardmore area,              For more information or to locate
  a conveyor system to automatically       recently worked with IMTEC on             your local extension agent, phone the
  transfer from one process to the next.   its application for the Oklahoma’s        Manufacturing Alliance at
  The Manufacturing Alliance also          Quality Jobs Program.                     (918) 592-0722 or visit the website at
  is helping the company implement             “Quality Jobs is probably one of v
                                                                                                         business crossroads 9
what is unique aBOut Okl
What is unique about Oklahoma?            section.” This has led the Oklahoma       with preventing the injuries from ever
   Is it the multitude of redbud trees    Supreme Court to rule that employers      arising, Oklahoma has strict safety
that bloom every spring? How about        cannot terminate an employee for          laws that apply to all industries,
the gusty, knock-you-over “wind           absence-related reasons while s/he is     including manufacturing. Oklahoma
sweeping down the plain?” Where           on TTD. Can you terminate a TTD           law says: “Each employer shall
else is garden soil comprised of red      employee for some other reason—say,       furnish to each of his employees
clay? One thing you may not have          for example, embezzlement that            employment and a place of
considered is how unique some of          you discover while the employee is        employment which are free from
Oklahoma’s employment laws are as         off on comp? Absolutely. But the          recognized hazards that are causing
they impact unsuspecting Oklahoma         timing of the termination and the         or are likely to cause death or serious
businesses. Consider the following:       investigation leading up to it must       physical harm to his employees,
                                          be done thoughtfully and carefully.       commensurate with the Occupational
Workers’ Compensation System.
                                          It is always wise to consult your         Safety and Health Act of 1970.”
    The most recent statistics show
                                          trusted Human Resource expert             Equally important is the requirement
that in 2005, 144,700 persons were
                                          and/or an employment attorney when        that: “No person shall discharge,
employed in the manufacturing
                                          considering terminating an employee       discriminate or take adverse personnel
industry in Oklahoma. Filings by
                                          who has filed a comp claim.               action against any employee
employees injured on the job in
                                                                                    because such employee has filed any
manufacturing have actually declined      Occupational Safety.
                                                                                    complaint, or instituted or caused to
since 2001, from 2,747 in 2001 to            The Workers’ Compensation
1,887 in 2005. That is good news for      System was developed so employees
manufacturers.                            that were hurt on the job would not
    But even though the numbers have      simply be fired and left without health
declined, the issues involving workers    insurance or gainful employment.
hurt on the job have not. One of the      To assist
most common legal issues facing
Oklahoma employers is how and
when and whether they can terminate
an employee after the employee
files a workers’ compensation claim.
Oklahoma, like many states, provides
that it is against the law to terminate
an employee for simply exercising
their rights under the Workers’
Compensation Act. Yet, some
circumstances arise where terminating
an employee sometime subsequent
to the filing of a comp claim may be
appropriate and necessary. When can
you do it?
    Oklahoma law says: “After an
employee’s period of temporary
total disability (TTD) has ended, no
person, firm, partnership, corporation,
or other entity shall be required to
rehire or retain any employee who is
determined to be physically unable
to perform assigned duties. The
failure of an employer to rehire or
retain any such employee shall in no
manner be deemed a violation of this

10 business crossroads
lahOma                          emPlOyment laws?
 be instituted any proceeding under or         Furthermore, if an employee is            individual is a nonsmoker or smokes
 related to this act . . .” This provision     discharged as a result of failing a       or uses tobacco products during
 protects employees who are trying             drug test, he/she is disqualified from    nonworking hours; or
 to protect both themselves and their          receiving unemployment benefits.
                                                                                            2. Require as a condition of
 co-workers from harm. This does               Finally, refusing a lawful drug test
                                                                                         employment that any employee or
 not necessarily mean that employees           is grounds for termination and will
                                                                                         applicant for employment abstain
 have free reign to knowingly file             disqualify a person from receiving
                                                                                         from smoking or using tobacco
 false complaints to try and disrupt           unemployment benefits. But it is
                                                                                         products during nonworking hours.
 a business. But it does mean you              imperative that employers know and
                                                                                            This means that although
 would be foolish (and legally liable)         comply with the state’s drug testing
                                                                                         employers can eliminate smoking on
 if you terminate an employee for              laws. They are unique and a trap for
                                                                                         the employer’s premises, it cannot
 complaining about unsafe work                 the unwary!
                                                                                         restrict employees from smoking
                                               Workplace smoking of tobacco.             during time away from work.
 Drug & Alcohol Testing.                          For some employers smoking in          Interestingly, the Oklahoma smoker
    Oklahoma has adopted one of the            the workplace is an issue. Oklahoma       protection law does permit a non-
 most far reaching and toughest drug           is one of 31 states that now restricts    smoking requirement as a part of a
 and alcohol testing laws in the nation        smoking in “indoor workplaces.”           collective bargaining agreement.
 and employers must be absolutely              Oklahoma’s law restricts the
                                                                                         Tim Eisel,Partner
 sure they are in compliance with the          “possession of lighted tobacco in
                                                                                         Whitten, Nelson, McGuire, Terry &
 statute before drug testing employees.        any form” in work areas, employee
 Oklahoma laws allow for both the              lounges, restrooms, conference rooms,
                                                                                         3540 S. Boulevard, Suite 300
 testing of applicants (after conditional      classrooms, employee cafeterias,
                                                                                         Edmond, OK 73013
 offers of employment) and of current          hallways, and any other spaces used
                                                                                         (405) 705-3611
              employees and specifies          or visited by employees. Some states,
                 how and when current          like New York, impose a complete,
                 employees may be              no-exceptions workplace smoking ban
                 tested. Generally,            (“Smoking is prohibited in all places      A few unique laws worth
               employers may test (1)          of employment.”). Oklahoma’s law is        repealing.
             for “reasonable suspicion”,       not considered to be one of a complete     Oklahoma also has a few
              (2) after an accident,           ban, because part of the statute allows    unique laws worth repealing:
                (3) randomly, (4) as part      employers to provide “smoking               • In Tulsa, Oklahoma, it is
                 of regularly scheduled        rooms.” Oklahoma employers may                against the law to open
                  testing, or (5) in a         set up the smoking rooms that allow           a soda bottle without the
                   post-rehabilitative         employees to smoke where no work              supervision of a licensed
                     situation. Each of        is performed, provided the room is            engineer.
                      these categories         fully enclosed, exhausted directly          • In Norman, it’s against the
                        has specific           to the outside, and is away from              law to make ugly faces at a
                         criteria that need    entrances. The statute specifically           dog.
                          to be followed       allows employers to choose a more           • In Shawnee, three or more
                           and included in     restrictive policy, including being           dogs may not meet on
                             your written      totally smoke-free.                           private property without the
                              policy.             Ironically, Oklahoma also has              consent of the landowner.
                                   An          a “smoker protection” law, which            • In Hartshorne, be sure not
                                effective      makes it unlawful for an employer to:         to put a hypnotized person
                                drug testing                                                 in a display window, as it is
                                                  1. Discharge any individual,
                               policy                                                        against a City Ordinance.
                                               or otherwise disadvantage any
                         can yield
                                               individual, with respect to                 • So be careful with your pop
 very positive results. For instance,
                                               compensation, terms, conditions or            bottles, dogs and hypnotized
 employers are not required to retain                                                        employees.
                                               privileges of employment because the
 employees using illegal substances.

                                                                                                         business crossroads 11
munCie POwer PrOduCts

        n early 2004, Ray Chambers      accomplish our growth goals, but we       of Curtis Evans, a manufacturing
        was presented with an           knew there was a better way,” says        extension agent with the Oklahoma
        interesting yet common charge   Chambers, who was familiar with the       Manufacturing Alliance. Evans is
        in today’s manufacturing        Lean Enterprise concept and certain       sponsored by Northeastern State
segment – grow the company by           if implemented properly would get         University-Broken Arrow, one of
increasing output in your existing      the company where it needed to be.        20 agents across the state that help
facility.                                   Lean Enterprise helps companies       manufacturers maximize efficiencies.
   Muncie Power Products, which         produce more with existing resources         “Ray Chambers had the vision,
has been around for 70 years, has       by eliminating non-value added            and they jumped in with both
set its sites on becoming the No. 1     activities. It establishes a systematic
global provider of innovative system    approach to reducing waste and
solutions for PTOs and fluid power      creating flow throughout an entire
products to the truck and selected      company.
mobile equipment markets. To                One of the first steps was to
achieve this, company leaders knew      develop a Lean strategy team,
changes had to be made in most of       consisting of Doug Sullivent,
its eight facilities scattered across   manufacturing manager and Lean
the nation, particularly at the PTO     leader, Maurice Coletti, production
manufacturing and distribution center   control manager, John Robertson,
in Tulsa.                               distribution manager, and Mark
   “We were encouraged to dust          Todd, engineering manager.
off our old expansion plans to              Chambers also solicited the help
12 business crossroads
feet,” says Evans. “Muncie was            until 1986 when Muncie Power               has hired a few new employees but
very focused on what needed to be         Products purchased the building and        more than doubled its production.
accomplished and aggressive about         the PTO product line,” Lamar said.            While it’s the human element that
going after it. They did the most         “I have literally grown up in this         makes it possible, robotic machines
planning of any company I had seen.       building. I was one of the original        and automation play an important
Ray had it planned, but he stepped        employees to move in with Sperry-          role in Muncie’s output level. “Our
back and let the employees handle         Vickers in 1968 and it has been a real     shaft and gear cells have three robots
the implementation.”                      evolution. The recent Lean initiatives     that deliver product from machine
   Chambers says one of the key           have changed the way we look at            to machine—from raw material to
ingredients in the company’s success      ourselves and the world today. I truly     a finished part,” Coletti said. “This
model has been an extremely               look forward to what is next in store      technology is not new and I am not
dedicated and talented workforce          for us.”                                   sure that we even knew the entire
committed to getting customers the           By implementing Lean principles,        benefits of this concept in 1982
products they want, when they need        Muncie not only avoided the high           when we first installed the robotic
them.                                     cost of building expansions by             cells. I am pretty certain that the
   “We get all of the employees           freeing up more than 15,000 square         justification was based on a piece-
together every four to six weeks and      feet of space, but sees the potential to   cost reduction only. Even so, these
feed them lunch just to show them         free up an additional 15,000 square        cells manufacture product in a one
how much we appreciate them,”             feet to satisfy future growth. The         piece flow, eliminating the batch
Sullivent said. “It really is difficult   Lean team meets weekly to discuss          process and inefficiencies that can
to describe how talented these            upcoming events and establish              be generated in a value stream from
people are and how the management         priorities and actions necessary to        excess inventories. This philosophy
team feels about each of them. We         accomplish initiatives in Lean events.     of manufacturing has made it easy
believe these functions would pay            Muncie’s Tulsa location has             to convert our production planning
for themselves even if things weren’t     been able to exponentially grow its        process from MRP to Kanban-driven
going great right now. Our turnover       business without losing any of its         for the products they produce.”
rate is well below the national, state    120 employees. In fact, the company           Chambers says an important
and industry average and it is a direct
reflection on the way we treat our
employees. We see this as a key to
retaining our most valuable asset, our
   With such a vision on customer
satisfaction, employees didn’t
question the Lean concept, rather
immediately embraced it.
   “I am convinced that we have
the best workforce in the industry,”
Chambers added. “Sometimes I feel
fortunate just to be able to work with
   The Muncie factory in Tulsa has
a storied history. Fred Lamar, global
purchasing manager, has been at the
location for nearly 40 years.
   “The Muncie Power Products
building was first purchased from
Hale-Hasell in November 1968
by Sperry-Vickers. Sperry Vickers
manufactured PTO’s, winches and
planetary drives at this same location
                                                                                                      business crossroads 13
enabler for implementing Lean           Gordon McIlwain and Jon Miller.          organization,” says Chambers. “As
has been the unique partnership of      The company recently linked              more and more people are affected by
services and support the company has    changes in Tulsa and Muncie to           the Lean process, we are receiving an
received from the The Alliance, Tulsa   create a seamless flow of information    ever increasing amount of input from
Technology Center and Industrial        and services to its internal and         our company employees on how to
Solutions, a private consulting firm    external customers.                      improve our service to our customers
based in Tulsa.                            “Even in the midst of rapid           and our work environment.”
   “Between the monetary funding,       growth, when everyone feels                 While it might be difficult to
facilities, curriculum and expertise    stretched to the limits, implementing    estimate the total impact the Lean
in Lean consulting, we feel we          Lean is a great thing and can still      process will have on Muncie’s ability
have really reaped benefits that        result in real gains,” says Gerry        to serve its customers, Chambers
others in competing states might        Raubach, Industrial Solutions            and the Tulsa employees are excited
not have available to them,” he         president. “In Muncie’s case,            about the possibilities the changes
says. “The effort to put together       it demonstrated the need for             have and continue to present.
a comprehensive training and            management to be persistent in              From an implementation
implementation model was very           pursuing the path and not giving in to   standpoint, Evans says it presents
simple and easy to execute.”            the urgency of the moment.”              a textbook example that other
   The process has gone so                 After one year of coaching and        companies would be wise to follow.
smoothly and the results have been      training, Muncie now has five               “This was the perfect example
so impressive that the company’s        certified Lean leaders in Tulsa that     of how Lean should – and can
corporate headquarters has grasped      effectively manage Kaizen events         – work,” says Evans. “Almost
the concept. Although many of           on a regular, regimented schedule.       any company, I don’t care what
Muncie’s corporate executives had       Chambers says that after 18 months       they are manufacturing, can use
never been exposed to Lean, they        of living the Lean culture, Muncie       Lean. True, they are all unique
were in tune with the notion of         employees wouldn’t go back to            in the products they produce, but
improving services to customers and     business as usual.                       processes are processes, and all have
have been passionate supporters,           “When people are given the            waste. The idea is to eliminate the
Chambers says.                          opportunity to design their own work     waste and become more efficient.
   The Lean process has now             area and improve the efficiency and      The Muncie implementation is an
taken hold in Muncie, Ind., and         safety of their working conditions, it   outstanding example of what can be
making tremendous strides with the      creates an atmosphere of cooperation     accomplished if you understand the
appointing of two Lean champions,       and understanding at all levels of the   goal.” v

14 business crossroads
a winning team                                                   with                lOCal drive
    Norman’s Business Services Team          purpose is to provide whatever              community leaders.
is a fundamental effort in Economic          support local employers might need to           For more information contact Don
Development. Executive Director              develop their businesses, and with so       Wood, Executive Director of Norman
of Norman Economic Development               many accomplishments in economic            Economic Development Coalition
Coalition, Don Wood,                                          development, hats off is   at (405) 573-1900 or Deidre Ebrey,
assembled his team members                                    given to Mr. Wood and      Director of Economic Development for
about ten years ago. These                                    his dedicated team of      the City of Moore at (405) 793.5224. v
members, consisting of
representatives from the                                        Don Wood, CEcD
Oklahoma Alliance for                                           Executive Director
Manufacturing, the Norman                                       Norman Economic Development Coalition
Chamber, the City of                                            Office: (405) 573-1900 • Fax: (405) 573-1999
Norman, Moore Norman                                   •
Technology Center and the
local Workforce One-Stop Center,
have provided their services as local         mOOre’s Business serviCes team
supporters to many Norman businesses.             Moore’s Business Services Team has made plans for “check-in”
“We work as a support system to local          visits to their targeted seven businesses this year. Their relationship
businesses,” said Wood. “We’ve taken           with these businesses has been continued due to the team’s
the resources and the contacts to them         efficient site-visiting tactics. These vital businesses employ about
so that they may receive year-round            700 members of the Moore community. “It has been a year since
help.” With meetings scheduled twice           we visited with them, so we are going back this year to see if they
a month, depending on the needs of             are undergoing stress or need any assistance,” said Todd Jenson,
local businesses, the Norman Business          Economic Development Specialist for the City of Moore.
Services Team has developed close and             The Moore Business Services Team has recently incorporated
lasting relationships with community           a retention and expansion program called Synchronist Business
companies.                                     Information System, which city staff may use to target existing
    The team has been especially               businesses to discuss concerns, issues, and opportunities
resourceful in assisting businesses            affecting their business. The Synchronist System is a software
with expansion needs. They were able           tool to organize, analyze and report company information, giving
to help C&C Trailers, a company that           community leaders insight into the dynamics of the local economy.
manufactures custom aluminum horse,            “The program is an outreach initiative designed to retain industry
stock and cargo trailers, move to a larger     and jobs while fostering expansion, growth, and development,” said
facility enabling them to increase their       Jenson.
employee base to 100 plus employees.              The Synchronist interview proved to be a very successful tool in
    This dynamic team also helped              identifying a need of a local business in safety and health planning.
Immuno-Mycologics (Immy), a                    The team connected this business with Moore Norman Technology
Norman business that produces fungal           Center, which offered the local company 40 hours of safety and
diagnostic products, move to a larger          health plan training and created a Loss Control Prevention Manual
facility in early 2006. Their state-of-        for them. “This training was a huge success,” said Jenson. “This is
the-art facility is located in The Norman      one of the seven companies we will do a follow up interview with
Business Park about four miles east            this year.”
of Interstate 35 and two miles east of            Moore’s Business Services Team is a key group in Moore’s
the University of Oklahoma Research            economic development. The City of Moore has visited 33
Campus. Neighboring businesses in the          businesses since the inception of the Synchronist Businesses
park are Office Max, Albon Engineering         Information System. Armed with this new system, Moore's
and ClientLogic. This new facility has         distinguished team is looking toward the future, specifically through
been instrumental in Immy’s expansion          using a retail module of the Synchronist System. “Retail is obviously
and product development capabilities.          a key driver in Moore's economy so we are excited about the
    The Norman Business Services               addition of a retail component to the e-synchronist tool," said Deidre
Team maintains its relationships               Ebrey, Economic Development Director for the City of Moore. v
through personal interaction. Their
                                                                                                          business crossroads 15
      High-End Luxury and High-End Style!
         Today in NE Oklahoma, rural small town business no longer has the same
      connotation it once did. Instead, it is synonymous with high-end luxury and
      high style. Case in point, Newell Coach in Miami, Oklahoma.
         This year, Newell Coach is celebrating their 40 year anniversary in the
      motorhome industry and they owe their longevity to the fact that they have
      been the most forward thinking coach manufacturer in the industry since their
      inception in 1967. “Our founder, L.K. Newell, was not happy to stick with the
      early industry design ideas” says Scott Lawson, Vice President/Manufacturing.
      “He preferred to think ahead, be innovative, and try new ideas”.
         An example of this innovative attitude is that two of the most popular trends
      in the motorhome industry, the rear engine motorhome and diesel power for
      motorhomes, were both introduced by the late L.K. Newell in the early 1970’s;
      a full decade before gaining common acceptance for luxury motor coaches.
         This “thinking outside the box” spirit is demonstrated aptly by how Mr.
      Newell got into the motorhome business in the first place. In 1967, Mr.
      Newell traveled from his Oklahoma home to El Monte, California, to take
      delivery of a new Streamline motorhome. Manufactured by a division of
      the Streamline Trailer Company, the then top-of-the-line Streamline luxury
      motorhome featured an aluminum body similar to the firm’s trailers, and was
      mounted on a very conventional one-ton Ford gas powered chassis. Within

      two weeks of taking possession of his new Streamline however, Mr. Newell
      returned to the factory to have a few “corrections” performed. Always
      the outspoken person, Newell shared some of his suggestions for product
      improvements with the owner of Streamline. He was met with a challenge
      that has now become a company legend: “If you’re so damned smart, why
      don’t you just buy the motorhome operation from me?” Within hours, a deal
      was struck, and L.K. Newell was in the motor coach manufacturing business.
      Ironically, while the remaining portions of Streamline did not survive the
      turbulent RV market of the 1970’s, the motorhome division that Streamline
      sold to L.K. Newell in 1967 has been in continuous and successful operation
      ever since as Newell Coach Corporation.
         No doubt Mr. Newell would be proud that his company has continued his
      forward thinking philosophy. You only need to look at one of the newest

 h                                                              business crossroads 21
innovations; the home theater room.     engine version of the Newell             was running his coach company.
The new bedrooms can now be             coach in 1969. However, he was           Newell believed he could include
equipped with a Murphy style bed        not satisfied with the compromises       the desirable features of a bus, such
that folds flat to the wall, allowing   required by using a purchased            as the rear diesel engine, under
a 78 inch screen to drop down from      chassis, so in 1970 he designed and      floor storage, air brakes, and air
the ceiling at the touch of a button.   built his own built-from-scratch         suspension, while adding features
Add to that a slide out on the          pusher motorhome chassis. This           that buses did not offer, such as
opposite wall that contains a row of    innovative chassis design included       front mounted generators, mid-entry
theater-style seating, and you have     a unique bridge construction             doors, and operational systems that
a screening room to rival any in a      technique that eliminated the            are built into the body and chassis
conventional home.                      industry standard frame rails            during the manufacturing process.
   According to Lawson, “Three          between the front and rear axles,        Thus Newell offered more flexibility
things make us truly unique in the      maximizing under floor storage           to custom build to the client’s
industry. 1) We build our coaches       space-the first basement motorhome!      preferences.
from the ground up; we do not use a        Newell was also offering his first       Much like building a conventional
pre-made chassis. 2) Each coach is      diesel powered motorhomes in 1972,       home, customers at Newell are
custom built. Since 1967, we have       far ahead of the rest of the industry.   ushered into a state of the art design
built 1229 coaches, and no two have     While pusher engines, diesel power       studio where the process begins.
been the same. 3) We offer factory      and basement storage are taken           There they can pick everything from
direct sales. You can’t purchase our    for granted in today’s motorhome         the carpet and tile to the counter
coaches, new, from anyone but us”.      world, such was not the case over        tops, faucets and wall colors. It is
   Mr. Newell built the first rear      two decades ago when Newell              even more customized than many
conventional homes in that they also     takes approximately 50 man hours       complete with sight seeing ports of
choose custom drapes, upholstery         to complete and it takes about three   call, ending in New Orleans. How’s
fabrics, accent pillows, furniture       and one half months to complete a      that for an innovative vacation?
style, and just about any high tech
electronics you can think of. And
because they have their own CAD
professionals who generate the
coach’s blue prints and plans as one
goes through the design process, the
project is a virtual work in progress
from start to finish. You dream it,
they create it!
   As I was given the VIP tour
of their manufacturing facility, I
was amazed that so much beauty
and style could be created with
a relatively small staff. Solely
manufactured in Miami, there
are 204 employees ranging from
management and administrative
staff, to welders and fitters, to        coach from saw horse to customer          Mr. Newell’s philosophy remains
interior designers and CAD               delivery. Annually, 40+ coaches        the cornerstone of Newell Coach
professionals, to fabricators and        complete the manufacturing process     Corporation to this day. They
electricians, to the installers of the   that ends with finishes, detailing     continue to lead the industry with
granite kitchen counters. According      and road testing before the keys are   their innovative style, attention to
to Lawson, “These are true               handed over.                           detail, quality customer service and
craftsmen, the best at what they do.”       Discriminating customers from       second to none coaches.
   Each coach goes through a             all over the world choose Newell          Happy 40th, Newell Coach, and
13 phase construction process            coaches because of their innovative    continued success. You truly are
that starts with a length of steel       approach to giving a customer          a jewel in Northeast Oklahoma’s
between two saw horses. During           exactly what they want. Coach          manufacturing crown!
construction, there are 13 coaches       owners are so proud of their homes        You may contact Cynthia
in various stages of completion at       on wheels that they have an owner’s    Neely-Pulliam, Business Services
any one time. As one completed           organization that holds annual         Coordinator for the Northeast
coach is delivered to its eagerly        events. One such event that caught     Oklahoma Workforce Investment
anticipating new owner, another is       my attention was where 70 coaches,     Board at
just beginning to take shape on the      lined up on a 742-foot barge on the v
front end. Each construction phase       Mississippi River, took a float trip

                                                                                                business crossroads 23
suPeriOr faBriCatiOn, inC.                                                       2006. SPEC, or “Superior People
                                                                                 making an Excellent Company”,
                                                                                 utilizes the Western Technology
                                                                                 Center and Southwestern Oklahoma
                                                                                 State University to assist in this
                                                                                 training program. SFI is truly greatly
                                                                                 thankful for all their generosity and
                                                                                 support. We incorporated WorkKeys
                                                                                 Assessment as part of the training
                                                                                 program to help evaluate existing skill
                                                                                 levels and provide KeyTrain to those
                                                                                 employees who desire to improve
                                                                                 their skills. The result is a well
                                                                                 trained employee whose skills are
                                                                                 documented with a Career Readiness
                                                                                 Certificate, or CRC. Each course
                                                                                 provides a maximum of five trainees
                                                                                 who receive 200 hours of specialized
                                                                                 skills development including:
                                                                                 Theories of Welding, Blueprints and

                                                                                 Tools, Safety, Softskills, Overview
         uperior Fabrication, Inc.,     Trucking, Superior Lube, Superior        of Welding Equipment, and Practical
         better known as SFI, is fast   Valves and Controls, and Superior        of Welding. We are currently in our
         approaching 10 years of        Health and Fitness.                      third class and are very excited and
         customer oriented services.       Terry Morse, CEO, and Mike            proud about our SPEC Program.
We are located in Elk City, Oklahoma,   Fields, President, had the same vision      SFI takes great pride and believe
the heart of the Anadarko Basin Oil &   when they began SFI; to provide          in our employees. They are
Gas field. During the past 10 years,    quality products to valued customers.    responsible for setting us apart from
SFI has grown from 9 employees to       SFI has delivered vessels worldwide,     our competitors and are committed in
over 150 employees with plans to        specializing in new and reconditioned    providing top quality products. Our
continue growing with a future move     production equipment.                    employees play a crucial part in our
to a new 56,000 square foot facility.      Like many industries today, SFI       success and truly work as a team.
In 2004, SFI opened a plant in          was faced with a shortage of welders        For more information about
Canadian, Texas. We have expanded       in Oklahoma so we took a step ahead      Superior Fabrication, please visit our
into other affiliated businesses,       and developed our own welder’s           website at
such as Superior Energy, Superior       training program in November    v

OklahOma hOsPital assOCiatiOn
   Oklahoma Hospital Association members from southern Oklahoma participated in the Health Care Industry Regional
Consortium meeting, held in January at Mercy Memorial Health Center, Ardmore. This was a follow-up meeting to the
Regional Health Care Summit, hosted by the Southern Workforce (Investment)
Board in October. Representatives met to continue developing a strategic plan to
address the health care workforce shortages in that area of the state. Left to right
are Danny Hale, Director of Human Resources and Education, Mercy Memorial;
Sheryl McLain, Interim Executive Director, Health Care Workforce Resources
Center, and OHA Vice President/Workforce Initiatives; Ron Webb, CEO,
Valley View Regional Hospital, Ada; Carri Moore Colwell, Southern Workforce
Board, and Terry Watson, Director, Office of Workforce Solutions, Oklahoma
Department of Commerce. v
20 business crossroads
free safety COnsultatiOn
    Have you ever heard of the             of the facility to identify recognized   Oklahoma and have experience
Oklahoma Department of Labor’s             hazards and, if needed, the industrial   modifiers greater than 1.0. Successful
(ODOL) OSHA Consultation                   hygienist can perform noise and/or       participants in this program develop,
program?                                   air monitoring. Each consultant then     implement and maintain effective
    This program offers voluntary, non-    prepares a written report that lists     safety and health management
punitive, confidential and free safety     all findings, recommendations for        programs and show at least a 10%
and health consultation services to        improvement and a list of hazards        reduction in the dollar amount or
private employers across the state.        found during the walk through.           severity of their claims from the
    These services are geared toward           Did you also know that through       previous year or reduce their incident
helping companies develop and              the utilization of ODOL’s consultation   rates to the national average or reduce
implement effective safety and health      services, your company may be able       their rates by one-third of the amount
management programs that will result       to participate in either the SHARP or    they exceeded it by the previous year.
in:                                        WCPR programs?                           Once certified a company is eligible for
  1. The elimination of identified             The Safety and Health                up to a 15% discount on their workers’
     hazards which cause injuries or       Achievement Recognition Program          compensation premium.
     could result in Federal OSHA fines    (SHARP) is available to employers            The ODOL OSHA Consultation
  2. Lower workers’ compensation           who are interested in successfully       program is working! The latest injury
     costs                                 developing, implementing and             and illness data found Oklahoma's rate
  3. Reduced injury and illness rates      maintaining an effective safety and        – traditionally higher than the rest
  4. Improved employee morale              health management program.                        of the country – at the national
  5. Reduced turnover rates                A major plus for this                                 average. In fact, the rate has
  6. An improved bottom line that          program is participating                                been steadily dropping
     frees money to be reinvested in the   companies maintain                                        for the last decade.
     business                              incident rates below                                       This is good news for
  7. $1,000 tax exemption for a full       the national                                                Oklahoma's workers
     service visit                         average for their                                             and businesses.
    So, what does a safety and health      industry. Successful                                               If you have any
consultation include? Well, it depends     participants in this                                            questions about
on the company’s needs. Generally,         program are exempt                                               the ODOL OSHA
once a company makes a request for         from scheduled                                                   Consultation
services, a safety consultant and a        Federal OSHA                                                     program or would
health consultant are each assigned        inspections as long as they                                     like to request
to work with the company. These            remain SHARP certified.                                        a consultation,
consultants will make an onsite visit          The Workers’ Compensation                             contact the Oklahoma
to the company. They will assess the       Premium Reduction (WCPR) program                Department of Labor at
company’s overall safety and health        is also available to small employers     (405) 528-1500 ext. 276 or toll free at
management system, review written          who are insured through a private        1 (888) 269-5353 ext. 276. v
programs, perform a walk through           insurance company or CompSource

   sOuth Central OklahOma wOrkfOrCe investment BOard
     On February 7, 2007 the South Central Oklahoma Workforce Investment Board Youth Council hosted
  an Area Educators’ Youth Symposium at the Simmons Center in Duncan, inviting all high school guidance
  counselors, principals, and superintendents from its eight county service delivery area to attend. The
  day’s events included presentations from the Duncan Police Department, KeyTrain, WorkKeys, and
  Chickasha Public Schools. During the lunch, which was sponsored by KeyTrain and WorkKeys, the
  Youth Council presented Chickasha High School Superintendent Jim Glaze with a plaque for the school’s
  innovative and dedicated approach to promoting the career development of its students. The day was
  concluded with a keynote presentation by noted author and community trainer James Vollbracht. v

                                                                                                       business crossroads 21
            im Sinor believes some        shore boats. A lot of our customers are      The business started in 1994 as
            choices matter more           hauling trailers with expensive show      Sinor Manufacturing Company,
            than others. When his         horses—cutters and jumpers.”              producing ambulances and rescue
            customers are shopping for       Studies show 75 percent of fifth-      vehicles. Sinor’s family has provided
a recreational towing truck, it’s a big   wheel trailer owners are towing           ambulance service to dozens of
decision. And when he’s exploring         with a one-ton pickup and many are        towns in western Oklahoma for
ways to grow his business, it’s a         exceeding the weight limit for their      more than 40 years. He opened the
choice with sweeping implications.        vehicles. “Our trucks are safer than      Clinton plant in part to help off-set
   “We like to think our philosophy is    a normal one-ton in several ways.         the cost of vehicle purchases for that
pretty simple,” said Sinor, president     Probably most important, the brakes       family business. Because of the long
of Freightliner Specialty Vehicles.       on a SportChassis are twice as big as     production schedule for an ambulance
“We leverage the best equipment and       the brakes on a one-ton pickup. That      or rescue truck—sometimes up to
technology for the best quality and       means the SportChassis can get the        120 days—Sinor decided the factory
innovation… Baby boomers have             trailer going quickly and can also        could manufacture a “fun” vehicle to
worked to afford themselves a lavish      stop the trailer fast to avoid those      balance the long lead times.
retirement. When they decide they         white-knuckle situations. However,           “Recreation towing vehicles
want a vehicle like ours, they are        you don’t need a commercial driver’s      seemed to fit that bill,” Sinor said. “As
looking to buy the very best—and          license since our trucks don’t have       a result, we designed what became
their choice is us.”                      air brakes and are less than 26,000       the SportChassis and production
   Sinor’s factory in Clinton produces    pounds.”                                  began in early 1997.” In 1998
a SportChassis line of luxury towing         SportChassis vehicles are decked       Freightliner, a division of Daimler-
vehicles. It is the market leader,        out with the latest amenities.            Chrysler, acquired controlling interest
selling the $100,000 trucks to people     Freightliner customizes each              in the company and relaunched it as
hauling classic cars, high-price horses   interior with options like flat-screen    Freightliner Specialty Vehicles. In
or other expensive trailers.              televisions, DVD players, navigation      2002, Freightliner moved production
   “People towing more than 14,000        systems, back-up cameras and              of emergency vehicles and left the
pounds are looking for a truck like       state-of-the-art audio. The cabs are      Clinton factory to manufacture only
ours,” Sinor said. “Our customers are     completed with leather seats and          the SportChassis line. Sinor remained
carrying exotic cars and pricey off-      wood-trim finishes.                       as president. He continues as the
                                                                                                      business crossroads 23
company’s driving force behind             few months. For station cycle time, it      The SportChassis is available in six
product development and production         was six hours at the beginning of the       basic colors, but the company has
improvements.                              year, it will be around two hours for       become quite famous for its custom
   “We very much believe in better         each station at the end of the year.”       paint jobs and other specialty body
and efficient design and use of              Walenciak is one of 20                    parts.
                                                                                          Capital investments also played a
                                                                                       role in increasing efficiencies. “Things
                                                                                       like a new routing machine are
                                                                                       making a huge difference,” McCullers
                                                                                       said. “It is 60 percent faster. That
                                                                                       speed eliminated a bottleneck that
                                                                                       was slowing production at that station
                                                                                       and every assembly point down the
                                                                                       line. Now, out of a single sheet of
                                                                                       aluminum, we will cut all the different
                                                                                       pieces needed for a production point.”
                                                                                          Sinor also has invested in his
                                                                                       workforce. He is quick to give credit
                                                                                       to the Freightliner employees, now
                                                                                       numbering about 107. “Everyone
materials,” said Billy McCullers,          manufacturing extension agents              shares in the pride,” he said. “It
production manager. “With the              working in communities across               always comes down to the people
combination of our skillful craftsmen,     Oklahoma. He is sponsored locally           and it’s amazing the ideas we
engineers, and our top-of-the-range        by Southwestern Oklahoma State              generated once we got everybody
machinery and technology, it makes         University and Western Technology           involved. We’ve incorporated all
the SportChassis a driver’s paradise.      Center. He has worked with Argent           of our employees throughout the
During manufacturing, our engineers        Global Services, a private consulting       transformation. We realize they
ensure that quality and performance        firm, to organize a series of Kaizen        are our most important asset and
are the main concerns as the truck         implementation projects at the              let them know they are part of our
goes through several stages of             Freightliner factory.                       family.” Walenciak helped secure
production.”                                   “We used to manufacture with a          training grants for the company’s
   That production has more than           traditional batch-production system,”       new employees through Western
doubled in the past year since the         McCullers said. “We now have a              Technology Center. Adding new
factory began a transformation to          single-unit flow. Instead of pushing a      employees helped Freightliner qualify
Lean Manufacturing. The plant now          cart full of pieces through the entire      for the state’s Quality Jobs Incentive
produces about 50 vehicles a month,        process, we now have point-of-use           program. Walenciak coordinated the
up from 25 at the end of 2005. More        at each of the assembly stations. Our       application process. Manufacturing
remarkable: cycle time is now four         goal is to only build what we need.         extension agents like Walenciak
days, down from the two weeks it           About 70 percent of our parts are           serve as liaisons for the Oklahoma
took just a year ago.                      now at point of use. An empty cart          Department of Commerce and offer
   “Of all the Lean transformations        is the simple queue for new pieces.         interested companies free one-on-
I’ve seen, this is the most impressive,”   Small bites of time from each station       one consultations. They work with
said Paul Walenciak, a manufacturing       can add up to a significant reduction       manufacturers through every step of
extension agent for the Oklahoma           in cycle time at the end of the             the process. For companies that meet
Manufacturing Alliance. “This              manufacturing process.”                     certain requirements, the Quality Jobs
is a progressive operation in all              A truck used to take 13 trips           Incentive program gives quarterly
business aspects and it shows in the       through the paint department. With          cash rebates of up to 5 percent of
        overwhelming improvements          the single flow, a truck now moves          taxable wages for up to 10 years.
                      they have made in    just once through painting. That               “Oklahoma’s successful Quality
                                  just a   eliminated not only a significant           Jobs Incentive program promotes
                                                chunk of time, but literally miles     job growth and helps improve a
                                                                 of travel distance.   company’s bottom line by injecting
                                                                                       cash back into the business as it
                                                                                                              expands and
creates new employment,” Walenciak
said. “It is one of several state
incentives available to manufacturers.
An important part of what I do is
making sure that companies like
Freightliner take advantage of all the
opportunities available to them.”
    Freightliner is in the early stages
of work with its suppliers, many of
which are local Oklahoma firms. It’s
an effort to help them keep up with
elevated production schedules. “Most
of our suppliers are still trying to
forecast our use and batch produce
parts. We are slowly helping them
Lean their production. We used to
hand cut the tinting used on windows.
Now we get those pieces pre-cut
from the vendor. We are taking baby
steps with them—but that’s where we
    Even with Freightliner’s boost in
output, the company isn’t matching
public demand for the vehicles. “All
of our slots are sold out for about
a year with orders from dealers.
We have companies that want to be
dealers, but we have to delay that
because there is such a great demand
from our current customers.” A
reputation for dazzling aesthetics
and high-end quality has turned
SportChassis into a dominant brand.
                                            at a quarter-million miles. So while      is part of why Sinor remains
Features like the patented Passive
                                            there’s a bigger up-front cost, you       optimistic about his company’s
Noise Reduction System help define
                                            come out ahead as you approach a          future. “Our goal is not a radical
the superiority. “A special insulation
                                            million miles of use.”                    increase in sales,” he said. “We want
system makes them one of the quietest
                                               Sinor is always working on a           to control growth by integrating
vehicles on the road and, by far, the
                                            new prototype because, “people like       the production efficiencies we’ve
quietest in its class. It’s not quite a
                                            things that are new and innovative.”      introduced over the past year. I’ve
Mercedes, but it’s close,” McCullers
                                            His newest design is essentially a        always prided myself on building the
said. “It helps take it from a truck to a
                                            pickup on steroids. The P2 is a super-    best and most innovative product.
luxury vehicle and most competitors
                                            sized, four-door truck that Sinor         That has not changed, but Lean
don’t drill down to that level of
                                            acknowledges has little practical         Manufacturing has allowed us to do
detail. We work from aviation specs
                                            value. “It’s a big-boy toy with a         that and grow the business. Without
and tolerances—way above what is
                                            pickup bed,” he said. “But it can pull    Lean we could not stay competitive-
                                            up to 20,000 pounds from the bumper       it’s wonderful to see manufacturing
    And the high-priced trucks are a
                                            and is like testosterone for the guy      theories that work. I’ve been
bargain, Sinor added.
                                            who drives it-it’s just cool.” Requests   amazed.” v
    “Our luxury towing trucks are
                                            for the pickups are through the roof
rated for more than a million miles
                                            and Freightliner literally can’t build
of driving. At 250,000 miles, a
                                            them fast enough.
SportChassis retains 60 percent of
                                               That demand
its value. Your normal pickup would
essentially have no value
made in OklahOma
    The Made In Oklahoma (MIO)
coalition is accepting entries to its
                                        media judges.
                                           Rules for the contest are simple:
                                                                               e-mail address if available, recipe
                                                                               name, and category.
second annual Recipe Roundup            Ingredients and specific preparation     Entry forms, contest rules and a
Contest. Seven finalists will be        directions must be included in the     complete list of MIO companies are
chosen and the ultimate                                                                  available online at
winner will receive a                                                          
$7000 KitchenAid ™                                                                       or send a self-addressed
appliance makeover.                                                                      stamped envelope to:
   “The contest is open                                                                  MIO Coalition Recipe
to original recipes that                                                                 Roundup 2007, PO Box
feature at least two MIO                                                                 54386, Oklahoma City,
company products,” said                                                                  OK 73154. Entries must
Mindy Koenig, Oklahoma                                                                   be received or postmarked
Department of Agriculture,                                                               by May 10 and received
Food, and Forestry                                                                       by May 15.
marketing coordinator.                                                                      In addition to the
“The coalition’s goals for                                                               kitchen makeover grand
the contest are to promote                                                               prize, runner-up prizes
Oklahoma products and                                                                    include KitchenAid ™
encourage people to find                                                                 stand mixers, a family
new ways to prepare                                                                      weekend retreat at the
them.”                                                                                   Tatanka Ranch, and an
   Category specifications                                                               “Oklahoma State Parks
for the contest include                                                                  Getaway” provided by
“Mouth Watering Main Entrees,”          order they are used in preparing       Oklahoma State Parks.
“Dig in Desserts” and in honor of       the dish. The recipe and ingredient      Last year’s grand prize winner
the state’s centennial celebration,     list (including at least two MIO       was Mary Shivers of Ada.
“Authentic 100-Year-Old Recipes.”       company products) must be clearly        For More Information Contact:
The grand prize winner will be          legible and include the contestant’s   Mindy Koenig (405) 522-5601 or
selected by a panel of celebrity        name, address, phone number,           Jack Carson (405) 522-4575 v

lOCal invOlvement with the sOCiety fOr human
resOurCe management (shrm)
   Joan Barker, Director of the Cleveland County Workforce Development Board, Inc., and Lisa Graven,
System Coordinator of the Cleveland County Workforce Investment Board recently became members
of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). SHRM is the world’s largest association
devoted to human resource management. Founded in 1948, SHRM was created in an effort to provide
continued professional development opportunities, promote national networking and to generally advance
the interests of the profession. After attaining her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification,
Barker joined SHRM in January of 2007 with hopes that participation will help her to understand the needs
of her business customers and allow her to perform better in her human resource capacity.
   Currently, SHRM boasts more than 550 affiliated chapters and members in more than 100 countries.
An Oklahoma affiliate of SHRM, Sooner Human Resources Society (SHRS), is recognized as the sixth
fastest growing chapter in the nation. Graven recently joined both SHRM and SHRS and will serve on the
Workforce Readiness Committee. As new members, both Graven and Barker have attended one meeting
thus far, but say they look forward to becoming active members. v
26 business crossroads
26 business crossroads
From the Governor’s Council
   As Administrative Manager of             product and no revenue. So, we are       need for qualified employees to
Woodward Iodine Corporation, I have         facing a two-fold problem: a shortage    maintain existing business and attract
witnessed some positive changes since       of workers and a shortage of job         new business. I would encourage
the implementation of the Governor’s        skills.                                  you to get involved with your local
Council for Workforce and Economic             This problem is not unique to our     Workforce Investment Board, as well,
Development. One is the increased           industry, however, with Oklahoma         because I believe that Oklahoma
awareness by private industry of            employers facing this challenge daily.   works!
the local Workforce Centers and             During this our centennial year, the
the services that are available. As         Governor’s Council for Workforce
a member of the manufacturing               and Economic Development is facing
industry, we have witnessed the             this challenge with a monumental
available workforce pool shrink over        strategic plan to “Grow Oklahoma”
the last few years, partially as a result   by increasing the number of available
of the increased demand for personnel       workers and by increasing the
by the oil and gas industry. To             knowledge, skills, and education
our advantage, the local Workforce          attainment level of all Oklahomans.
Centers allow our company to draw              Membership on the Governor’s
from applicants nation wide rather          Council enables the members of
than just those reached by the local        private industry and public leaders
newspaper’s circulation.                    to network and share ideas with each
   I have also seen a shift in the          other. This collaboration also creates
attitude of the general workforce…the       a truly integrated workforce and
level of work ethic. It is a continuing     economic development emphasis.
                                                                                     Bill Gerber
struggle to find applicants who will           There is a continuing struggle to
                                                                                     Woodward Iodine
arrive at work on time, give enough         maintain a strong presence of business
                                                                                     Woodward, OK
notice if they are going to be absent,      members on the local Workforce
                                                                                     Member, GCWED
and realize that their performance          Investment Boards. Time constraints,
affects the profitability of the            increased workloads and “not
company and ultimately their income.        wanting to get involved” in another
Our plant operates 24 hours a day,          commitment remain to be deterrents.
7 days a week, and 365 days a year.         The reason I continue to stay involved
Without our employees, there is no          at the state and local level is the

28 business crossroads

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