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Dura-Cast, Innovative Ideas For Employee Relations

Off highway 27 in central Florida sit several warehouse buildings. A small sign outside reads Dura-Cast. The six building complex may just receive a passing glance from those driving by -- but the locals are well aware of the growing rotational molding company.  In fact, you’ll never see a help wanted sign outside the complex because this family owned company has developed a unique employee relations program.

Dura-Cast is fairly new to the laundry / linen industry, with a division created a little over a year ago for customized carts and material handling products. However they have been producing rotationally molded products, including feeders for the agriculture industry and tanks for the marine, RV, chemical and aquatic industries, for the past 15 years. In fact, even Shamu has benefited from their expertise having received a large indestructible plastic Frisbee to toss around at Sea World.

But the companies success is not only in their product – it lies in their philosophy and their people, says vice president and owner, David Orcutt.

Employee relations is a hot topic at Dura-Cast. Although customer service and maintenance is open five days a week, production is only scheduled on four days a week, from 6:30 am – 3:00 am, during four shifts. “People need to get things done during the week. Banks aren’t open on weekends and doctor offices close after five. It’s difficult for anyone to make appointments with doctors or dentists when they work a full-time job,” said Orcutt. “So here we work four 10 hour days with Friday off.”

Dura-Cast employees, which number approximately 60, enjoy company incentives while aiming for zero product defects. And usually, employees hit their mark.

The incentive program includes lunches, bonuses and extra vacation time. “On average, just about every two months we have a large catered company picnic,” said Orcutt. “There’s a stage with live music, Karaoke in Spanish and English and plenty of food. They’re generally very spirited parties.”

For individual incentives, deserving employees receive football or hockey tickets. “We try to have a family attitude,” says Orcutt. “After all, it’s a family-owned company.” And even Bruce Orcutt, president and owner doesn’t hesitate to get his hands dirty. “Dad owns it and I work it. But Dad would prefer to be on the machinery. So when you see the owner loading a truck it sends a ripple effect across the board to the employees,” said Orcutt. That “ripple effect” led to the best sales month ever in February, and to congratulate employees a full-blown barbeque was thrown for employees and their families.

Orcutt’s family attitude carries over into his professional philosophy. “We’re new to the laundry industry and we’re still learning. We don’t want the whole picture, we’re here for new experiences.” And some of the new experiences involve innovative ways to meld their existing business into the new laundry / linen division.

“We’ve got round carts used in our aquatic division which prove to be the perfect fit to transport extracted cakes,” said Mike Schronock, Dura-Cast representative. “It’s difficult to fit a round cake in a rectangular cart so we feel we’re meeting a specific need.” And in the spirit of environmental consciousness, Dura-Cast accepts old laundry carts which they recycle to create products used in their agriculture division.

Trying to veer from the design of existing laundry carts, Michael Putt, designer and general manager talks about how engineers at Dura-Cast have redesigned their products. “To add strength and protect against the loss of “eye-appeal our carts have outside bumpers and roll down edges. And we’ve redesigned the carts base from steel to a steel reinforced poly which adds strength and acts as an independent suspension.” According to Putt, their carts are produced with a low front opening for operator ease, lock in recess shelving and a rope pull.

In the near future, Dura-Cast expects to have an on-line presence where customers can virtually tour their facility. “Not many people want to come to Polk County, Lake Wales to see our company, our people and our production process,” said Orcutt. “I want them to be able to get an idea about us as a company and have a tour of our facility while sitting in their house.”

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Laundry to Reduce Air Emmissions and Fund Cleaner Burning Wood Stove Purchases

BOSTON, Mass. — Alltex Uniform Rental Service, an industrial laundry in Manchester, N.H. has agreed to settle claims by the US Environmental Protection Agency that it violated the Clean Air Act by paying a civil penalty of $65,000. They will also be undertaking a Supplemental Environmental Project with a value of at least $220,000 to replace old, polluting wood stoves in southern New Hampshire with new, cleaner models. Additionally, the company will install equipment at its facility to remove approximately 20 tons per year of emissions of volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”). G&K Services is the parent company of Alltex Uniform Rental Service Inc. The EPA action grew out of an EPA inspection of the facility in July 2008.