On February 24, team members at our Lugoff, SC facility celebrated two years accident free with a food truck for both shifts. This anniversary is a significant achievement for the facility, which faced challenges in its first year after Millwood acquired it from another company.
When the plant was acquired in 2019, part of the transition process included educating the previous employees about Millwood and our culture. Those people were given the opportunity to continue working there as members of the Millwood family.
While some accepted and became Millwood team members, very few of the roughly 40 team members currently employed at the plant have been around for Lugoff’s entire two years, and many are temporary employees. This has made it a challenge to build a strong foundation for company culture.
With hard work and focus from management and team members, that trend started to turn around in the facility’s second year. Now, with its third year underway, Lugoff is seeing a lot of progress when it comes to adapting to Millwood’s company culture. This culture shift helps create an atmosphere of trust and accountability for team members that helps promote safety in the workplace.
Lugoff Plant Manager Kyle Arnold states that one of the factors that led to this change was weekly R-Factor trainings.
R-Factor is a leadership training program that all Millwood team members participate in. The R-Factor is named for the reaction that we have to events, which determines the outcomes of those events. Since our reaction is the only factor that we can control in a given situation, we have to rely on discipline to guide us toward the best course of action. R-Factor training helps team members learn how to take those disciplined steps to create better outcomes for themselves and those around them, and it is a major component in Millwood’s culture.
The emphasis that R-Factor places on personal responsibility leads to an increase in cooperation among team members and better communication skills at work and beyond. The skills that team members take away from these lessons provide value to them in all areas of their lives.
“These guys start buying in and using the work that comes from that,” Arnold said. “When leadership buys into it, practices what they preach and uses those lessons on the floor, team members will buy into it, too.”
The leadership, communication and collaboration skills that R-Factor teaches helps team members build relationships with one another as well as with management.
“Team members see that they’re helping others out and making the work environment better for everyone,” Arnold said. “From there, everything just seems to fall in line.”
Management is sure to provide the best equipment and working conditions for team members, which has improved morale and culture as well. For example, the facility was outfitted with fans to help offset the South Carolina heat that can lead to temperatures of over 100 degrees in the plant. Team members also have unlimited access to ice water to help stay cool and hydrated.
“We do what we can to make the conditions comfortable,” Arnold said. “We got the ice machine in June last year, and team members have loved it.”
Making sure team members are safe in the workplace is a top priority at every Millwood facility, and Lugoff provides an excellent example of the specific ways plants can adapt to their individual environments.
Congratulations to Lugoff on their two-year anniversary, and we look forward to seeing all that you accomplish as you continue to grow. Thank you to the Lugoff team members for helping make the facility a better place.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that this was their two year anniversary; the facility will be celebrating their 3rd year at MW this fall.