Workforce: Homegrown Talent

Warren Rupp Mansfield's success in recent years has opened up opportunities for managers to advance within the company.

As vice president of operations and supply chain, Bill Jones spearheaded what might be the biggest continuous-improvement project in the history of Warren Rupp Inc.’s Mansfield, Ohio, factory.

The “Material-Flow Optimization,” or MFO, project -- a series of process improvements culminating in a redesign of the factory-floor layout -- helped Warren Rupp Mansfield earn recognition as one of IndustryWeek’s 2012 Best Plants.

But when IndustryWeek visited the plant in November, Jones was in China, where he had taken on a new role and a new title -- vice president of operations, East Asia -- just a few weeks earlier.

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It’s part of an initiative by parent company Idex Corp. to cultivate its homegrown talent, explains Warren Rupp President John Carter.

“In the last year or so, we’ve said, ‘Look, we have a good organization. To maintain our growth, we want to promote from within,’” Carter explains.

Prior to this push, Idex filled 30% of its management openings with internal candidates, looking outside the company to fill 70% of those openings, according to Carter. 

“In the past 12 months, we’ve been able to flip that -- 70% of the promotions have come from within, and 30% from the outside,” Carter says.

That’s given Warren Rupp Mansfield, which was named Idex’s Business Unit of the Year in 2011, an opportunity to be “an exporter of talent,” Carter says.

In addition to Jones, recent promotions within Warren Rupp Mansfield have included Marty Carty, who played a key role in the MFO project as the former operational-excellence manager. Now Carty is the sales manager for Warren Rupp’s North Central District.

Shane Wiltanger, formerly the warehouse and logistic manager, now is the director of operations, with responsibility for day-to-day management of the Mansfield plant. Meanwhile, Shawn Fortune has been promoted to vice president of supply chain and operations.

Carter attributes these and other homegrown promotions to the plant’s success -- business is booming, and the MFO project has produced significant gains in efficiency and productivity.

“A lot of great things have happened to our team because of their ability to execute,” Carter says.

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