Doug Cain, CEO of Mubea North America, saw a bright future when he started devising strategic plans four years ago. Since 2009 Mubea North America had grown 300%
A talented workforce was key to the success and Cain intended on continuing that trend. In fact he wants to be an employer of choice in the Northern Kentucky area as there is a lot of competition for talent in the region, especially in manufacturing.
Mubea North America, a Tier One, high-tech advanced manufacturer of lightweight, automotive parts, has more than 1,200 employees at six facilities in Northern Kentucky.
(The North American operation consists of 4 plants in the U.S., three in Kentucky and one in Michigan, as well as two plants in Mexico. The parent company, Mubea, a privately-held German company, operates 20 plants in 13 countries employing 9,000.)
“Four years ago, I came up with a comprehensive plan to attract talent and one of those pieces was to create both a better workplace and a healthier workplace,” says Cain.
In addition to improving safety by investing in machine guarding and upgrades, he also chose to curtail employee smoking at the plant.
“Our health care costs were expensive and given we are partially self-insured I talked to the union and said that if we can reduce costs, I can transfer the savings to wages,” Cain said.
So the company created an Employee Wellness Program. Believing that you must “walk the talk” Cain shed 50 pounds through the program.
The next step was to add a wellness clinic as an extension of the company’s occupational health clinic. And Cain wanted to make sure it would be a full-service facility, complete with a primary care physician. He was willing to provide the necessary funds investing $300K in the physical facility and $600K a year to staff it.
On July 8, 2014 the company had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Health & Wellness Center, which is a full family practice center equipped to handle occupational injuries with a trauma room, two examining rooms, a pharmacy, nurse station and waiting room. It is staffed by a family practice physician, registered nurse and medical assistant.
“We took the time to plan, almost a year, and personally interviewed the staff of the center, even though they work for St. Elizabeth Healthcare Physicians Group,” explains Cain. “The staff at the facility has to have the same level of competence that our employees do.”
The center was created for employees and their families who participate in the company’s health insurance program. It is operated independently of Mubea North America and has a separate entrance.
“The facility is as nice, or even nicer, than any doctor’s office you would visit,” says Cain.
Based on the employees’ need the company might add specialized services, including physical therapy. Hours could expand as well. Currently it operates from 8:30-5:30 but could expand to 16 or 20 hours says Cain.
Accommodating employees and attracting future employees is after all the goal of this facility. Saving money is secondary however it is a good financial investment. Cain believes that the facility will break even after one year. Reduction in costs comes from a variety of sources including pre-employment costs, such as drug testing to lower costs from using generic drugs. Furthermore wellness checkups can reduce worker’s compensation costs.
“Since we began the Wellness program, I have seen a reduction in turnover. To me this means that we are making progress toward our goal of being a place where people want to work,” Cain says.