This weeks’ spotlight is on Craig Benton, production manager at Diversitech. He reveals the ins and outs of his job, what he loves about working at Diversitech and how he would like to see the company grow in the next coming years.
Q: What are your responsibilities at Diversitech?
A: I run the daily operations of the plant. That includes anything related to manufacturing. I’m responsible for all the people on the floor of the plant, whether it’s warehousing and inventory related activities or the production, testing and shipping of equipment.
Q: How long have you worked at Diversitech? What are the biggest changes you’ve seen over the last few years?
A: Two years in September. The first day I walked in here I think there were 15 people in terms of plant staff. Within 7 or 8 months of that period of time we were over 30. We doubled our plant staff in a very short time.
Also, in that period of time we moved from our old building to our new building. So we had a wild transition. We moved from the old building where it was very cramped. People were tripping over each other and there was no space. You had to dig equipment out of the way to get to the piece you were looking for. Then we moved to a much larger building and it was actually very surprising how quickly we realized we were outgrowing this new building as well. It didn’t take us long. By the time we moved in we didn’t have enough space already.
It’s just impressive the rate of increase of growth this company has had in just the almost two years I’ve been here.
Q: What are the biggest challenges that come with your job?
A: There’s a handful of different things. My job consists of managing the people and I have an over 30-person staff. That’s 30 different personalities. I have to try to get the right people in the right positions while managing the different personalities. You know, I sometimes liken my position to a sheep herder. I don’t really physically create or do anything other than just organize people, move orders throughout the shop and move people to where I need to. I get to create the orchestra of moving all these people and orders in the plant.
So that’s the human aspect I just mentioned. Really our biggest challenge over my time here has been our supply chain that faced challenges keeping pace with our growth. We’ve taken proactive steps to fix that and now we’re in a position where our success is not limited by our supply chain.
Q: What do you find most rewarding about your job at Diversitech?
A: I like the environment of working here. I left a company that I’d been at for almost 18 years to come here. I wanted the personal environment Diversitech offered. With the large American companies I worked for in the past, I felt more like a number on a sheet of paper. I like working in an environment where you can actually see your effort realized into something. You can bring your experience and implement improvements based on that experience. You can have a positive impact on the growth of the company as opposed to other jobs I’ve had where I was given one specific role and expected not to wander outside that box. Here I have the opportunity to use my creativity and experience to help shape the company going forward.
I do feel that I have been a part of the success over the last couple years. Obviously, I’m not the one who sells the equipment, but if we don’t figure out a way to get equipment out the door in a timely manner, then there’s no point. That’s what I find rewarding- being able to get the equipment shipped and doing it in a safe and efficient manner.
I also like that we create products that help people. The products that I used to make throughout my career were not environmentally friendly. They were things that people needed but they didn’t have a positive impact on the environment. What we make at Diversitech are products that have a positive impact on the work environments for a lot of people.
We have industries, small and large businesses, where we are helping people do their jobs without them being subjected to harsh chemicals and fumes. We could definitely say that our products are a net positive in society.
Q: Which of Diversitech’s products are the most popular?
A: Our basic bread and butter equipment are our portables: our FRED Jr’s. Those would be the most popular ones we make. The heavy growth area that I’ve seen in recent months would be our large dust collectors. More and more we’re seeing larger orders for those.
Q: What do you hope to see for the future at Diversitech?
A: I would like to see consistent and continued growth on all levels. This is an amazing company that started as a small-scale operation. As we develop into an international company, we need a long-term strategy for that growth- a company with a solid foundation so we can become a leader in the industry. I know the people that make up Diversitech have the drive, passion and commitment to make that happen.