Greensboro Plant…Where Business Is a Team Effort

25 July 2014

P&G Greensboro Plant

Years ago, Doris Scales’s brother suggested she look into a job at the P&G Oral Care plant in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA. Doris did, and 24 years later she’s still there.

“They treat employees well here,” she explains, noting that her brother, Jimmy, has been at the plant for more than 30 years.

Doris hails from Stoneville, a hamlet of about 1,000 people near the Virginia border. For more than two decades, she’s traversed winding country roads to and from Greensboro. All because Doris absolutely loves her job.

Doris is a shift leader on Denture Line T, which produces Fixodent. Like many P&G plants, Greensboro has three shifts. Although all employees rotate shifts, Doris prefers first one, 7am-3:30pm. “Your body gets ‘night sleep’ that way,” she says. There are plenty of people who prefer third shift, but no matter their schedule, P&G Greensboro employees are justly proud of their work. “People love working here,” Doris adds.

The Greensboro Oral Care facility (a P&G Health Care plant is also located in this town) is one of P&G’s largest, ranking 13th globally (out of more than 135 sites) in terms of production. It also produces Gillette, Secret and Old Spice anti-perspirants and deodorants.

These days, however, more than just P&G products are being built here.

On this overcast day in July, the plant is as busy outside as it is under roof. Construction crews are well into a major expansion. Mounds of red clay dot the earth like giant ant hills and workers wearing hard hats scurry about.

Even the parking lot has been sacrificed; employees park in a gravel lot before negotiating their way into the plant through a side entrance. An inconvenience perhaps, but it’s a symbol of growth for a plant that is adding Olay Skin Care to its production portfolio. “The plant’s growing, and in the end, to me, that means more profit sharing,” Doris reasons.

And everyone here looks for ways to keep the plant lines humming. I ask Doris for her thoughts on improving productivity. Her answer is simple, yet brilliant. “You need good mechanics, people who can trouble-shoot, good problem-solvers,” she offers without hesitation. “People with those skills, those instincts, are key.”

Sharp minds are business multipliers, and experienced plant employees are invaluable in shaping new hires at the facility. The Line T shift leader had modest advice for new employees: “Just be on time and here when you’re supposed to be. We’ll do the rest together.”

About half of P&G’s employees work in plants, and each site has its own leadership lab. The plant manager sets the tone for the plant and its production. Teamwork is critical, and you feel the sense of family and belonging to something bigger than yourself as you walk the floor.

“Our business is a team effort. You have to listen to your team,” Doris tells me, smiling. “And when I have an opinion, my leadership listens to me as well. There are smart people here, and everyone has good ideas.” You can hear Doris’s pride in her words, and see her enthusiasm in her infectious smile. “This place keeps my mind sharp.”

Like Greensboro, every P&G plant has its own unique character. But, no matter the country or business, Product Supply’s strategy of unleashing the power of its people abounds.

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