Apache Nitrogen Products, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of ammonium nitrate-based products that are essential for the mining, industrial, and agricultural markets. APNI is one of the largest employers in Cochise County and is committed to safety on-site and in the community. This project kicked off during a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, the plan was to add or use a fifth crew to support the expanded training needs, provide some extra time off relief, and be available if one crew needed to be sequestered by the pandemic.
Apache Nitrogen Products, Inc.
INDUSTRY: Chemical manufacturing
Number of EMPLOYEES: 150
ANNUAL REVENUE: $28 million
HEADQUARTERS: St. David, AZ
Employees had been working a schedule with a regular seven-day break, a version of the Dupont rotation. But they were frustrated that coverage requirements limited their expected long breaks. Employees only averaged five long breaks a year of the thirteen expected on the rotation. Seniority and union rules ensured that everyone shared in the coverage but did not make people any less happy. In addition, there were other reasons to look at alternatives.
Blending Employee Desires with Business Needs resulted in a solution that gave employees a long break and minimized the disruption to that break. Employees were clear that longer shifts with more predictable days off was the goal of the engagement. There were additional rule changes to maximize full weekends off each cycle.
An in-depth Operations Analysis identified multiple opportunities including the need for training and the need to staff an additional staffing position during certain times of the day. The employees at APNI were clear that they wanted to keep working 12-hour shifts and expressed that regular disruption of the long 7 day break was of significant concern. When designing schedules with employee feedback, the most highly ranked alternative schedule included an 8-day break, and another offered two 5-day breaks. The consulting team designed and completed schedule design quickly and partnered with regional union leadership. The CCG team worked with union leadership throughout the entire process, developing language and solutions that supported the needs of the business and the desires of membership.