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BACKGROUND

Vermeer Corporation serves the farming, construction, landscaping, environmental, and excavation industries as a manufacturer of industrial and agricultural equipment. Vermeer has continued to experience strong growth and demand for their products. The company operates 1,500,000 square feet of plant space for manufacturing over 100 agricultural and industrial products.

In 2018, the Vermeer campus in Pella, Iowa was hit by a tornado, causing damage to two plants and to other buildings, significantly impacting the production strategy and workflow across the entire site.  Inefficient handling of materials and movement of parts between buildings had a major effect on productivity.  Then in 2020, supply chain delays related to the pandemic caused additional productivity challenges and limited growth.  

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CASE STUDY
Vermeer Corporation 

INDUSTRY: Industrial and Agricultural Machinery Manufacturing

 EMPLOYEES:  approx. 3,500 

FOUNDED: 1948 by Gary Vermeer, company remains family-run and privately owned

HEADQUARTERS:  Pella, IA

        

 

THE CHALLENGE

Vermeer hired Coleman Consulting Group to review the current work schedule at the Pella site, focusing on the schedules of hourly employees in five production plants and a parts distribution warehouse. The challenges were to improve schedule predictability, increase retention, meet time off needs and requests, and attract a broader group of future team members. In addition to meeting these employee desires, Vermeer was looking for a scheduling solution that would maximize capacity to reduce outsourcing. It was critical to develop a solution that offered operating flexibility to meet swings in customer demand.   

"Our purpose in engaging with Coleman Consulting Group was to truly understand what our team members appreciate and value from their work life balance. We wanted to develop a schedule for our team members that would allow them some flexibility and also predictability."

                                                                    -Mindi Vanden Bosch, Vice President of Operations at Vermeer

   

THE SOLUTION

            

CCG used business data and employee input to develop the best solutions for the business.  Across the campus, all schedules needed to be complimentary and work together, but they did not have to be the same. Different workgroups chose different options with some opted for shorter workdays and other areas wanted longer shifts to get more days off. The result was more options and more flexibility for team members. In addition, certain areas have the ability to increase capacity utilization and revenue by as much as 40%.

THE RESULTS

This project focused on team member engagement.  Large group sessions were used to collect anonymous data on employee desires, and later focus groups help narrow down the choices.  As the project progressed, CCG handed over more of the change management process, moving to an advisory role as opposed to leading the day-to-day meetings. This worked well with Vermeer management taking more ownership in the process.  Today at Vermeer, team members have more choices, and various schedules are being used to recruit the next generation of team members.

"Based on our work with Coleman, the team who is currently running a 4, 10’s in a 5-day work schedule, is enjoying that predictability and flexibility. We have heard from team members who are able to attend their children’s sporting events because they have that predictable day off. We also have team members who have appreciated getting overtime on their day off."

                                                                -Mindi Vanden Bosch, Vice President of Operations at Vermeer 

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