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Best Practices: Eastman’s Leadership Systems Drive Success

By FloridaMakes Network posted 09-23-2020 00:00


Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards 2020 FinalistEastman Chemical Company’s history goes back one hundred years. As the middle class was expanding in the 1920s, and new technologies such as vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, radios, electric irons, and yes, cameras transformed the American home, Eastman Kodak became a household name as a manufacturer of chemicals used to process camera film. Fast forward to 1994 when Eastman spun-off as an independent company, and a century after it’s start in Kingsport, Tenn., Eastman has evolved into a global specialty materials company that makes products that people use daily.

One of the company’s manufacturing locations is in the Florida Panhandle in the town of Pace –

Eastman’s Taminco Pace Operations—focuses on the production of a range of amines, which are derivatives of ammonia. The primary amine produced at the Pace facility is methylamine with other products being butylamine, propylamine, amylamine and dimethyllaurylamine. These amines are the building blocks for the synthesis of many commercially available products used in a variety of markets, such as food and beverage, animal nutrition, personal care, pharmaceuticals, fuel and agriculture.

“Our Taminco Pace facility produces chemical products that are eventually used in everything from chicken feed to baby formula, as well as products that help our cities treat municipal waste in their wastewater treatment facilities,” says Wayne Henson, Site Manager. “Since the onset of COVID-19, we’ve also had a surge in demand for chemicals that are used in the production of anti-viral products like disinfecting wipes and sprays.”

Best Practices: Leadership Systems

With around-the-clock production schedule and more than 100 full-time Eastman employees and contractors, Eastman’s Taminco Pace plant relies on precision systems. Specifically, the site’s “Leadership System” was noted as a “best practice” in the Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards process. As one of this year’s 2020 Top Ten Finalists, Eastman’s Taminco Pace facility endured a rigorous evaluation based on a series of standards. This is the facility’s second time as Finalist.

“Our Business Planning Process, which is part of our Leadership System, is one of the things we do best,” says Henson. “We use a star model (5 points that comprise safety, customer, community, employee and efficiency) to drive continual improvement and keep us focused on the highest priority initiatives in order to achieve our goals. Each point of the “star” has a series of metrics that are routinely assessed.”

For example, leadership teams perform gap analysis and risk assessments for each prong of the “star” as part of the annual planning process and review the status weekly in team meetings.

“We have feedback sessions that engage our employees when building and assessing the five points of our business plan,” says Henson. “This enables leadership to look at both the short-term and long-term decisions, but it also gives our employees the chance to know how their work and feedback fits into the big picture.”

Another way Eastman’s Taminco Pace facility Leadership System is working to engage employees is through a “visualization dashboard” used to simplify complex processes and allow optimum decisions to be made.

“We’ve developed a way to take all the metrics and put them into a program that allows for a visual story of how the plant is running,” says Henson. “With our dashboard, operators can determine the most efficient way to run the plant and meet our customer’s specifications, yet not waste energy.”

SMBE Awards Process

“We are really excited to be a finalist again,” says Henson. “This awards process isn’t just about an award; it’s an opportunity that provides a benefit to the businesses going through the evaluation. The businesses recognized in this process go through a series of challenging questions that ultimately shed light on what you can be doing better or differently. It gives you the chance to improve constantly and look at how all of your processes are working together. “

“We are excited to see Eastman as a finalist again,” says Daniel Krug, the FloridaMakes Business Advisor who consults with Eastman. “They are a global leader in the manufacturing sector and their strong leadership systems in Florida were evident in this process.”

Henson cites the facility’s involvement in the manufacturing community as key to its success.

“We’re active in both the Northwest Florida Manufacturing Council and the Central Gulf Industrial Alliance,” says Henson. “Participating in your local regional manufacturing associations gives you the chance to learn about others’ best practices as well as provide opportunity to share your own best practices. At Eastman, we’ve been proud to be a part of the larger manufacturing community in Florida as well as around the globe.”