2014 Top Plant winners announced

Victaulic and Mother Parkers are honored with Plant Engineering's top manufacturing honor.


In manufacturing today, the pace of growth and the pace of change barely can keep up with one another. Manufacturing has been the driving force behind the re-emergence of the U.S. economy from recession. Growth in manufacturing is no longer seen as a passing fad; it is real, and with a productive workforce that much of the rest of the world has been unable to duplicate, the U.S. manufacturing sector has been the worldwide economic leader over the past few years.

The need for speed also requires a need for technology to help us keep up with change. The growth of Big Data requires a similar growth in the technologies to help plant leaders manage and make sense of it all. The result has been not just greater productivity, but greater efficiency for both man and machine. But with all of this comes greater complexity, and great challenges. To be good enough is no longer good enough. You have to be great today, and work to be greater tomorrow.

You have to be a Top Plant.

All manufacturers face challenges in today's global manufacturing landscape. The great manufacturing plants embrace the challenges and turn them into opportunities. The 2014 Top Plant winners are two facilities which have built their success on a foundation of continuous improvement and rapid growth while not abandoning the core principles of safety, productivity and quality.

Depending on the product, excess metal will be removed. Parts are buffed and ground as necessary.A decade ago, the single-serving coffee market didn't exist. Today, a thirsty consumer wants variety, new flavors and new flexibility. Mother Parker's saw the potential in the single-serving coffee market and expanded its manufacturing facility in Mississauga, Ontario to meet the changing needs of the market.

Adding 300 SKUs in three years was one challenge for Mother Parker's; doing that while maintaining and even improving its safety and productivity record was quite another.

Accomplishing all its goals while continuing to expand made Mother Parker's one of this year's Top Plant recipients.

Depending on the product, excess metal will be removed. Parts are buffed and ground as necessary. Courtesy: VictaulicFor Victaulic, safety has been a journey, and that journey has not always been a smooth one. Over the last eight years, however, the pipe and couplings manufacturer near Easton, Pa., has made safety the emphasis of the plant's manager and his safety team. Victaulic became a plant where safety was expected, where it was championed, and where it was celebrated. The most recent celebration came when, after reducing recordable incidents by 87% in seven years, Victaulic received OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Merit designation. Safety, like all other plant metrics, exists in the moment and must be a constant center of attention. But in reversing the past safety trends, Victaulic found the other parts of its operation improving as well.

For a Top Plant, continuous improvement isn't just a phrase that is used in the corporate brochure; it is a way of life. Our 2014 Top Plant recipients continue down their path of continuous improvement, but their journey is a guidepost for others hoping to get on that path.

- Bob Vavra, Content Manager, CFE Media.

See Top Plant stories about Mother Parkers and Victaulic below.

Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
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Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
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Electrical standards, robots and Lean manufacturing, and how an aluminum packaging plant is helping community growth.
April 2018
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April 2018
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Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
April 2018
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February 2018
Setting internal automation standards

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

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