Treating People Right

This mold shop’s atypical approach to management is, in part, a reflection of its drive to provide a work environment that employees are happy to return to day after day.


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Mark Kite (left) and Frank Bock (right), co-owners of Dura Mold, say adopting a more collaborative approach to manufacturing has improved efficiency by better leveraging employees’ skills, improving communication and flexibility, and instilling a sense of teamwork that keeps everyone on-track and focused on the big picture.  

When Easter rolls around, Dura Mold’s employees won’t have to worry about buying hams for their family celebrations—that’s one of the perks of the job. The case is the same with Thanksgiving turkeys. Throughout the rest of the year, they’ve got plenty of opportunities to feast at work as well, given the Stevensville, Mich.-based plastic injection mold manufacturer’s tendency to host company-wide potlucks whether there’s an occasion to do so or not.  

Although the hard work involved in mold manufacturing can certainly work up an appetite, this isn’t just about food. It’s about treating people right, says co-owner Mark Kite. To that end, he says, the company tries to do more than just offer competitive wages and benefits. Flexible scheduling helps ensure proper work-life balance, to name one example (at least, as long as the work is getting done).

Such gestures are more than just sentimental. After all, employees who don’t feel appreciated are likely to seek greener pastures elsewhere. Just as importantly, social activities like potluck meals also foster a sense of being part of a greater whole, and engaged employees are productive employees, Kite says. “We like to encourage a team atmosphere, where everybody feels like an integral part of what’s going on.”

In fact, that philosophy is part of what led Kite and fellow co-owner Frank Bock to adopt a new management approach that provides shop-floor employees with more control over the manufacturing process than ever before. Learn more here.