Bartow, Florida Branch – Keeping the Shop ‘Company Ready’

Bartow, Florida Branch Manager Duane Powers remembers growing up in a home that was always “company ready” in case someone would drop by unexpectedly. “I didn’t know what it was like to sit on a couch with no plastic cover until I moved out,” he said. Still, he always appreciated a spotless home, and he applies that appreciation to his work environment. Today, the Bartow, Florida branch is always “company ready,” but with a slightly different meaning.

“The team at this location drives MPW standards and takes great pride in what they do,” said ICG Maintenance Manager Aaron Thompson. He said during random audits, the shop is always in pristine condition, equipment is clean and work ready, preventive maintenance compliance is always above 95% and training compliance is always above 90%.

Thompson added that regular equipment refurbishments are completed in-house at Bartow. “This attention to detail extended the life of our equipment, eliminated safety hazards, reduced overall maintenance spend and helped the team gain more business,” he said.

This year marks the initiation of a three-step company project to reemphasize the importance of cleanliness, beginning with adopting a “Culture of Cleanliness” this year. The second and third steps in the process are deep cleaning and 5S, respectively.

“It’s about taking pride and ownership of our craft,” Powers said. “We want to arrive at the site with clean, well-maintained equipment and project professionalism. Our appearance, performance and safety is what sets us apart from the rest. Always do your best in everything and you will achieve success.

“Cleanliness a culture that’s been instilled in me since my beginnings in MPW,” Powers said. “First of all, it promotes a healthy atmosphere for our employees. It’s great to come in and everything is orderly, clean and ready to go. From a safety standpoint, housekeeping is huge when it comes to safety—trip hazards and so on. So, it’s important from attitude, safety, you name it!”

Powers strives to lead by example, such as arriving at the branch at 5 a.m. every day to clean the facility—including restrooms morning and evening—before the employees arrive. “Everything should be sanitary—bathrooms, walls, door handles, everything,” he said. “I’ve had new hires tell me that they used to work at other companies, and it was nothing like this! It really makes you feel good when they come in and they notice how clean it is.”

And it’s not just morale that’s improved. As strong positive first impression affects business and sales from all angles. “We’ve had customers pop in for meetings,” Powers said. “I love when people pop in because we always try to be prepared. We want to be ready every day. If you keep it that way all the time, there’s no hurrying up for inspection. Everything is done for visitors.”

But true cleanliness begins with leadership, said Mechanic Gabriel Rivera IV. “First it starts with a branch manager. If you have a branch manager who cares about the company, the sky is the limit,” he said. “The branch manager’s leadership is how something becomes greater than what it is.” Rivera said all equipment is cleaned daily.

“Duane’s biggest pet peeve is keeping the equipment clean for the next guy,” Rivera continued. “When you keep the equipment clean, the next guy goes in it and he’s happy. He intends to keep it clean. If it’s dirty, the same thing. We implement being clean for MPW and I love it because I’m very proud to come here to work.”

As a mechanic, Rivera said he hears nothing but compliments from customers at MPW crews’ work sites. It’s not just the quality of work, but also the presentation of crews and equipment. “They think we have new equipment. No, it’s 10 years old, but we clean them and refurbish them,” he said. “I think we have the smallest shop in the company, but we strive to be the best.”

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