SIKESTON - With new leadership in place, the Cott Beverages plant in Sikeston is back on its way to the top.
"This used to be the No. 1 plant for Cott, hands down, and we're on our way back to No. 1," said David Busch, plant manager since accepting the position last April.
He explained that Cott company officials determined they could best rejuvenate production figures here by bringing in new leadership.
Busch was already familiar with the Sikeston operation having served as the plant's production manager for four years before moving to Cott's Elizabethtown, Ky., plant.
"I jumped at the chance," he said. "This is a great plant - great people."
"What David has brought to us is a team attitude," said Gary Schaefer, human resources. "He's building us a winning team."
Busch and Schaefer agreed the workers here, which show exceptional pride in what they do in addition to being innovative and creative, are one of the most important advantages this plant enjoys.
"You have to have great people in place to make great things happen," Busch said.
The Sikeston Cott Beverages plant produces a variety of products for the Sam's Choice brand including bottled water. Busch explained the plant strips chemicals out of the water before adding minerals for flavor.
"Sikeston's city water treatment plant provides very consistent water quality which makes it much easier to produce a high-quality product," he said.
Busch said he also enjoys the type of relationships businesses have with other businesses here.
"There's such an enormous amount of support from the community," he said. "Everybody looks out for everybody; they want to make sure everybody is successful."
Busch noted the Bootheel Regional Training Group, for example, is a "huge asset" for businesses here.
The number of employees at the Sikeston Cott plant is now up a bit, according to Schaefer, at about 130 full and part-time employees. "It's a good place to live and work," he said.
And things are already looking up for the plant.
Busch noted the Sikeston plant has had a significant improvement in its performance rating for the past 28 weeks.
"We have consistently been in the top three to four plants for performance contending for the No. 1 status in the Cott North American system over the last six months," he said. "They reward our plant by giving us more volume we can handle and investing in improvements to our processes, equipment, and our training. The commitment is here for this plant to be successful. Our most recent investment for this plant is installing a new packer. It should be up and running by the end of the week."
Busch said other than the tie in and testing, putting the packer into operation has all been accomplished without having to shut down their line.
The company has also recently invested in this plant by putting in two chiller systems, Busch said, and other positive changes are slated for the near future.
"There are exciting things happening at the plant for the employees," Schaefer agreed.
"This plant was the No. 1 plant back a few years with safety, quality and performance. With the team in place and the pride this team has we are focused to regain that status again" Busch said.