As the world-class leader of evaporative media and portable evaporative cooling solutions for more than 30 years now, Portacool is proud of the outstanding teams that serve as the foundation of our organization. We are proudly based in Center, Texas, where we manufacture high-quality, innovative, made in the USA evaporative cooling solutions. What does life look like for the East Texas manufacturing plant? Today we highlight an interview with several key members of our manufacturing team.
The day starts bright and early with a safety briefing. Safety is a top priority at Portacool, so all team members gather to review best practices, heat safety signs, and protocol in case of a safety incident. Then the team reviews work assignments for the day and answers any questions. After that, it’s off to workstations.
Each employee has their assigned station and role in the process of making a portable evaporative cooler. Production begins at the roto-molding platforms, where employees de-mold the previous shift’s housings and start their own production. They inspect each housing that they remove from the molds and note the date, time, mold number, work platform, and operator on each. They continue this process throughout their shift, ensuring each plastic housing meets quality standards before sending it to the next station.
The housings go to the finishers next, a group of workers with a keen eye that removes the flashing from parting lines and cleans any imperfections the housings may have. From there, the housings go through the assembly team to get outfitted with heavy-duty casters, fan blades, a pump, and Kuul evaporative media.
With demand for evaporative coolers high, each day is busy for the manufacturing team. However, quality and safety always remain top of mind as the team executes their assignments and adjusts accordingly to challenges they encounter.
Our team members are what sets us apart from other manufacturing teams and make Portacool a special place to work. They are the reason we are as successful as we are, and they help create a family environment. Everyone looks out for each other and is willing to step in when help is needed. We get to know each other on a personal basis, whether a tenured employee or a new addition to the team. It’s not about one person’s job; it’s about everybody.
At Portacool, the understanding that our team members set our company apart is taken seriously. In fact, it is so inculcated that the foundational pillar of our company culture is a commitment to our team members. Portacool would be just another company without the incredible people that make up the team.
Quality is at the center of quite literally everything we do across the company, not just the manufacturing department. It is intrinsically designed into our process and owned by every team member. It means we are accountable to each other for the health of our company and the satisfaction of our customers.
When a housing is produced, the operator checks it to make sure that it is a quality housing. Then, the trimmer takes the housing and trims the front and the back, checking the inside of the part for any defects. From there, the finishers remove the flashing from the parting lines, smooth any sharp edges left from the trimming tools, and repair any imperfections that they find. After that, there is a final quality control check where the housing is vacuumed out, graphics are checked, and a last inspection for any pinholes is performed before it is sent to the assembly line. While all of this is going on, the department lead makes rounds all day to each machine, looking at parts and making any necessary adjustments to the roto-mold machines.
The overarching mantra is “don’t put out anything that you wouldn’t buy yourself.” People don’t want to buy something with a loose screw or a deformed housing. We work hard to ensure each product is built to meet our high standards of quality and is something we would be proud to purchase.
You can see our culture reflected in how our team interacts with each other. We show each member of the team respect, no matter the title, department, or responsibility. We have a team that comes to work every day and enjoys what they do, looking out for each other along the way.
Our company’s culture is deliberate. We understand that if our team members are safe, healthy, and supported, we can accomplish anything we want because no one will out-work us.
We take care of our team members first. We check in on each other throughout the day – asking how people are, answering any questions, and making sure the team knows they are supported.
In addition – we prioritize discussion and actions. We talk about our culture, what we expect and what we will accept. We guard that very closely because we know if the culture is healthy, we can weather even the most challenging situations as a team. We ensure that every team member is on the same page. Then we take action – if we truly live the culture we proclaim, it will be obvious in the way we do business, internally and externally. It is then incumbent on each of us to lift each other up to that standard.
Our team members are our greatest strength, period. They are invested, committed, and willing to work hard to accomplish our company goals. We do a lot for Portacool, but Portacool does a lot for us, too. It really is a family.