Marion, OH – We stopped at Sika’s manufacturing facility in Marion, Ohio. In 1991 when the plant first opened, only concrete admixtures were produced. In 1992 the plant expanded into mortar, and it quickly grew into Sika’s largest distribution center in North America. Currently, almost every Sika product is manufactured at the Marion facility, from flooring epoxies to residential sealants to roofing adhesives. The plant’s ideal location allows a large territory of one day delivery, while nearly the entire country can be reached in two days.
Todd Petrie, Vice President of Operations, provided us with a history of the plant and explained some of the future goals of the facility. The Marion plant places a high priority on safety by promoting employee involvement. They are aiming to have 100 percent of employees involved in some aspect of plant safety by the end of next year. Todd also explained the supply chain complexities in producing a diverse range of products in large quantities. The plant has to find a balance in order to manufacture enough products to meet the demand of Sika’s customers without overproducing. In addition, the plant is constantly upgrading machinery and improving processes.
Bob Husted, the Director of Production at Marion, gave us a tour of the three plants at Marion: the North Plant, the South Plant, and the Mortar Plant. Supply lines carry various materials throughout the facility based on the needs of the products. Although the processes are largely automated, Marion employees must pay close attention to each batch to ensure everything is going smoothly. Bob also showed us the warehouse next door; just when you think the warehouse cannot go any further, it does. Employees use forklifts throughout the warehouse to organize shipping orders for outgoing trucks. As Bob mentioned, it is important for everyone at the Marion plant to work efficiently because a backup in any department can cause delays.
We were able to meet with Allison Carlson, another Management Trainee, to see what she has been up to in Marion. While Allison has primarily been working as a Process Engineer, during our visit she was calibrating equipment in the sealant testing lab. Jenny from the testing lab explained to us that every batch has to be tested for quality before shipping. By keeping careful records, test results can be referred to later on if any problems arise. Despite the complexity of the Marion facility, we discovered that Sika’s product manufacturing is in good hands.