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issue: March 2006 APPLIANCE Magazine

Wes Hawkins of Bodine Electric Company

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Wes Hawkins of Bodine Electric Company

Holding more than 30 years of experience in the manufacturing industry, Bodine Electric Company’s recently appointed Vice President of Manufacturing Wes Hawkins says he is used to driving and achieving results and will continue to do so in his new position.
Hawkins earned a bachelor’s of science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1971 and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering Systems in 1976, both from the University of Nebraska (Lincoln, Nebraska, U.S.). He spent much of his career to date at Schneider Electric working at the company’s various locations, including Lincoln, Nebraska; Florence, Kentucky; Chicago, Illinois; and Peru, Indiana. While at Schneider, Hawkins held several positions including plant manager, vice president of purchasing and vice president of operations with responsibilities in manufacturing management, continuous improvement techniques, logistics, and supply chain management and purchasing.
Set to continue using his extensive experience at Bodine, a supplier of industrial motors and controls for applications including foodservice and medical equipment located in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., Hawkins says he is eager to learn more ways to implement lean manufacturing strategies and techniques that will help U.S. manufacturing compete with low labor sources.
“All manufacturers have had to deal with the globalization of manufacturing and the supply chain,” Hawkins tells APPLIANCE. “These circumstances are not unexpected but have required manufacturers to reevaluate their core competencies, develop strategies to take advantage of low labor markets and accelerate the rate at which domestic operations continuously improve.”
Although admittedly driven by results when asked about his management style, Hawkins says achieving concrete results is possible through a company’s employees and believes this is evident in his leadership style. “I make it a point to include the people responsible for the nuts and bolts work,” he says. “A large part of my job is to clear the field so they can use their talents to accomplish the goals of the organization.”
In fact, one of the most valuable experiences in his career was leading a facility that had to redefine its mission in a challenging market environment. According to Hawkins, the employees worked together to retool the plant, retrain themselves and implement new manufacturing techniques. As a result, the company reported double-digit growth for several years, stemming from improvements in productivity, quality, inventory turns, and customer service levels, Hawkins says.
“You should never underestimate what people can do. People can do amazing things if given half the chance. When respected for what they know, challenged and included in the process, [employees] will achieve remarkable results,” Hawkins says. “I always include as many levels of the organization as possible when setting goals and objectives, because when you have employees’ agreement, you can be very confident that the goals will be achieved.”
Currently responsible for all manufacturing operations, purchasing and warehousing, logistics, and the supply chain at Bodine, Hawkins says he is looking forward to helping the company continue to implement and improve its strategic plans to help it remain competitive and will start by implementing lean manufacturing initiatives, which are currently underway.
When Hawkins isn’t working to ensure the next level of manufacturing results are achieved by way of a strong employee base, he enjoys seeing his own results in outdoor activities including fishing and occasionally by dabbling in the game of golf.

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
Bodine Electric Company

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