Wooster Brush Company Host Chapter for a Facility Tour

In the early morning hours of October 24, 2018 a group of chapter members and guests traveled from around North Central Ohio and converged on the Wooster Brush Company just off U.S. 30 in Wooster, Ohio.

While enjoying the fresh donuts and coffee provided, attendees watched a short video on the Company's history. Vice President Keith Hancock welcomed the guests to Wooster and provided some additional history and information on the Company. Attendees learned of the humble beginnings spurred by a purchase of unclaimed hog hair at an auction in Cincinnati. The founder Adam Foss used his purchase to hand make brushes and sell them door to door throughout the state.

Mr. Hancock then introduced Steve Workman, C.P.M. to give the group an in depth talk about the world today from a Purchasing point of view. He discussed logistics of import containers and being able to control the freight with more visibility while being able to understand what is causing delays. He stressed the importance of understanding the flow of materials and what can impact their movement. Mr. Workman also spoke about tariffs and how they are currently affecting Wooster. Material availability limitations and trucking were among other topics discussed as well as the following of Child Labor Laws and Proposition 65 compliance in California which requires labeling of finished goods if a possible link to cancer causing agents in the material. Steve discussed customer audits and how to prepare to conduct them. He encouraged the group to embrace millennials and learn their mindset to give them the motivation to perform what may be an old job in a new manner. Lastly, he spoke about supplier relations and how it is easy to get frustrated with the day to day things we are faced with. As professionals, we need to break down the problem and figure out how to manage the resolution 

After the presentations, attendees donned safety glasses and wireless headsets and embarked on the tour of the Company's Roller and Brush Division  that is part of its over 888,000 square feet of manufacturing, warehousing, shipping and administrative facilities. Led by one of Wooster's engineers, Steve Tennant, the group saw brush bristles being skillfully laid out by hand to feed into the machinery producing brushes, fiber mat being cut to size an attached to sized 2 ply polypropylene cores to produce rollers and so much more. Due to the specialized nature of the company's manufacturing processes, much of the equipment used is manufactured in house by their experienced staff of engineers, fabricators and maintenance staff who were all hard at work as the tour group passed through their work shop. A stop in the testing lab provided a quick education on product testing and the advantages of selecting the proper brush or roller material for the job as well as how a good quality brush provides better results.

With a great deal of their products being distributed through retail contractor and home improvement stores, eye catching and quality packaging is a must. The Wooster Brush Company accomplishes this by having their own print shop on site. As the Chapter Group passed through the presses were running at full speed turning out labeling and packaging. The final stop of the tour was the company's own History Museum. A large room with walls lined of company memorabilia greeted the guest. The large trunk that was once packed full of brushes and used by the door to door salesmen caught everyone's eye and led to all wondering how anyone could lug it around day after day.

Returning to the training room where the morning had begun, attendees were each recipients of an authentic Wooster Brush as a gift from the company. The group departed understanding more about the company and a new appreciation for the quality products that have been manufactured in Wooster, Ohio for the past 167 years!

Thanks to the employees of Wooster Brush for spending their morning with APICS - North Central Ohio Chapter and sharing their kindness, smiles and knowledge.

Special thanks to those who organized the event:
Ben Baker, CPIM - Wooster Brush Employee and APICS Member
Scott Hinton, CPIM - Wooster Brush Employee and APICS Member