A Manufacturing Day spotlight on largest manufacturer in city.
With a work force of 325, Sheboygan, Wisc.-based Rockline Industries is celebrating its 10th year of creating baby wipes in Booneville.
The company began operation in the former home of Wolverine Toy Company, a 1.2 million square foot building on Highway 10 east of Booneville in 2007 with plans of employing about 100.
Instead, today they are a community leader with more triple the original expectations.
“Rockline is nearing its 10th anniversary in Booneville. The site leadership team as well as all our associates, have established quite a positive footprint and influence within the community,” said global vice president Nick Santoleri. “Its leadership of Relay for Life, United Way campaign, and endless selflessness of giving to and contributing toward the community, is what Rockline is known for and proud of.
“Rockline is a good corporate citizen and community partner. We hope everyone agrees with our position.”
It would be difficult to dispute.
Following the loss of 800-plus jobs to a 2008 Easter Sunday fire at the Cargill meat packing plant, the company ramped up production and expected to have a work force of 225, but has continued to grow.
“We continue to be encouraged by the level of individuals that we are able to attract and retain in our Booneville facility,” said Santoleri. “As we have grown beyond our expectations, this becomes even more important and critical to our success here in Booneville.”
Employees are also working in a climate controlled environment.
“Each (product) line in the facility is now contained within a climate controlled, air filtered, positive pressure environment, designed to heighten the level of quality by which the wipes are manufactured,” said Santoleri.
Although baby wipes are the primary product produced in Booneville, adult continent wipes represent about 5 percent of the product production, Santoleri said.
Growth at the plant has not only been in terms of employees but in use of the facility itself. Never did management expect to utilize the entire facility. Nonetheless the entire facility is now spoken for with about 45 percent by manufacturing, 50 percent for a distribution center with the remaining 5 percent leased.
Baby wipes shipped out of the distribution center are likely on a shelf near you.
“Rockline baby wipes that are either manufactured or distributed out of Booneville, are private branded and can be found in almost every retailer in the USA, as well as select retailers in Australia, Canada, and South America,” said Santoleri.
The distribution center actually went online prior to the plant opening and serves as the distribution point for almost all of the company’s North American products, which also include a line of coffee filters.
One of the primary lessees is Arkansas Tech University-Ozark, who operates a training center and has offered collegiate classes.
“Within the education environment, Rockline continues to be a positive influence advancing the technology knowledge of our students, taking a leadership position, developing, sponsoring, mentoring, and helping to execute the high school’s Robotics initiative,” said Santoleri.
The program was launched after Santoleri pledged a $5,000 seed matching grant to the program at a Chamber of Commerce banquet. First Western Bank immediately provided the match.
Employee Safety, Energy Conscious
Rockline is also an incredibly safe working environment.
The local site was recently recognized by the Arkansas Department of Labor for attaining six years without a time lost accident or illness.
In June The company’s Springdale facility surpassed the 8 million lost time work free plateau, becoming one of only 10 in the history of the state to do so, Santoleri said.
Rockline has also been increasingly energy and environment conscious throughout its time in Booneville going as far as powering its entrance sign with solar energy.
“We have operating on site what is believed to be two of the largest single geothermal HVAC systems in the country,” said Santoleri. “Additionally, every light in the facility was replaced with either a motion, high efficient fluorescent, or a high bay LED high lumen output fixture, saving over 70 percent of the energy of the original fixtures that were installed in the facility and replaced.”
According to its website Rockline, a family-owned company that launched in 1976, Rockline operated three facilities in Arkansas — Russellville is the third — Sheboygan, Montville, N.J., Redditch, England, and South China.
The company’s mission is “Inspiring customer loyalty by turning ideas into convenience products delivering superior value.” It’s vision statement reads: Be recognized by our customers as the best net value supplier in the categories where we compete.