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Southern Missouri Containers, Inc

Labor Shortage and Ever-changing Technology Challenging for Manufacturers

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Southern Missouri Containers, Inc. (SMC Packaging Group) has partnered with Bobbi Box at Ozarks Technical Community College’s Center for Workforce Development (OTC-CWD) to implement customized training. The two organizations work together to identify and define challenges, develop solutions and show how results are measured.

The Challenges

While there are many challenges facing manufacturers, the current labor shortage and keeping up with changes in technology are two of the most critical.

Because of these challenges, SMC and the OTC-CWD Business Solutions Team have developed and implemented a training program to help upskill employees on the technology being used at SMC.

SMC is increasingly automated and keeping maintenance technicians abreast of the numerous and sometimes rapid changes in that technology is vital. Knowing how to run and maintain these machines is critical to the plant running efficiently.

SMC recently relocated operations, which resulted in increased production capacity and created a need for additional staff in the near future.

The Training

“We’re unique in the training world because all of our solutions are customized,” said Cary Charles, Director of Business Development at Ozarks Technical Community College Center for Workforce Development.

“We don’t sell canned training products. We sit down with our clients to develop training solutions that address their unique challenges.”

Working with Mark McNay, Senior Vice President – General Manager at SMC and other staff members, Bobbi Box put together a comprehensive performance solutions package that includes training in the following areas:


Intermediate and Advanced Electrical and Troubleshooting

Hydraulics and Pneumatics

Compressed Air Ultrasound Leakage Detection

Electrical Safety

Programmable Logic Controls (PLC)

The most recently implemented training— electrical troubleshooting—is a key piece in keeping everything running smoothly. “SMC maintenance technicians have a solid foundation in electrical training and use that to maximize production and minimize downtime,” Charles said.

Compressed Air Ultrasound Leakage Detection training will begin in March. “Even the tiniest leak in a machine can adversely impact costs and efficiency,” said Charles, noting that one leaky hose could cost a company $50,000- $60,000 per year.

Executing a solutions package of this size is a huge undertaking, especially for a plant that runs three shifts.

“OTC helped SMC develop, implement, and train to these solutions,” McNay said. “They then follow up periodically to ensure that the projected outcomes are obtained and are sustainable."

The Results

With much of manufacturing headed toward automation, it’s crucial that maintenance technicians are well trained to keep equipment operating at a high level, reducing downtime and increasing efficiency. For SMC, this performance solutions package has resulted in better trained technicians and that means a better bottom line.

"We have partnered with the OTC-CWD Business Solutions Team for several years,” McNay said. “They've been great to work with on training initiatives within our administrative, manufacturing and maintenance departments. Their level of professionalism and their connection to our co-workers makes for effective and long-lasting results."

Year after year, the OTC-CWD Business Solutions Team and SMC continue to work together, building on the foundation that has been established. “There’s a lot of trust and understanding of their business model,” Charles noted. “The extra customized and personalized care that we put into the training is what sustains our relationship.”

Phone: 417-447-8902

Fax: 417-732-1985


Top Executives: Sherry Coker, Executive Director Cary Charles, Director of Business Development

Year Founded: 1991

Number of Employees: 6

Product or Service: Performance-Driven Training, Coaching, and Consulting Solutions


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