PRADCO Fishing opened its new manufacturing break room this week to cap off a major building re-purposing project to increase production while maintaining social distancing protocols.
It has been operating seven days a week for the past six months with a 24-hour operation from Monday to Thursday and 12-hour shifts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The employment level for production at the Fort Smith facility has exceeded 360 team members, an increase of 240 employees since March 2020.
As demand for fishing lures and terminal tackle has continued to escalate in the U.S. and key international sport fishing markets, PRADCO has continued to scale up to serve its customer and consumer bases. At the same time, it has maintained a commitment to the safety of its team members by expanding the manufacturing footprint into several parts of its main building.
To help ensure six feet of distance between all team members while working, PRADCO has created new manufacturing space in areas that were previously used for quality control, material storage and employee breaks. The new break room was created in a space that formerly housed offices for IT, Customer Service and Engineering.
The new break room features individual tables and chairs that are distanced six feet apart so PRADCO team members can safely take breaks and eat meals. The new break room also features a new epoxy floor, five new microwaves, a new fresh food service, new industrial grade tables and cabinets, a new ice and water machine and dedicated space for a nursing room, an infirmary and two computer rooms housing four computers for employee use.
“Our Number one objective this fiscal year is the safety and well being of our team members,” said PRADCO Fishing Vice President and General Manager, Bruce Stanton. “I’m extremely proud of our team’s ability to identify areas in our building that could be re-purposed and then executing it in short order. Scaling up during a pandemic is so much different than at other times because of the distancing.
“I also appreciate our office staff, which has mostly been working from home since March. Because we are re-purposing nearly 10,000 square feet of our building, we won’t have the same office set-up going forward. So officing from home for some folks will probably be more normal as we go forward.”
PRADCO manufactures most of its YUM soft plastics, all Thill balsa float products, a large portion of its Bobby Garland soft plastics and a large array of its hard bait bodies in Fort Smith.
PRADCO also has a facility in Amatitlan, Guatemala, where its hard baits are transformed into finished goods. Current employment level there is 320, which is up 60 from March 2020.
PRADCO Fishing is a part of Birmingham, Alabama-based PRADCO Outdoor Brands and is the marketer of top fishing brands including: Arbogast, Bandit, Bobby Garland, Bomber, BOOYAH, Cotton Cordell, Crappie Pro, Creek Chub, Gene Larew, Heddon, Lindy, Little Joe, Norman, Rebel, Smithwick, Thill, War Eagle and YUM.