Redzone was founded by Mark Sutcliffe in 2013 with a bold vision to transform manufacturing performance; while bringing dignity back to the frontline worker. Early in Mark’s career he routinely observed the hidden talents in frontline teams being overlooked as valuable human assets and was frustrated by ill-suited technologies (ERP, MES, CMMS) that were mechanistic in design, forced in from the top down and clumsily introduced on the plant floor. Mark knew there was a better way. With a lifetime spent studying team performance and human behavior, Mark became fascinated by the science of Complex Adaptive Systems and saw how core elements of this science could be productized in an industrial setting, using social-mobile digital technology and 90-day bursts of change.
Mark asked Richard Tester and Jon Clement to join, as founding members, to help bring this vision to life and the trio brought the unique frontline collaboration technology to the first customers in 2014 with miraculous results from their manufacturing red zone.
A manufacturing red zone?
The red zone refers to the last 20 yards before the end zone on an NFL football field. Statistically it’s the area of the field from where most touchdowns are scored. Offenses and defenses change strategy in real time; players adapt together in the moment; and games are ultimately won or lost from the red zone. The space where the differential advantage of a team’s self-organizing adaptive behavior wins the game.
Just as on a football field, there is a red zone in manufacturing – on the plant floor while the line is running. Your players are your front-line teams who own your differential advantage. You win the production day when they call the manufacturing plays in real time; avoiding downtime or quality losses when the unexpected strikes. Managers and planners assume these unexpected production losses are a norm; unavoidable since you can’t plan for the unexpected, right? Dead wrong! It is the one thing you can be sure is going to happen, and every day you can be equally sure that your frontline teams can avoid most of them…for good! In fact, with the right plays codified into the Redzone Connected Workforce Solution, your frontline team can adapt in the moment, call new plays, avoid hazards and get output back in the green when the unexpected strikes to win the day – self-organizing without management intervention.
The Redzone story
Early users quickly broke production records with some producing 20-30% more cases and getting double digit gross margin gains. We called these Productivity Miracles. But something else unexpected happened…their frontline teams were happier! It was common to hear “it’s a different world around here”. The shyest of operators suddenly came forward, excited to share new ideas to do things better; the production supervisor, who once ruled with an iron fist, was instead coaching; maintenance and production, usually in conflict, were now talking and working on the same problems as a team. As plant teams celebrated these achievements in town hall meetings they became a signature moment of every customers 90-day Redzone leap.
Soon, these plants were their town’s destination employers: retention problems disappeared and a pipeline of human talent emerged from their own frontlines. It was these personal stories of transformation that spread through the industry from leader to leader. With barely a dollar spent on marketing, food and CPG plants started adopting this new digital technology at an unprecedented rate.
A better way becomes the Redzone way
We don’t know quite when our people started to call themselves Redzoners, or who started it, but we know what makes a Redzoner and it’s an obsession with these results. It’s the extraordinary discipline to stick to the formula in the software for these Productivity Miracles and the new adaptive teamwork technology, which make your frontline workers truly miracle workers. Driving change at scale, week in week out and bringing dignity and smiling faces back to the workplace energizes not only our Redzone industry coaches, but the entire company; from product engineering to sales and marketing. It’s why we love what we do; it’s what makes Redzoners…Redzoners!
From method to miracle (and then a mission)
In 2019, after 5 years of relentless focus, with adjustments to the recipe and deliberate practice we hit a new milestone. Customers with 20% or more productivity improvement went from some in 2014 to most in 2019 with 7 out of 10 new customers celebrating this Productivity Miracle; a record that continues year in, year out to this day. The user base grew rapidly as plants shared their productivity miracle stories with one another. Likeminded leaders emerged and the Redzone Community was born; with regional events, benchmarking sessions and coach clinics creating the space to learn and share with each other.
The biggest event of the community year, the annual Redzone Community Awards, hosted alongside PMMI’s Pack Expo, became the hottest ticket in town! As the community grew it felt less like a method and more like a mission for us Redzoners. It became our purpose to change how work is done; better for the frontline, and better for the bottom line.
Like a best kept secret we have grown exponentially, despite spending almost nothing on marketing. After many exciting years, and profitable and debt free since day one, Redzone is now the biggest, fastest growing manufacturing technology company in frontline teamwork and productivity; with over 278,000 workers in 850+ plants teamworking every day. Since 1 in 3 of the top 100 NA food & beverage manufacturers are already customers, and with 200 new plants joining each year, and a miraculous 7 out of 10 increasing productivity by 20% through this adaptive teamwork, we are changing the operating norms in manufacturing, and will soon hit our first 1,000 plant landmark.
With offices in Miami FL, Denver CO, and our International Center of Excellence in Birmingham UK, we choreograph a globally distributed workforce that can reach you wherever you may be. This allows us to pass on the systemic benefits to your people through the proper application of technology and process, but with a personal touch. Relationships matter, context matters, and our federated organization ensures we keep it personal.
Give your frontline team the advantage in your manufacturing red zone and experience your own productivity miracle!