When it comes to manufacturing, Cardinal Scale’s Scale Shop Supervisor Dustin Benefiel says work is all about the drive. The drive to take basic materials and create a quality finished product.
“It’s how things change, and how we overcome obstacles to get something done,” says Dustin, who came to Cardinal Scale in November of 2021.
Dustin got his start in manufacturing as a machinist at Leggett & Platt where he worked for 12 years. After a career shift into agriculture (milking 1,000 cows in a dairy operation) Benefiel shifted back to manufacturing to oversee Cardinal’s Scale Shop.
“Coming to Cardinal Scale, they made it clear that there was an opportunity to improve quality and for change,” says Dustin. “Cardinal has been very open to do whatever we need to do to improve the flow to keep customers happy.”
And keeping customers happy is all about building quality scales and delivering those scales in a timely manner, on schedule. Dustin says organization, keeping the workplace clean, and optimizing the flow of products are among the most important things he focuses on day-to-day.
“We are moving in the right direction,” says Dustin. “We are expanding, we keep improving production, and we are working to maintain a small backlog so that when a customer calls and places an order for a scale we can get it out as quickly as possible.”
Of course, for Dustin, having the proper work/home balance is important too. While most of his work hours are spent indoors in Cardinal’s Scale Shop, a lot of his time away from work is spent outdoors, looking after the beef cattle at his Carthage, MO farm, or hunting and fishing with his family. Dustin and his wife Tennille have three sons, Kyler, 24; Brayden, 20; and Blayne, 15.
“We go to Table Rock Lake a lot,” says Dustin, who says for him, hunting and fishing isn’t about shooting the biggest animal as a trophy mount or taking a big expensive fishing trip to an exotic location. “For me it’s about time with the family,” he says while showing off pictures of fish hooked with the family at a local farm pond. “I just enjoy the time away. The reset of getting away from everything.”
That weekend reset helps Dustin keep an open, fresh attitude as he leads the Scale Shop during the week, when they all work together to build livestock scales and truck scales.
“The best part of my job is my team,” says Dustin. “I’ve got a great team and they do a fantastic job keeping things going.”
The Scale Shop recently received brand-new robotic welders for truck scale production, which are reliable and fast, and help Cardinal keep up with growing demand in a tight labor market. But Dustin says that just as valuable are Cardinal’s veteran employees, who have seen a lot of changes in the way scales are made and have the experience to find the right opportunities for improvements. “I have several employees who have been here a long time,” says Dustin. “We lean on these guys for their expertise in the stuff they’ve done for many years. But young guys are important here, too. They come up with new ideas and we think ‘We should have done this years ago.’”
“We have some young people here with good futures in fabrication,” says Dustin. “They are going to do well.”
Cardinal Plant Manager Don Beason is very happy with the progress he has seen in the Scale Shop over the last 18 months. “Dustin is a hard worker and has streamlined the flow of parts and has increased scale shop production,” says Don. “He takes pride in his work and wants to succeed in everything he does.”
Under Dustin’s leadership, Cardinal is positioned not just to succeed today, but to continue to lead in the scale industry for years to come.