June 2023 PIE Winner: Clayton Bean Station

Learn about Clayton Bean Station’s really cool idea: install air conditioning!

There were skeptics when the Clayton Bean Station team first posed the idea of air conditioning the massive 134,000 square foot space. But the team’s persistence paid off, earning the facility the Clayton Home Building Group June 2023 Process Improvement Event (PIE) award and, most importantly, creating a cooler and safer working environment for the Clayton Bean Station team members.

Clayton Bean Station installs air conditioning units

Start with the “Why”

Process Improvement Coordinator Bill Breiding says that among the many reasons for air conditioning Clayton Bean Station, a few stood out:

  • Above all, address team member safety and comfort. Clayton Bean Station wanted to Be a home by providing team members, many of whom have physically demanding jobs, a more comfortable work environment with reduced risk of heat-related injuries.

  • Increase team member recruitment and retention by making the facility a more desirable place to work.

  • Decreased drywall dry time. Because Clayton Bean Station builds all drywall homes, dryer air in the facility means a quicker dry time for drywall mud, which in turn decreases home construction time.

Making Preparation

The project to install air conditioning at Clayton Bean Station took nearly two years. Breiding says the planning and preparation stages took the longest but were key to the project’s success.

Bids were collected from air conditioning companies for equipment and installation, and from electrical companies for necessary upgrades. Local contractors made minor required building alterations. Approvals were secured along the way.

Clayton Bean Station Air Conditioner 1


Installing the air conditioning system went smoothly after the careful preparation. Issues were quickly resolved, and team members were thrilled to feel the cool air blowing! Remarkably, the production line was never shut down or even slowed.

Innovative New Doors

Along with air conditioning, Clayton Bean Station installed eight new speed doors to keep the cool air in the facility. Older rollup doors require a remote control and take enough time to open and close that a significant amount of air conditioning is lost. The new, advanced doors open and close automatically when sensing traffic and operate about three times more quickly than the current ones. The new doors are a big plus to Bean Station’s forklift operators, too!

Clayton Bean Station new roll-up doors

A Surprising Benefit

With state-of-the-art air conditioning in place, you might expect to see larger power bills at the facility. However, the power bills have actually been lower! Surprisingly, the 18 supersized exhaust fans used to move air around the facility prior to air conditioning cost more to run than the new air conditioning units. What a bonus!

Measuring Success

Breiding describes two measurements that show improved conditions at the facility: indoor versus outdoor air temperature, and humidity levels. With air conditioning, air temperatures inside Clayton Bean Station now run about 10 - 15 degrees cooler than the outside temperature. What a nice improvement, especially on those hot summer days. Humidity indoors has also been reduced significantly, a tremendous difference in team member comfort.

Congratulations, Clayton Bean Station, on this achievement and on your June 2023 PIE award!

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