As an executive running a molding shop, when is the last time you stood in your office, and threw fistfuls of dollar bills out the window? That's crazy, you say - you marshal and guard your resources very carefully. Think again. You may be wasteful and not even realize it.
Consider this: A nationwide survey of custom and captive injection molders conducted last year for the SPI Molders Division revealed that 63 percent of the 450 responding firms offered formal training programs for their employees. However, of those offering such programs, nearly half said they did not have a process for evaluating their training efforts.
Many firms do not measure the knowledge or skill levels of employees before investing time and money to train them. And many have no way of measuring afterward whether the worker honed any skills or retained any useful knowledge from the training sessions. In other words, you could be investing significantly in a training program that is yielding few, if any, real dividends. And you wouldn't have a clue.
Consider also that the survey indicated those firms with training programs usually invest 10-70 hours per year in training each production employee or, on average, $100-$700 per worker.
Starting to get visions of $50 bills wafting down from the window of your executive suite?
As reported last week, it is such realizations that led 87 percent of survey respondents to say they feel some degree of need for a job-skills certification program for their shop-floor employees. There is no doubt the need is real.
That is why the current effort by SPI's Molders Division merits your attention and support - regardless of whether you are a processor, or a supplier of materials or equipment.
Though directed initially at injection molders, processors of all types eventually should be able to use the core of this certification program as the springboard for their own sector's specialized job skills and tasks. Benefits will include: increasing competitive advantage, validating training expenses, providing benchmarks for hiring, boosting productivity, clarifying career development paths, and improving the industry's ability to attract and retain qualified workers.
Suppliers will realize different, yet significant benefits from a properly administered processor certification program. For example, better-trained materials and machinery users should help suppliers reduce customer-service and warranty-claim costs, while maximizing product performance.
To date, a handful of industry officials have led the charge to get this program up and running. To reach the next level, more will have to jump on board - by contributing not only modest funds but also possibly the time of your workers to participate in the process defining job tasks and skills.
Do your part and contribute. This is a win-win proposition for shop-floor workers and management alike. This initiative provides the plastics industry a golden opportunity not only to address an area of concern, but also to shine as a progressive industry setting a standard for others to emulate.
If you shun the opportunity, you just may be throwing money out the window.