Luxembourg-based International Automotive Components Group reports that its first China-based training center has achieved a major impact on employee turnover.
IAC, the third largest automotive interior components supplier in the world by market share, is working on plans to expand the China training model on a global scale.
The training center is located in the IAC China Changshu plant near Shanghai. The plant opened in 2014 and in its first year experienced difficulties because the local labor force had mainly been working in the garment industry.
In order to tackle the challenges, IAC launched a training center last year with an investment of $100,000.
“We decided to establish a training center to help us have more trained labor for the [Changshu] plant and help improve our turnover rate. It was decided it would help us improve our quality level,” China Operations Director and Changshu Plant General Manager Chen Yi said in a phone interview with Plastics News. The company leveraged input from their customers, training experience from its Indian facility, as well as outside consulting companies.
The model provides three days of preliminary training for new employees with a dual purpose — placing new employees as well as screening out applicants who are not a good fit. “After ‘students' complete the process, we are better able to match their best physical and mental performance skills with the type of job they would be best at on the production line,” Chen said.
Chen said the turnover rate has been cut in half since establishing the training center. “Before the training center was established, it took us over 3 months to train the people to actually catch up to the speed and quality requirements of our customer. The turnover rate was 20 percent. The turnover rate right now is below 10 percent,” he said.
The training model is being rolled out in IAC's other China plants. The Hangzhou plant has begun training and Chongqing is scheduled to start this month. “The only difference is that each plant has its individual processes so they might choose the most important skills and process training for their training center,” Chen said.
IAC also is considering expanding the training provided at each plant. “When we actually initially started, [the training] was several basic skill sets which we thought were most important at that time. Every year we review because every year there are skills to be added or removed. We are working on how to better judge or evaluate the results with manufacturing data quality data. We still need to add more sessions because almost all the operators have taken one round of the training. We should further think about next steps of training, not just basic but also upgrading. Those are under further development,” Chen said.
In addition to the reduction of labor force turnover, Chen said data also shows improvement in performance, speed to customer, and quality level, including audit score and parts per minute.
IAC is considering replicating the China training model globally, including at the company's Czech Republic plant. “They're going to build a new plant to build door panels for European customers. They will build a training center there,” Chen said.