La Habra, Calif. — Vip Rubber and Plastic Co. has taken on-the-job training of its employees to a new level.
With an eye on continuous companywide improvement, the firm launched a university-style system in June that gives employees, without exception, access to various training modules aimed at advancing their skills and capabilities. The idea was to create a means to train everyone at Vip continuously, said Howard Vipperman, president of the custom rubber and plastics goods maker.
Employees make the choice to train in each area.
"We want to recognize employees who seek to improve skills by going above and beyond, rising to additional tiers of proficiency," he said.
"We have created a path for employees to easily access training material and achieve growth," Vipperman said. "Our model is about education, but it is really about competency so we can deliver a better customer, and employee, experience."
All time spent training via the university is on-the-clock, according to Cindy LeClair, vice president of marketing. Employees are paid their hourly rates while they train.
She said the training system delivers improvement and more expertise in manufacturing, customer service and adherence to AS9100 Revision D quality standards.
Vip University was created to coincide with the transition of the firm from AS9100 Rev. C certification to the updated AS9100 Rev. D standard in August. AS9100 is recognized globally as the leading standard for aerospace management systems.
While the La Habra headquartered firm was preparing for the transition, "we started thinking about the university and how it would help employees grow in the company," LeClair said.
Vice President Bernardyne Campana then built a system that tracks employees' training progress. "We wanted a dedicated place to manage our extensive training materials," she said.
"It started out as a knowledge base, including control documents for our quality management system, and evolved into Vip University, which addresses the importance of quality and training materials," she said.
On the manufacturing side, training includes rubber extrusion, molded rubber, rubber sheet, plastic extrusion, plastic pipe and fabrication. Training is available for everyone, including positions such as forklift drivers and quality personnel, the company said.
As an incentive, Vip University distributes diplomas to employees as they move up the competency ladder.
Employees have the option to attain advanced training at their own speed without pressure from management. Other training, such as classes that deal with safety and other immediate issues, will continue to be mandatory in order to ensure the welfare of employees is protected, the firm said.
Vip University provides a simple way to track production and customer service competency levels, the firm said.
"In addition to being a knowledge base, our university tracks and saves training history," Campana said. Once employees complete a training class, it will be added to their portfolios.