Top 10 Employee Training Tools


Top 10 Employee Training Tools

Let's begin a look at the top ten
training needs for component manufacturers.

Finding and retaining employees is a significant challenge. There are several facets to this issue: identifying a pool of viable candidates; convincing them the component manufacturing industry is a valuable career option; and, providing a great work environment so they don’t jump ship when the work becomes difficult or they are approached with a slightly better offer. Your workforce development approach is a key part of your overall strategic business plan. Finding the right people to fit into your culture and work inside your team structure is a process each company must establish on its own. If you find a good source of employees that fit your business, it makes sense that you would want to keep that knowledge proprietary.

Identifying that good source of employees is first and foremost about establishing relationships within your community. It starts with getting to know high school guidance counselors, administrators and industrial arts teachers; giving presentations to drafting students at local community colleges; and reaching out to local workforce development boards and employment offices. Building these relationships is a proven long-term solution to finding the quality candidates you need when you have a job opening. The only problem is that it is a longer-term solution, and doesn’t typically produce job applicants overnight. Yet, if you have an immediate hiring need, a few quick calls to schools in your community may yield surprisingly positive results.

In the short term, if you haven’t built these relationships, temporary staffing agencies and/or an outside consulting service like those offered through SBCA’s Consulting Services program may be a viable alternative. The goal of SBCA’s Consulting Services program is to help serve your best interests through the relationships and tools at their disposal to find and attract applicants.

Another important issue is convincing potential applicants that a career in this industry is worthy and rewarding. You must show a commitment to their need for growth. Making an overt and continual commitment to formal and on-the-job training goes a long way toward keeping your employees effective, efficient and satisfied. Providing continual training and professional growth opportunities not only strengthens your workforce, but it also makes a huge difference in retaining your valuable employees when they get offers from elsewhere.

The good news is that offering employee training is very simple. It doesn’t have to take a huge financial or time investment, and you don’t even have to create it yourself. In upcoming issues of SBC Magazine, we are going to look at the top ten training needs for component manufacturers, walk through the issues associated with each of those training needs, and provide guidance on industry best practices for offering basic through advanced training in each of the areas outlined below.

The good news is that, in almost every one of these areas, SBCA has created both formal and informal training tools to help component manufacturers focus their training efforts and get the most out of each training session. We will pull generously from these programs, and use a lot of photos and illustrations to help capture the vision of what your employee training programs can look like.

Training won’t help you find employees, but once you’ve found them, it sure can help you keep them and turn them into an impressive truss and wall panel production machine. Likewise, continual professional development can go a long way in maintaining employee retention. If your company makes training a part of its strategic plan, you will find your employees want to be a part of that success.

Production Training
We will cover basic skills production employees need to have as they start out at the plant. We will also explore some bad habits veteran staff members must avoid.

Housekeeping is a huge issue for OSHA inspectors. Safe collection and disposal of sawdust, as well as the elimination of other debris that may negatively impact safety, will be covered in detail.

Safety Communication
Creating an environment of safety doesn’t just happen. It takes not only a dedicated set of procedures and formal trainings; it takes daily reminders and informal discussions on safe practices. Communicating hazards effectively is a good way to mitigate the potential for accidents and ensure your employees have each other’s backs.

Quality Control
Beyond implementing a formal QC program, it’s important to use the data collected through the inspections to provide targeted feedback to the production process. One aspect of the QC program is finding and fixing mistakes; the other part is using the program as a manufacturing process improvement, training and management information tool. Identifying areas of opportunity to improve your company’s quality through-put will improve your production process and profitability.

Material Handling
With all the work that goes into designing and producing each component, it’s vital they are handled and stored properly in the yard to avoid damage to joints or members before they are delivered safely to the customer. We will cover forklift training, storage basics and cargo loading.

Driver Training
Component delivery drivers have a wide array of responsibilities beyond operating a commercial motor vehicle. They are responsible for loading, securing cargo, unloading at the jobsite and being the company’s representative at the jobsite. We will cover everything from driver basics to jobsite best practices.

Reading Construction Documents The component industry is full of complex documentation, from blueprints and truss design drawings to bids and contracts. Reading these documents and knowing what to look for is a key to doing an assigned job well. We will discuss some of the most common mistakes typically made and highlight areas that need close attention.

Designer Training
Effective truss designer training is one of the most challenging and important aspects of the component manufacturing business because a great deal of the value you provide to your customers relies on the strength of your design work. Effective training is, therefore, key to the success of your business.

Sales Training
Your sales force not only needs to understand the truss design and production process, they also need to be adept at understanding contracts and appreciating the company’s liability position. Above all, they must have the ability to communicate the company’s value proposition effectively in the marketplace to differentiate you from your competition and grow your market share.

Networking Basics
While not essential for producing a high quality product, much like with sales, training your key employees on how to reach out to your community effectively can pay significant dividends in the long run through greater market acceptance of your products and greater sales opportunities.