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Friday, July 26, 2013

USA Company Avoids Workforce Skills Shortage

How to avoid US workforce skills shortage.

CNC Plasma Cam
CNC Plasma Cam
We can all learn from the example how one USA company avoids the workforce skills shortage, (Fastenal of La Crosse, WI). Below is an excerpt from Tim Borkowski's, (VP of Manufacturing for Fastenal) post as a reply in one of the LinkedIn discussions.

Tim Borkowski • "If you are a manufacturer and need skilled labor you will have to be pro-active and invest in your future employees. We recruit in area High Schools in a 50 mile radius of all of our Manufacturing facilities. We offer a sponsorship program where the student will get 30 hours a week of OJT will attending the local Technical school. The student pays the tuition up front so there is a personal commitment and no free rides. The students must maintain a "B" average and we monitor their attendance. After completion of a two year program we hire them full time and reimburse their tuition in six month increments for the next two years. During the two years after graduation they are assigned a mentor and a rotating schedule so that they get experience on all areas of our manufacturing floor. Our retention rate at the end of this four years is 99%. If an area High School provides us with 4 candidates or more we re-invest in that High School by donating a CNC Plasma Cam to the school so that they can expose High School students to present Technology. This has been an excellent program for us. I can't wait for someone else to educate our employees. Our Facilities are short run, safety critical fasteners and machined parts where we produce over 7,500 different jobs per month."

My own 'out of the box' idea... Local high schools, community colleges and companies team up to build a local community micro-manufacturing facility (non-profit) that produces supplies needed for local high schools and community colleges on demand. Local high school adding shelves or even an extra room? Local community micro-manufacturing facility (LCMM) can produce angle brackets to save school money, produce desk, chairs, rulers, pencil holder, hinges, etc. Because the LCMM is non-profit, doesn't have marketing and packaging expenses, raw material donated tax deductible  the community saves. but most important, the student working at their LCMM learn valuable skills.

Don (Follow me on Industrial Skills Training Blog and on Twitter @IndTraining .) Be sure to to stay on top!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

LEAN Maintenance Practices

LEAN Maintenance Practices

The Industrial Maintenance Black Belt, A Look at the Current Supply and Demand.

The future demand for the Industrial Maintenance Black Belt is around the corner. I know, you say "What?". Is American manufacturing on the upswing, or is it still declining? There are headlines describing how more factories have moved their operations to China and farther afield. Then we see articles on the re-shoring of manufacturing and increasing output here in the U.S. What explains this contradiction? The answer is: automation.

The United States has followed Japan's lead in automating its factories. Instead of a facility with thousands of people, we see retooled facilities with thousands of robots, pick and place machines and automated inspection equipment. This equipment represents a massive shift from human capital to capital expenditures. Since the manufacturing equipment is much more expensive and far more costly when it stops running, industrial maintenance becomes all the more important. A facility full of robots still needs to be maintained. And optimization of maintenance resources has a fantastic ROI. While automation has decreased the need for unskilled labor in the factory, it will increase the demand for the industrial maintenance black belt. Companies with distributed manufacturing will hire industrial maintenance black belts to keep their production lines humming. And professionals with industrial maintenance black belts will see demand for their skills rise as the need for them improves.

To prepare, we need to ask the question ...

Click above or see to learn the barriers we need to overcome. Please comment below with your insight, your take on this.

Don (Follow me on Industrial Skills Training Blog and on Twitter @IndTraining .) Be sure to to stay on top!