Proactive Technologies Report – April, 2017

Proactive Technologies Announces Significant Discount Program – March 10th to April 30th, 2017!

Free “No-Risk” Consultation Session – Witness Approach for One of Your Specific Job Classifications Before You Decide

by Proactive Technologies, Inc. Staff

Due to the success of our last discount offer, and many requests from companies that could not act before the end of the last discount offer in 2016, Proactive Technologies Inc. is once again extending a generous discount offer of up to 50% to employers from March 10th to April 3oth, 2017!

This accelerated transfer of expertise™ approach is a tremendous offer without the discount, but with it can help any employer quickly and completely train the skilled workers they need AND realize an increase in worker capacity, work quantity/quality and compliance (ISO/TS/AS, engineering specifications and safety) while reducing the internal costs of training. New-hires and incumbent workers are driven to full job mastery and higher levels of return on worker investment (ROWI). The task-based, structured on-the-job training infrastructure is perfect for the apprenticeships; instead of marking the calendar for “time-in-job,” job-relevant tasks are mastered and documented.

“For companies eligible for a worker training grant or not, this discount program can significantly stretch a training budget in a impactful way. This approach makes a worker’s mastery of the job the focus and incorporates, building structure around, loosely arranged worker development activities.”

In the event that anyone needs one more way (i.e. in addition to live online presentations, onsite presentations) to gather enough information to decide whether to move forward with structured on-the-job training to boost their training strategy, we thought of an idea that might help them decide. Read Details

Estimating the Costs Associated With Skipping Employer-Based Structured On-The-Job Training  

by Dean Prigelmeier, President of Proactive Technologies, Inc.

It should go without saying that if there is no deliberate strategy to train workers for the things they were hired to perform, the employer will probably never realize the maximum output realizable from a worker. Multiple workers operating under-capacity can create exorbitant, and unnecessary, costs to the employer – bleeding from profits and often leading to sweeping and irreparable reactions from management as they try to “fix” all but the obvious.

The effect of worker capacity on any business strategy is the least misunderstood of factors, but one as important as innovation, process improvement and zero defect strategies. After all, fundamental to each of these strategies is the worker’s ability to competently carry the intended actions to maximize those efforts efficiently.

Employers need to seriously consider the human factors, not ignore them and focus on everything but this. After decades of neglect, supported by workforce development institutions that have no tools to address this stage of worker development and often unknowingly promulgate distractions in their efforts to claim they do, management has come to simplify the human factor into a cost that can be easily eliminated or replaced by a lower cost alternative in another location. Lacking in this reaction is the underlying fact that moving operations to lower-wage labor markets with even more need for training (e.g. new challenges such as language, culture) only appears to be adding to profits short-term; the same problems exist, but the lower cost of labor makes it more tolerable even if greater challenges to worker performance now exist. As wages rise, these challenges become more pronounced and management becomes more critical.

Total Cost of Ownership formulas, such as the one used by the Reshoring Iniative, try to capture the hidden and overlooked costs of off-shoring operations, with labor challenges being one factor considered. But even so, the factor’s significance is understated.

Here is a simple formula for estimating the cost/benefit of a worker’s contribution to the organization for consideration: Read More

Employers Say They Struggle With a “Skills Shortage,” Yet They Cut the Training Budget. What Gives?

by Stacey Lett, Regional Manager – Eastern U.S., Proactive Technologies, Inc.

Everywhere you read these days, you find commentary on the “skills gap” that employers seem to face when trying to find the workers they need for their critical job classifications. Either there is a skills gap or there isn’t, and more and more economists are challenging that premise. Some, like Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman, say that if there is such a skills gap creating a shortage of skilled labor, then wages should be skyrocketing for those positions in a capitalistic, free market model.

Some point to the exploitation of loop-holes in the U.S. H-1B visa program, recently highlighted in a  CBS 60 Minutes episode entitled “You’re Fired” that allows employers to replace long-time, experienced employees with lower-wage temporary workers (with no benefits) from countries such as India – even requiring the laid off worker to train their replacement or forego severance pay.

Yet other companies, genuinely experiencing a shortage of skilled workers in their region, seem to either accept the skills gap theory as the norm or have made assumptions that the right skilled workers already came through the front door. Some surprise everyone by redirecting training dollars that should be used to make sure each employee can perform the tasks for which they were hired to programs that are meant to improve performance – skipping the obvious. Trying to improve the performance of employees before being certain they can perform each task exactly seems incredibly counter-intuitive. Focusing dollars on LEAN, Kaisan, Six Sigma, etc. before being certain that employees have mastered each required task may be not only be a waste of money but probably will need to be repeated if the employees finally do master each task, since by then they will have forgotten any improvement techniques or how to apply them to the processes they are performing.

Some wonder why companies have not added to, or are even cutting, their training budgets in response to the challenge. Many of these companies seem to be forgoing structured on-the-job training that only they can deliver, hoping the local educational system, with all they federal funding they have received, will somehow wave a wand and all the skilled labor needed will appear. In a January, 2017 issue of the Proactive Technologies Report entitled “An Anniversary That You Won’t Want to Celebrate: 30 Years Later and The Skill Gap Grows – Is it Finally Time to Rethink The Nation’s Approach?” the point was made that employers having been waiting on solutions from other than their own operation for decades, but to no avail. It is also significant to note that the U.S. is currently in a new presidential administration that seems to be set on cutting the funding for many of the Departments of Education and Labor workforce training programs these employers have come to rely upon. Read More

Twelve Good Reasons Why Structured On-The-Job Training Should be Part of You Business Strategy

by Dean Prigelmeier, President of Proactive Technologies, Inc.

Many articles have appeared in the Proactive Technologies Report covering how Proactive Technologies’ PROTECH© System of managed human resource development can address many of the workforce development scenarios; from individualized, customized structured on-the-job training for a specific employer for specific job classification(s), to regional partnerships servicing multiple employers while partnering with regional educational institutions, private training providers, workforce development and economic development agencies to provide the related technical instruction. There are many winners with this approach, but none so important as the employer and the employee.

Several articles have appeared in the newsletter explaining how Proactive Technologies sets up for each client a unique, structured on-the-job training program, provides implementation support to ensure it is running effectively and provides documentation and monthly reporting to drive each employee’s progress toward full job mastery. The most recent article appearing in the February, 2017 issue entitled “Tips for Establishing Your Company’s Training Strategy – Practical, Measurable, Extremely Economical and Scalable”. While the article hints on some of the benefits to the employer-employee stakeholders, it might be more advantageous to focus on the benefits themselves rather than leave them nuanced. More can be found in other articles at the News and Publications page of the Proactive Technologies, Inc. website.

There are many significant reasons that structured on-the-job training will help any employer really maximize the value of each worker employed with the company, improve operational efficiency and lower the risk of non-compliance (ISO/TS/AS, Safety Mandates, EEOC Mandates). These are not just buzzwords. Here are twelve reasons (not in any order of importance, since some may be more important to different stakeholders) to consider.

1. ISO 9001-2015 and TS16949 compliance with regard to worker competence to perform task processes, the provision of support documentation and records, and the facilitation of retraining when processes change.
• The data infrastructure will help facilitate quality improvements and incorporates the results of LEAN, continuous improvement, etc.;
• Existing company process documents are incorporated into the job/task analysis data collection so all worker development materials generated from the data are in sync with engineering and quality standards;

2. Risk mitigation with regard to potential legal challenges to methods and assessments used by the company for determining pay increases and promotion.
• The infrastructure and documentation will support the company’s side in the event of a safety incident investigation;

3. The initial job/task analysis will capture the technical expertise and wisdom in the heads of Company’s skilled workers before they get a chance to leave through retirement, attrition, promotion, etc.; Read More

Tips for Workforce Developers – Partnerships That Matter…and Last

by Dr. Dave Just, Mpact Maintenance and Reliability Solutions

Having partnered with Proactive Technologies, Inc. on workforce development projects for the past 20 years, it gave me a chance to innovate and learn what works, what efforts are most appreciated by the employer, trainee and employee, and which projects utilized resources most efficiently and effectively. There are numerous resources available from many sources that can impact a trainee with varying effectiveness, but the secret is selecting those that are appropriate for the project outcome the employer expects.

As Dean of Corporate and Continuing Education at community and technical colleges in Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, at the start of each assignment I had to first learn what resources our school had available for the sectors we were targeting, and how current and relevant the courses, materials and instructors were for the specific skills employers were seeking. To be honest, in some areas our products and services were weaker than expected, so the determination needed to be made whether we had the resources and will to upgrade what we had or develop what we needed. We also had to consider if it would be more economical to strategically partner with outside providers who always had the current technical expertise and already created solutions we could incorporate into our offerings.

Too often there was internal resistance and a lack of understanding of how important being relevant was to workforce development. Many institutions grew complacent to change or were discouraged by shrinking budgets or misaligned priorities from innovation. Always feeling a sense of urgency to overcome the ubiquitous “skills gap” that cast a shadow on all education and workforce development efforts, there are some important steps that I developed for myself to help me better assess each employer’s need and provide solutions client employers appreciated. This is the reason most employers we worked with kept us engaged year after year. We earned, and maintained, their respect and gave them confidence in our solutions, which ensured our continued role in their business model. This provided a continued revenue stream for the school to continue, improve and expand those efforts.

1) Listen to the employer’s description of the need – not every employer has a clear grasp of their need, but if you listen to their frustration in the context of your experience gained from concerns of other employers facing similar symptoms, you can help the employer discover the root cause. Then a solution that makes sense can be developed;

2) Formulate your proposed solution based on facts – there is always the temptation to propose a solution that markets a product or service the school already has in place, even when its relationship to the problem or challenge is suspect. Resist that temptation. A single sale of a weak product or service will not lead to follow-up sales. Once the initial opportunity to prove one’s value is squandered, everything else you propose might be dismissed – even if appropriate.

3) Recognize that most solutions are not complicated, but we often make them so – There is no shortage of schools that think the solution to everything is a multi-million dollar technology center. “If you build it, they will come” only worked in movies. Read More

Read the full April, 2017 newsletter, including linked industry articles and online presentation schedules.

Posted in News

Upcoming Live Presentations

< 2018 >
  • 7:00 am-7:45 am
    (Mountain Time) The philosophy behind, and development/implementation of, structured on-the-job training; the many benefits the employer can realize from the PROTECH© system of managed human resource development in more that just the training area; examples of projects across all industries, including manufacturing and manufacturing support companies. When combined with related technical instruction, this approach has been easily registered as an apprenticeship-focusing the structured on-the-job training on exactly what are the required tasks of the job. Registered or not, this approach is the most effective way to train workers to full capacity in the shortest amount of time –cutting internal costs of training while increasing worker capacity, productivity, work quality and quantity, and compliance.  Approx 45 minutes.
  • 1:00 pm-1:45 pm
    (Mountain Time) The philosophy behind, and development/implementation of, structured on-the-job training; how any employer can benefit from the PROTECH© system of managed human resource development in more that just the training area; building related technical instruction/structured on-the-job training partnerships for employers across all industries one-by-one. How this can become a cost-effective, cost-efficient and highly credible workforce development strategy – easy scale up by just plugging each new employer into the system. When partnering with economic development agencies, and public and private career and technical colleges and universities for the related technical instruction, this provides the most productive use of available grant funds and gives employers-employees/trainees and the project partners the biggest win for all. This model provides the support sorely needed by employers who want to partner in the development of the workforce but too often feel the efforts will not improve the workforce they need. Approx. 45 minutes
  • 7:00 am-7:45 am
    (Mountain Time) This briefing explains the philosophy behind, and development/implementation of, structured on-the-job training; how any employer can benefit from the PROTECH© system of human resource development in more that just the training area. This model provides the lacking support employers, who want to be able to easily and cost-effectively create the workers they require right now, need.  Approx 45 minutes.
  • 1:00 pm-1:45 pm
    (Mountain Time) The philosophy behind, and development/implementation of, structured on-the-job training; how any employer can benefit from the PROTECH© system of managed human resource development in more that just the training area; building related technical instruction/structured on-the-job training partnerships for employers across all industries and how it can become an cost-effective, cost-efficient and highly credible apprenticeship. When partnering with economic development agencies, public and private career and technical colleges and universities, this provides the most productive use of available grant funds and gives employers-employees/trainees and the project partners the biggest win for all. This model provides the lacking support needed to employers who want to easily and cost-effectively host an apprenticeship.  Approx. 45 minutes

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