Dr. Dave Just, MPACT
Since partnering with Proactive Technologies, Inc. in 1994, together we have advocated the use of a “systems approach” to training that includes a combination of related technical instruction and structured on-the-job training to develop multi-craft maintenance technicians, as well as other job classifications, within a company. This is a viable option to paying thousands of dollars per year to employment recruiters to locate these technicians on a nationwide basis…who still need to be trained once hired.
The systems approach to training, if built correctly for your company, forms the infrastructure of a highly effective, low cost apprenticeship (registered or not) model. This model can quickly and cost-effectively produce the multi-craft maintenance technicians you need, who will be qualified to perform the tasks required at your facility. Based on detailed job/task analysis data – collected by Proactive Technologies’ experts using your internal subject matter experts who have the final review – worker development materials are generated by Proactive Technologies’ PROTECH© software system for immediate use. Most importantly, technical support to the project includes project implementation management, so you can focus on running your business. Read article.
by Dean Prigelmeier, President of Proactive Technologies, Inc.
Everyone is aware that the United States trade agreements with other countries and regions facilitated a substantial movement of good paying U.S. manufacturing jobs to lower-wage labor markets in other countries. The effect of the loss of middle-income jobs on consumer consumption, and subsequently industrial investment and growth, has been increasing in its significance and the connection to sustained GDP growth has become more evident.
In the short run, a lower-wage workforce reduces direct labor costs and allows corporations to realize higher earnings, but as the lower-wage workers form unions and demand higher pay for their labor those advantages start to diminish. As nations start to codify safety and environmental regulations, the advantages to relocation shrink. After adding in the logistical costs, disjointed supply chain challenges and socio-political instability corporations start to look for even lower-wage labor markets for relocation – a temporary solution.
It may have seemed to be the only immediate reaction to the need to improve quarterly reports, but what if there was an alternative to relocation? Would an option where the inevitable outcome is simple and predictable be attractive enough? Would a mass exodus of manufacturing jobs even materialize?
“When Proactive Technologies performs a job/task analysis on a job classification for a client to set up a structured on-the-job training program, task-based best practices for all of the critical tasks of the job, one of the next steps of the process is to take inventory of the incumbent workers to identify which of the tasks both the employee and their manager agree the worker has been mastered. This leaves the un-mastered tasks, representing the “gap” to be closed which should be the focus of structured on-the-job training.”
The one example given indeed cuts direct labor costs. The question is whether the NET rewards of any short-term benefit looks as attractive and is sustainable over the long-term. Read article.
by Stacey Lett, Regional Manager – Eastern U.S. – Proactive Technologies, Inc.
It is not just the hourly workers that, once hired, run into the “Bob, this is Sally. Why don’t you show her around” form of “training.” In environments where no structure exists to deliberately train hourly workers, supervisors and managers are similarly shown their desk and wished “good luck.” Yes, the company may offer a series of management courses that explain contemporary management theories, but often the most overlooked training is for the tasks against which performance is ultimately measured.
We frequently hear anecdotal stories about supervisors who are “thrown into the mix” of not only having to lead their workers to measured levels of performance, but concurrently learn their own job from their surroundings as best they can. Other supervisors and managers may be under the same pressure to focus on output, so they may be rarely available to mentor a new manager. Most likely, nothing was ever written down. Even worse, supervisors or managers who are new to the entire operation may have to learn what it is their employees do by observation before they can attempt to lead them to better performance.
Sounds familiar? It seems to run contrary to all the other business improvement initiatives, such as Six-Sigma, LEAN, Continuous Improvement, Total Quality Management, etc. Do companies have to settle for a “seat-of-the-pants” learning experience for their hourly and salary workers? And could this be a major contributing factor in reduced organizational competitiveness? Read article.
Even Corporate Finance Departments Struggle With the “Skill Gap”
by Dean Prigelmeier, President of Proactive Technologies, Inc.
In a February, 2016 issue CFO Magazine article entitled “All in the Family,” author David McCann discusses the problems facing CFOs regarding “talent management. He identifies four problems they face in looking ahead to the year 2020:
- 70% of finance positions will experience a change in skill requirements over the next five years. However, HR competency models lag the new skills requirements.
- Only 36% of employees have a real understanding of internal capabilities. HR can design standard career paths but cannot push employees to the right opportunities.
- Traditional training only has a 3% impact on finance skill development. Training vendors often fail to apply courses and content to a given team’s day-to-day work.
- Recruiting is not able to identify who would be a strong financial analyst beyond backgrounds and accreditation, limiting the scope of potential strong ties.
The article’s author goes on to discuss the virtues of “renting expertise” versus building capacity, but does not really go into detail on how a CFO would build capacity.
The predicament described is not a new one. It is the same gap that has grown with regard to manufacturing skill gaps of production workers. This is further evidence that gaps have grown in the areas of engineering, technical management and, yes, finance as well. Read article.