Parker Hannifin is a world-class manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems. Within the Parker Hannifin Cylinder group there are approximately 900 employees with an average tenure of 15 years who work on made-to-order (MTO) products for a variety of industries.
Parker Hannifin approached Tooling U following their realizations that:
- On-the-job (OTJ) training was not standardized and risked perpetuating bad habits from one generation of employees to the next.
- Workforce promotion and attrition led to openings and incoming workers that needed to be trained.
Technical schools to fill this training need were:
- Fewer in number.
- Relatively far from the worksite.
- Not offering online training.
Working with staff from Tooling U, the management team at Parker was able to identify, according to John Merryman, that the management "didn't know what [the workers] didn’t know." The Tooling U assessments and guidance helped to pull together and plan an effective learning program. The assessments focused on basic and CNC skills, including Machining Fundamentals and Intermediate CNC Skills. While the primary focus was CNC, some employees also took basic courses.
Physical implementation included a quiet training room equipped with six laptops that employees accessed before work, during lunch and after work. Some employees also used their own computers to access courses from home. Employees were compensated for participating in the training, whether at home or at work.
Those who were more computer literate had little or no problem following the coursework and quickly became comfortable navigating through the courses. However, those who were less computer literate often had difficulty during the first few days because of their computer skills.
Overall, the feedback from the students has been positive:
- Students found the coursework "valuable and useful" and liked that they "controlled [their] own destiny" during the coursework.
- Students reported using the "Notes" feature, with many of the students printing material to have on hand for future reference.
- Students also felt that the courses were suitably interactive and provided sufficient multimedia presentations that assisted in learning the material.
To varying degrees, all employees have been using the training offered, and one employee has taken all the courses offered, resulting in increases in this employee's efficiency and productivity.
To date, no post-training assessment has been done to measure the level of knowledge and skills improvement. However, the management's consensus is that:
- Plant efficiency has increased.
- Employees now have a problem-solving culture that has been helped by their learning and the application of their new skills and knowledge.
There has also been a noticeable improvement in employee morale as a direct result of the training. Employees saw that the company was willing to "put its money where its mouth is" and offer training that was mutually beneficial. Employees who successfully completed the coursework were recognized by Parker Hannifin through awards, which also helped to raise morale.
The "culture change" that took place at Parker Hannifin was the result of the management's commitment to remain heavily involved throughout the training – from the initial assessments and planning to the presentation of awards at training completion.