Fall’s Coming: Focus on Learning

Posted By: Jeannine Kunz, Vice President, Tooling U-SME on September 28, 2016

There is something about the change in the weather that fires up an urge for learning, no matter what age we are.

That makes it the perfect time for Corporate America to take a fresh look at its formal training and development programs. And it all begins with building a learning culture.

Take KYOCERA SGS Precision Tools, Inc. (KSPT), a solid carbide cutting tool manufacturer in Munroe Falls, Ohio.

Thirteen years ago, KSPT saw signs of a shrinking workforce and took steps to address the growing skills gap. Working with Tooling U-SME, the company instituted an integrated, sustained training program connected to business goals.

Now a high-impact learning organization (HILO) with a strong learning foundation in place, the 65-year-old company has been able to build a strong and loyal team while expanding operations and boosting productivity.

“We believe education has a positive impact on an associate’s contribution to the company, so we are focused on providing effective learning tools for continuing education,” said Gary Miller, director of training and occupational development, KSPT.

The company’s overall philosophy plays into this by employing Hoshin Kanri, a management system that focuses all employees on understanding the company’s strategic direction and fosters their participation in achieving it through continual improvement training.

The KSPT model is based on strong metrics called Associate Integrated Management (AIM) goals and objectives. All company department heads meet monthly with the CEO and COO to review the AIM goals and objectives, which include individual, department, and company goals related to sales increases, customer satisfaction, quality standards, and associate development.

To achieve these goals, all associates throughout the organization — from entry level to CEO — receive 50 hours of training a year. Typically, manufacturing associates take 10 to 20 Tooling U-SME courses per year to fulfill the requirement.

“Our training philosophy is to train as much as you possibly can, and use a blended approach including computer-based instruction and on-the-job training,” said Miller.

The approach is leading to reduced turnover, lower absenteeism and fewer workers’ compensation claims. Most importantly, the company is seeing increased productivity.

Even after more than six decades in business, KSPT continues to grow. The company added a new manufacturing facility in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, just last year.

No matter what time of year, building a well-trained team of high performers should be a business priority for every manufacturer.

Does your company earn an A when it comes to learning and development?

Tags: "formal training", "Gary Miller", "high-impact learning organization", "Hoshin Kanri", KSPT, "KYOCERA SGS Precision Tools, Inc.", "learning and development", productivity, "skills gap"