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How Would Ben Franklin Molding, Inc. Be Run?

Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography is a goldmine of sound advice even for problems injection molding and extrusion companies face today.

plastics training decision matrix

In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin writes about his views on training and education. It should come as no surprise that he was practical and results oriented. In fact, the founder of what would later become the University of Pennsylvania describes traditional schools as “too ornamental” and he distrusted their methods; he stressed practicality in his educational philosophy.

We couldn’t agree more.

What every plastics processor needs is a proven system that can create and maintain a well trained work force. It is more important today that ever – companies constantly having to try to do more with less.

The only way to reach that goal and have it stick, is to implement an in-house plastics training system. Management at just about every plastics plant we talk to cites “Can’t find skilled employees” as one of their top problems. So it is a safe bet that Mr. Franklin would address that problem not by restating it over and over, but rather by doing something about it. How would that decision to implement an injection molding training program play out?

Using the “Benjamin Franklin decision process“, of course… Take a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle, label one column “Pro’s” and the other column “Con’s”. Then list the pro’s and con’s of investing in an in-house training system versus relying on the “job market” for your skilled employees.

You can see Ben’s analysis above (click to download). Notably, a key part of his training decision process is weighting the various factors that end up in the pro and con columns. You need to be ruthlessly objective in this weighting and that means getting input from heads of plastics departments company-wide.

The list of “Con’s” is taken directly from our own experience as a plastics industry training provider selling to management for 35 years. For example, price always comes up. So we weight that a “2”. But price is only an issue until management understands the huge savings in the “Pro’s” column. So, the second item on Ben’s “Con’s” list, “Calculating ROI”, is weighted at just .5 because it is pretty easy to see the savings once you’re given the right perspective and real world payback examples.

So when we total Ben’s columns, we get Pro = 11 and Con = 7. You can argue the list, you can argue the weighting, but the facts bear out this truth… employee training is one of the best investments your company can ever make.

Ask anyone who paid for trade school or college. Did they view that as a pure expense or as an investment that would pay for itself?

Ben Franklin is not around to ask, but given the readily available and massive amount of wisdom he left us with, it is a safe bet that Ben Franklin Molding, Inc. would have a top notch injection molding training program and would be a top 10% injection molding company.

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