Lead injection molder HellermannTyton knows a thing or two about continuous improvement and growth. Fifteen years of steady growth in the automotive and electrical markets, fueled by new product introductions, automation, and the design and implementation of new tools and techniques have positioned the global manufacturer at the forefront of the plastics industry. These positive business outcomes naturally come with challenges to the personnel side of the equation. Finding, training and retaining highly successful personnel means having a solid workforce development program in place.
Training Department Supervisor Danny L. Sheeran praises upper management’s commitment to employee training and their understanding of its crucial role as a workforce development tool. Training not only improves employees’ skills to better handle new technologies and increased production, but it’s also an essential tool for recruitment, retention and advancement of personnel.
“The vision of upper management is very forward thinking and they believe that employee training is one of key growth drivers of the business, both today and especially going forward. The hallmark of HellermannTyton for years has been quality, innovation, and the human element,” said Sheeran.
HellermannTyton spends a significant amount of money each year on workforce training and development and has many of its employees involved in various programs on any given day.
Bonus Recruitment Tool
While training has always been part of the company’s business culture, they ramped it up in 2012 with the introduction of the “HellermannTyton Academy.” The HellermannTyton Academy (HTA) features classroom instruction, a computer lab and a full suite of interactive training products from Paulson Training, Inc. for their injection molding and extrusion operations.
According to Sheeran, having a dedicated, standardized training program like Paulson’s has helped significantly in building a productive team and has proven to be a bonus in recruitment efforts.
“When we tell potential applicants that HellermannTyton has an industry leading training program they’re more likely to apply, making it easier for us to find the best candidates,” said Sheeran.
“We also use our training program as a retention tool. Training helps keep existing employees engaged and excited to stay with the company and has been excellent to promote employee advancement. It’s working really well for us,” explained Sheeran.
How HellermannTyton Implements Training
HellermannTyton has three facilities in Milwaukee: Corporate headquarters, injection molding, and extrusion, totaling 700 people.
Being the training supervisor for two years, and with the company for 30 years, Sheeran describes how training is strategically integrated in their everyday operations beginning with onboarding new employees.
Sheeran explains, “Generally speaking, incoming technicians start on 1ST shift and are enrolled in a very structured, extensive two-month training program that includes Paulson as well as computer based and hands-on training.”
“We’re looking for slow, steady progress and by the 18-month mark we should have a highly skilled injection molder or extruder. It’s important to note that this is a measurable activity. There are specific test scores and goals which must be achieved,” said Sheeran.
In order for an employee to pass their initial training and progress through Paulson’s modules, they have to score an 80% or better on the post training tests which are an integral part of the Paulson system.
Sheeran adds, “The scoring and reporting feature of Paulson’s programs makes my life easier. It takes the subjectivity out of it and helps me identify stronger employees and those who may need additional attention, which is good to know.”
Training is a continuous event at HellermannTyton with employees engaged at varying stages. For example, there are over 20 employees who achieved Paulson Certification and over 80 more are signed up, enrolled or are in-process.
In addition, HellermannTyton encourages all of its employees to engage in training. For example, Paulson’s online Practical Injection Molding series is taken by other, non-processing departments within the company including marketing, engineering, front office, and sales to help them bring added value to customers.
“Training in plastics processing is given to all company job functions including those jobs that feel disconnected from the shop floor. It’s been very positive for these groups and it gives them a good understanding of parts production so they can better engage with our customers,” said Sheeran.
As a result of this technical training effort for production personnel, the metrics that HT uses to quantify production efficiency and productivity have seen significant improvements. Those improvements, of course, flow to the bottom line.
According to Sheeran, “We have documented significant increases in all of our metrics. This data tells us we’re meeting or exceeding our production goals and we can see the direct correlation to our well planned training initiatives.”
“What we really like about the Paulson Training system is its flexibility and portability. Employees can train at their own pace, anywhere, and at anytime. Sitting in a classroom is good but you can’t see what’s happening inside the machine. Paulson’s videos, graphics and 3-D animations show what’s happening inside the mold and makes it easy to understand. The Paulson graphics are far better than what I can draw on the whiteboard. When they see it happening in the video it becomes obvious and for me as a training supervisor, well, this is a big help,” said Sheeran.
HellermannTyton has had Paulson products going back to the ‘90s. However, with the company’s growth and expansion plus management’s decision to create an in-house training academy it was important to include a more robust program from Paulson. The company purchased the entire training library for both injection molding and extrusion technology with the overall goal of getting everyone speaking the same processing “language” on the production floor.
“Paulson’s scientific molding principles are just what we use out on the plant floor. The training has helped to make everything very standardized and easy and the robust reporting tools help us document progress giving a solid picture of our talent pool,” said Sheeran.
For more information about HellermannTyton products visit Hellermantyton.com and to learn more about training in injection molding or extrusion visit PaulsonTraining.com.