By far, the #1 problem plastics manufacturers tell us they have (particularly injection molders, but the other processes as well) is that they cannot find the skilled personnel they need.
That can be a huge issue for them. However, with a little “outside-the-box” thinking, it also presents an opportunity.
Have you ever heard of a business concept called “Leapfrogging”? Leapfrogging occurs when a company introduces an innovation so dramatic that it literally jumps ahead of the competition and is able to retain the competitive advantage that the innovation provides for some time. Henry Ford’s assembly line was a massive leapfrogging event. The concept is the complete opposite of the more traditional belief that technology follows a linear change path – new innovations incrementally improve on the status quo. Water follows a gradual, linear increase in temperature when heated. But when it hits 100 degrees Celsius, it boils.
The skilled labor shortage in the plastics industry is not going away anytime soon. It will be with us for years. Plastics manufacturers that do not take proactive steps to lessen the impacts of the skilled labor shortage on their plastics production will fall behind. This is a perfect opportunity to leapfrog the market. Your company can eliminate what most of your competitors see as an intractable problem – a huge obstacle to their growth.
However, companies that embrace the new reality of the plastics labor market can leapfrog their competition.
How? By making employee skills training a formal and integral part of their overall production process. For example, an injection molding production facility has probably over 100 different mini-processes that go into getting product out the door. There are processes on the production floor, in quality control, in the tool room, in the sales department in the front office, etc. All of them work together to keep the plastic parts shipping out to customers. When one or more of the mini-systems breaks, things don’t run as smoothly.
How many injection molders have a “training system” in place to assure that they have a continuous supply of skilled molders on the production floor on all shifts. In our experience, the number is far less than half. The #1 response to our on-going survey about a company’s “Biggest Training Problem” is “No Formal Training”. The next most popular is a distant second.
Putting together a training system these days is easy.
There are training suppliers such as Paulson. There are also consultants who can help you put together a training program specific to your plant. Obviously there is some up-front work, but once the training system is in place, there is very little on-going maintenance. Our programs let you add your own content so the training becomes tailored to your company’s specific needs. We can also come to your plant and help you structure customized training.
Whichever path you choose, one thing is certain…
Either you are going to train your employees or they are going to train themselves
… by making expensive mistakes that will be corrected after the fact. Plastics manufacturers routinely spend thousands of dollars on that type of “training”.
So take a look at the possibly of “leapfrogging” your competition by adding formal, proven employee training to your overall production process. Paulson has been in this business for over 35 years. I can tell you with certainty that most of your competitors don’t have a formal training program and most won’t have one any time soon.