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The Top 10 Plastics Training Mistakes – Part 2

plastics training mistakesThis is part 2 of our series on the 10 biggest mistakes that Paulson Training has seen plastics processors make over our 35 years in the business (here is part 1). Here we cover numbers 6 – 10.

You may already be familiar with some of these if you’ve had a training program in place at your production facility. If you don’t yet have any formal training in place, we would encourage you to take these mistakes and make sure you don’t make them. Every one of them is something we have dealt with, usually many times, over the years.

6. Making Assumptions About What Training is Needed

There is foundational training that should be taken by all employees. However beyond that, training paths for various employees may diverge to a certain extent. It is very important to maximize the efficiency of your plastics processing training program. A very common method of determining what training is needed is through a Needs Assessment (sometimes also called a GAP Analysis). This is a series of questions about injection molding, extrusion, blow molding – whatever processing you are doing at your plant. The employee’s answers are analyzed and with this information, you can target training specifically for each employee.

7. Misunderstanding How Adults Learn

In many cases, your employees will have been out of school for months or years. This takes them out of “learning” mode. School is an intensive learning environment. A person is in class for a few hours at a time, several days a week. Their brain is trained to learn. Once out in the workforce, formal learning tapers off. If you just apply the same teaching techniques that are typically used in schools to the work environment, they will not be as effective. Adult learners need small doses of information. They also need to apply that information to the real world to reinforce what they’ve learned. Paulson courses are specifically designed with the adult learner in mind.

8. Not Having a Good Training Administrator

You don’t need to go out and hire a person with an advanced degree to administer your training. If you are using self-paced interactive training, the lesson is already designed to maximize information retention. Your training administrator should be a well organized individual who can create training schedules, assign the right training to the right people, make sure that training is being taken, evaluate each employee’s training records to find any problem areas and be approachable and trusted by the other employees in your plant.

9. Not Tracking Training Progress by Employee

“If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it” is a good rule-of-thumb when it comes to your training program. Make sure you have some mechanism in place to track how each employee is doing. This lets the employees see for themselves the progress they are making and also lets them see what areas of knowledge and skills they need to work on.

10. Not Tracking How Training Benefits Your Plant

When management can look at the numbers and see the impact of the training on key production metrics for say, an injection molding plant (faster cycle times, fewer rejects, less downtime, fewer accidents,etc.), it becomes easier to justify and the your training system is more easily integrated into your overall production process. Seeing for themselves what impact the training is having on your operations sends a powerful message that training works. It has been our experience over the many years that Paulson Training has been in the business that management (correctly) wants ROI information on their training investment.

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