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Training Lessons From Hurricane Sandy

plastics training lessons from sandyWorking in a quaint New England town close to the ocean has its advantages. But if you’ve been watching the news about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, you see in graphic, and sometime tragic, detail the power that Mother Nature can unleash. Even though everyone up in the Northeast had plenty of warning and preparation time, when the hurricane hit it was time to just basically hold on.

At Paulson Training, we set up a system that allowed us to continue working even without power (for 5 days in our case). So while we couldn’t do anything about the level of destruction, we could and did plan for it. The result was, with the exception of no business phone lines, we were able to pretty much operate business as usual.

So what does this have to do with plastics industry training? If you are like most plastics processors, whether injection molding, extrusion, blow molding, compounding, etc., you probably have 1 or 2 key people out on your production floor. These are the men and women that everybody goes to when problems occur. But what would your business look like tomorrow if those key people were no longer there? Would your production floor hum along smoothly? It would if you were prepared for the possibility of losing those key people. You would have a training system in place that is continuously pumping out employees with a high level of plastics processing knowledge and skills.

If you don’t have a training system in place, you would most likely be reaching out to the plastics job market to find someone with the plastics processing knowledge and skills you need. The problem with this is that there is a well-known and much talked about shortage of skilled injection molders, extruders, blow molders and other plastics processing experts. So you are immediately competing for this relatively small group of workers. Supply and demand take over and you pay the price.

Contrast that scenario with one where you have a training system in place. You treat this employee training system as one that is just as important to your production as your machines. It is just another piece in the production process. It runs continuously and produces skilled workers on-demand.

Which situation would you rather be in? Without a training system in place, you do what you have to do to keep those handful of people that solve 90% of the problems. If they leave, you scramble to replace them. And if you are fortunate enough to find the right person, in your area, with salary requirements that match yours, they still will take some time to learn the particulars of your production floor. You both may even come to the conclusion that the “match” you anticipated isn’t happening. Back to square one.

With a training system in place, you have people ready to step-up right away. They’ve been on your production floor already so they know what needs to be done and how to do it. The loss of key injection molders or extrusion experts causes minimal disruption (if any at all). You are prepared. And it pays off handsomely.

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