Ask The Teacher

I’d like you to contact Ryan Pohl. He is a part of this month’s cover story on Commercial Tool and Die, and he will serve briefly as one of our “experts” accessible through MMS Online.

Columns From: 4/2/2008 Modern Machine Shop, ,

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Peter Zelinski

I’d like you to contact Ryan Pohl. He is a part of this month’s cover story on Commercial Tool and Die, and he will serve briefly as one of our “experts” accessible through MMS Online. I encourage you to ask him any questions you may have about the unusual role he fills for this shop. He is the teacher there—the “training coordinator.” That title may not correspond to any role in your shop, but I think most machine shops and machining facilities larger than a certain size will eventually have a role such as this as an established part of their staff.

Of course, training occurs in a shop whether there is a person formally assigned to the role or not. But as training becomes more important for shops, it becomes more important for training to be performed both efficiently and well. One of the most fundamental ways to do this is to make one person formally accountable for a consistent training process. Sooner or later, in other words, a shop that gets serious about training will employ a serious trainer.

Why do I see training becoming more important? Because the lack of skilled employees is the one universal I encounter in my travels. Shops across the country speak of their growing difficulty in filling the sorts of positions that once would have been filled by machinists who arrive already having the skills needed for the job. In the absence of this, more and more shops are meeting at least part of their need for talent by finding people who simply show promise and aptitude, and then training them internally to impart the necessary skills.

How will your shop go about doing this? Or, how will you do it better than you are doing it today?

Think about that. Think about what challenges and obstacles you would face in creating and implementing a more formal process for bringing unskilled employees up to speed. Then, ask a question or two of Mr. Pohl. He is well-qualified for his role, having studied and worked as both a teacher and a machinist. In developing Commercial Tool’s internal training program, he faced some of the same challenges and obstacles you anticipate. You can contact him at www.mmsonline.com/experts/pohl.html.

Go ahead. See whether an answer or two from someone who has been there can help you make your own shop more capable of addressing its staffing needs—and, along the way, more effective at bringing new people into our industry.

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