Not every buyer of a new machine tool takes advantage of the training that goes with it. “We’re too busy.” “We already know the control system.” “After training, raises will be expected.” “Classes are too far away, and travel costs too much.” Whatever the reason, missing out on this training may not be very wise—or necessary. Machine tool builders and distributors offer more options for getting this training than ever before.
Neglecting this training can be costly, as one shop discovered. The shop had been growing steadily over the years by serving a niche market very well, adding a fair number of new machines each year. However, a while back, the shop stopped sending its operators to the supplier’s training classes because everyone was too busy. The parts being machined didn’t change much, so veteran operators and supervisors could show new operators what they needed to know. Then, not long ago, the shop had a customer request that promised to lead to some lucrative new orders. Unfortunately, no one in the shop was sure how the machines could handle one of the operations.
So a call went out to the supplier’s sales support department. The support technician fielding the question had the solution, which started with, “All you have to do to is…” It turned out that a control system function added to the machines some years ago addressed this very requirement. The shop’s operators simply did not know about it. In fact, they had overlooked a number of features and capabilities that the newer models had to offer.
Today, machine buyers can avoid the issues that may have held them back in the past. For example, many builders and distributors have technical centers or sales outlets located strategically around the country so they are easier to visit. A number of builders have introduced online training programs or have packaged training material on multimedia CDs. These programs not only make travel unnecessary, but they also allow customers to schedule training conveniently. Shop personnel can learn at their own pace. Advanced classes for operators, programmers or maintenance technicians are more accessible, too. This training can also have a positive impact on productivity.
So, no more excuses. Look closely at the training that you should be getting with the new machine. It’s part of the value you’ve bargained for.