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Employees from Miles Fiberglass & Composites gather for a Certified Composites Technician (CCT) course.

Since MFC increased the number of training programs if offers, Luchak has seen a steady rise in production quality. “I believe we now have a better product because we can track the problem areas and correct them at the source,” says Luchak. For example, the company found cracking in the gel coat surface of a shower part and realized a worker was pulling the part from the mold incorrectly. MFC provided that employee additional training.

Product consistency is key to business success, and Luchak says standardized training programs help breed consistency. But simply offering courses isn’t enough. “Be sure to conduct follow-up checks – or ‘crucial check points’ as we call them,” says Luchak. “That way you can verify that your employees are still doing what they’ve been taught.”

Offering training programs on a variety of topics also enables MFC to cross-train employees. According to Dan Bellanger, CCT instructor at MFC, cross-trained employees gather skills outside the usual parameters, thus becoming greater assets to the company. “If the work flow changes, we’re free to move people around instead of having to lay off and hire people,” says Luchak.

Employee training is an effective way to increase customer satisfaction as well as employee morale. Nearly half of the staff has been employed at MFC for more than 20 years. And the opinions of employees are vitally important to the company.

 As part of its lean manufacturing training, MFC’s management team implemented a suggestion box, which is opened monthly. If a suggestion is carried out, that employee is rewarded with money or a gift card. “We also post a photo of the suggestions before and after and give that employee additional acknowledgement,” says Luchak. “I think the acknowledgement is just as good as the incentive or the gift. It creates an atmosphere where people are thinking, ‘How can I do this better and improve what I’m working on?’”

And that, ultimately, is the goal of employee training.