For instance, one of the job training modules covers how to set up the chopper gun. The module includes detailed instructions for each of the following steps: getting parts for the gun, setting up the tip, installing the tip onto the gun, setting up the motor, setting up the pressure and opening the valves, and calibrating the chopper gun. In addition, the module includes labeled photos of all the chopper gun parts and the gun set up.

As of March, Miles-Olund had created eight modules for layup and finishing. He had begun work on three other modules – shop orientation, safety procedures and 5S procedures (the company’s quality program). “It’s very time-consuming, but I really think it’s going to pay off in the end,” says Miles-Olund. The training method will ensure everyone is trained consistently and correctly, and it will help with lean manufacturing.

Miles Fiberglass began expedited training in March for current employees. They train in groups of three once a week for 45 minutes. Everyone on the plant will be cross-trained on both layup and finishing. “Cross-training allows us to manage our employees better and move people around when one area is slow,” says Miles-Olund.

When the company rolls the program out to new employees, training will be conducted one-on-one – by trained trainers – in 30-minute increments. New employees will receive laminated copies of each training module as a reference. The trainer will walk through the steps of each task, let the employee perform the task under his or her supervision, then give the employee time to practice it. The new employee will then be evaluated and signed off for that module. Miles-Olund will maintain an Excel spreadsheet that indicates who has been trained on what modules.

Once all the training modules have been developed, Miles-Olund will begin creating career pathways for employees. “The modules are the nuts and bolts of the training program,” he says. “Career pathways provide a big picture for employees, showing them where they can go in the company and giving them a map to their success.”

In addition, Miles Fiberglass and Composites continues to encourage employees to enroll in ACMA’s Certified Composites Technician (CCT) Program. “Our new training method goes hand-in-hand with ACMA’s CCT exam,” says Miles-Olund. “It serves as a knowledge module that complements our technical, hands-on modules.”

Investing in Interns

Company: SGS Tool Company

Headquarters: Munroe Falls, Ohio

Employees: 230