In-plants that emphasize employee training report increased quality, productivity and customer satisfaction. Find out how they do it.
KEEPING YOUR in-plant employees' skills up to date in these days of rapidly changing technology can often be a struggle. It is an on-going process that requires information from many sources.
"These days it seems like you're always training," admits Gilbert Sosa, director of printing services for the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, who oversees a staff of 28 employees. "Just as you finish learning an operating system or software program, another version or upgrade hits the market. The printing industry appears to be constantly evolving, especially in color production."
To keep his employees current with changing technology in the printing industry, Sosa says he uses as many sources as possible—including books, trade shows, seminars and vendor training—and encourages his employees to invest their own time in learning more about the trade.
"Since we will be investing in digital imposition and color separation, we will be sending staff to RIT and GATF workshops and vendor-provided training for [the] specific equipment we purchase," Sosa says.
Jim Shull, director of corporate services for LifeWay Christian Resources of Nashville, Tenn., has also found trade shows and seminars to be major resources when training employees. He and his staff have attended sessions put on by the Rochester Institute of Technology, Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, International Publishing Management Association and Seybold. He says it is important for managers to take advantage of these educational resources.
"You can't always send 15 people to a conference, but you can go and bring ideas back," Shull advises. This plan evidently has worked for Shull, as he boasts his shop has been recognized with an award by the American Society for Training Development.
Often the best way to learn how to do something is to jump right in and learn from your co-workers. Shull notes that on-the-job training is not only required of his press operators, but of the management staff as well.