With daily operations being so busy and time consuming at many organizations, training oftentimes goes on the backburner. Instead, it should really be the backbone, as a successful employee is a trained one. RewardExpert spoke with Vice President of Tooling U-SME, Jeannine Kunz, about the importance of well-trained employees and how her company is the leading provider of learning and development for the manufacturing industry.
Meeting Business Needs Efficiently
For decades, Tooling U-SME has partnered with a multitude of manufacturers and educational institutions to “design solutions to meet the unique need(s) of the manufacturing community, resulting in high-performing employees who help their companies drive quality, production and innovation,” said Kunz.
She explained that Tooling U-SME develops its offerings to cover a variety of business needs. These include the following:
- Boost the effectiveness of operations
- Improve quality
- Reduce scrap
- Expedite on-boarding
- Heighten quality capabilities
- Enhance production
- Cross-train workers
- Guard against gaps in workforce skills
- Rollout new technologies
- Shift manufacturers from a “tribal knowledge” system to formal learning
The company builds its training programs around competency-based learning, which is an educational method that allows students to demonstrate knowledge and skills in a particular job role. “Tooling U-SME provides organizations with learning assets to deliver an effective program, and on the front-end, the consultation to design a structured and sustainable solution tied to the organization’s broader objectives,” said Kunz.
The company offers training for employees at all levels of an organization and can even create specific, customized content. “Whether it’s a small to medium-sized company or a Fortune 1000 enterprise, Tooling U-SME can design training and development programs to both fit a client’s needs and budget. Using pre-assessments to validate current knowledge and skills helps reduce the amount of training needed, thus reducing the cost to the organization.”
Customizing the Training Process
Getting started with Tooling U-SME is a very organized training process in itself. Kunz noted, “Tooling U-SME works onsite with human resources, management, and front-line team members to develop a business case for a training and development program, determine gaps in performance, and build a training strategy that delivers measurable ROI.”
She explained that each new program begins the same way. “We start every program by evaluating our client’s business—assessing the learning culture of their organization, analyzing what they are doing today and then helping them build a sustainable, repeatable program that incorporates new hire training, cross training, job progression, etc.”
Next, her company uses a comprehensive approach to create and design unique workforce development solutions to help meet a business’s need. If there is already a job training program in place, she said Tooling U-SME just helps to enhance what’s there.
“Every organization is unique, and that’s why we’ve developed a structured, comprehensive approach to training development, which we call the Accelerate Methodology,” stated Kunz. This is basically a step-by-step approach to success.
Take the Time to Train
When it comes to training, companies shouldn’t sell themselves short. Kunz discussed the importance of creating the right learning culture. She said that oftentimes her company encounters manufacturers who understand the importance of workforce training, but see that they “cannot afford to pull employees off the plant floor to take advantage of training.”
“For them, if it’s a choice between training and operations, they choose to proceed with production, because they must meet customer demand. But, with all their daily operational struggles, taking time for creating and implementing a learning culture and strategy must be a vital component of a manufacturers’ strategy at a high level. If this does not happen, they may not feel the pain now, but they will most likely feel it down the road.”
Tooling U-SME—the learning and development arm of SME—has a rich history stemming from 1932 when SME started with 33 members. Originally named the Society of Tool Engineers, SME was renamed a few times before becoming the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) in 1970.
Tooling U is the original online training component of Tooling U-SME. In fall 2001, Tooling U launched its first 30 classes and a proprietary learning management system. SME acquired Tooling U in 2010, aligning both organization’s portfolios of manufacturing-specific professional development, training products and services.
Today, Tooling U-SME offers more than 500 online classes, 60 instructor-led courses and hundreds of books and videos. For more information and to get your employees on the right track, visit toolingu.com.