by Joyelle Threinen
I began my career at Douglas Machine in 2007, and for nine of the last twelve years I have been assisting my fellow employee-owners with developing the skills needed to increase their job performance. In my role within the Talent Development department, I have the opportunity to meet with every new employee on their first day at Douglas. One of my greatest joys is seeing excited faces, and watching that excitement grow as we talk more about the company, our machines, and the people with which they’ll be working.
A comment I hear from new employees fairly often is that they are impressed with our level of training for new employees. As important as the training is from the perspective of our new employees, it’s even more beneficial to the company as a whole. Well-trained staff support greater productivity, accuracy and a safer work environment, which ultimately leads to a more successful company for its employee-owners. With the creation of our extensiveonboarding program, new employees can reduce the typical learning curve by an average of 50%, making them effective members of the team that much sooner!
Building Skills Internally
Talent Development at Douglas doesn’t just focus on building skills for new employees; we also focus on the continued training of existing employees. In this way, I’m able to stay connected with a large number of my co-workers. This training format helps to build our relationship with one another—and reminds them of my availability when questions or training concerns arise. Training requests might be for a refresher course on an infrequently used software, classroom training for a new process or procedure, or hands-on training for new technologies. Our machines are constantly being improved upon to better serve our customers, which creates a need for continuous training for those who design, build and service our equipment.
We partner with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to provide the hands-on training necessary for our employees to better understand new technologies and overall changes to our machines. Yet, hands-on training is only one piece of the overall training puzzle. When our employees travel regularly, as is the case for our service technicians, Douglas provides an online learning platform to keep everyone up to speed. My co-workers can log in from airplanes, hotel rooms, or customer facilities around the world and have quick access to instructional videos and presentations on dozens of topics.
Some of the training opportunities available to our employee-owners revolve around continuing education. Douglas encourages and provides financial support for employees who are looking to start and/or complete their degrees in higher-learning. With a company that is constantly growing, there are always opportunities for employees to pick up new skills and turn a good job into a great career.
I think this philosophy is one of the things I appreciate most about Douglas; the way that the company encourages each of us to continue to improve ourselves in whatever way makes sense to us. There are always opportunities for people who seek them out. Employees can take their education into their own hands by signing up for one of our monthly professional development courses. These courses cover topics that build specific skills and abilities, as well as those designed to increase knowledge on a specific subject. In addition, Douglas has two different programs geared around teaching new leaders, and potential leaders, all the skills necessary to be great at their jobs.
Training Designed for Douglas Customers
Taking it one step further, the knowledge gained through employee training is directly passed on to our customers. Douglas has certified technical trainers ready to provide Introductory Hands-on Training or Formal Training for our customers.
During hands-on training, a Douglas trainer works with the customer’s personnel, at the machine, to explain machine function from infeed to discharge. This type of training takes place close to the time of machine installation. The technician asks and answers questions to ensure the customer has a complete understanding of how to operate their equipment.
Douglas also offers a formal training program that customers can purchase, designed to provide high levels of technical training to strengthen the technical skills of a company’s staff and to streamline their performance and the performance of their machine.
Formal training is a combination of classroom and hands-on training. The optimal time to schedule this type of training is 4-6 weeks after the machine has been installed. A typical formal training session has up to 10 operator personnel in a classroom setting for three hours, and hands-on at the machine for five hours. In the day or two following, up to 10 maintenance personnel experience six hours of classroom training and 10 hours of hands-on training. The training manual and presentation provide visuals and videos of a customer’s particular machine and covers topics such as safety, sequence of events, changeover, servo homing, maintenance and troubleshooting.
Our Hands-on and Formal Training are designed to be customizable to meet our customer’s exact needs. Douglas Technical Trainers will work with customers to ensure their personnel are comfortable working with their equipment—and have the knowledge to operate and maintain it. With a well-trained staff, satisfied with knowing how to do their job well, an organization will benefit from increased performance and maintain its competitive edge.
Customized Training Solutions from Douglas Machine
Ready to learn more about Douglas and our customizable training solutions? Then be sure to call or message us today. You can also connect with us for more information on our powerful secondary packaging solutions. We can’t wait to hear from you.