In any business, it takes a team of workers who are both skilled and motivated to ensure success. Without the right skills and motivation, workers simply cannot or will not create the kind of top-notch results that are needed for a business to grow.
This is a large part of the reason why Marlin Steel invests heavily in training for its employees. Fully five percent of Marlin’s labor costs are budgeted for training employees. By investing in employee training, Marlin’s workers are given the knowledge they need to work smarter and overcome the manufacturing challenges that they are faced with every day.
In fact, Marlin’s training focus has earned the attention of publications such as Industry Week, which awarded Marlin Steel’s CEO their “Manufacturing Leader of the Week” title.
More recently, Marlin Steel was featured in the pages of America’s Moment: Creating Opportunity in the Connected Age by Rework America.
What is Rework America?
Rework America is an initiative started by the Markle Foundation, which is dedicated to helping secure “the America we want our children to inherit—a country that is strong and inspires opportunity for all” for future generations.
Much of the Foundation’s work is centered on creating opportunities for growth, both for employers and employees. Training and recognizing skills are both key parts of Rework America’s personal development strategy for employees. This may be why Rework America chose to look at Marlin’s training program for their book.
Why Marlin’s Training Investments are Significant
In America’s Moment, it is mention that where Marlin budgets five percent of its labor costs for training, “the average in the precision metal-forming sector is around 1 percent” (Rework 122). This means that Marlin Steel invests five times as much into employee training as most other companies in the precision metal-forming industry does per labor dollar.
The Benefits of Investing in Employee Training
This dedication to developing employee skills has paid off for Marlin in several ways, including:
- Increased workforce flexibility. Cross-training for employees was a major focus of Marlin’s training efforts. Because of this, many of Marlin’s employees have the skills needed to run many different machines and processes. Now, when one employee takes a leave of absence, someone else can cover for him or her and keep production running smoothly.
- Increased innovation in production. Knowledgeable employees are better equipped to handle sudden production challenges and find creative, safe, and effective solutions for them. These employees can identify and assess problems more reliably than undertrained personnel because they understand the cause for an issue.
- Increased productivity. A trained employee is more likely to be able to look at a given process, find inefficiencies, and create improvements that speed up production without impacting quality than an undertrained employee.
- Improved morale. Getting employee engaged with their work is one of the biggest challenges in any manufacturer. Employees who don’t know everything that they need to know about their job can quickly become frustrated, limiting their productivity. Trained employees know their jobs and what’s required of them, leaving them less likely to get confused and frustrated by their work.
In the book by Rework America, the author highlights an example of how Marlin’s training investments paid off for the company, citing a story where a retailer had ordered “7,000 wire baskets with particular specs from a Chinese manufacturer, but the supplier could not ship them on time” (122).
Frustrated by the delay in delivery, the company reached out to Marlin Steel for the time-sensitive delivery of the wire baskets. Although Marlin had never made that type of basket before then, as Drew states in an excerpt from the book, “we can offer speed to our customers because of our engineering skills and cross-training. We produced prints quickly and moved people to cell to produce that work in a hurry.”
In the end, Marlin’s team of trained engineers and production specialists was able to complete the customer’s order and get them the product they needed before the deadline so their own production schedule could continue uninterrupted.
Get another example of how Marlin helped other companies meet their production goals by checking out the case study at the link below.
To grab a copy of Rework America’s book, check out their Amazon.com store page.
Rework America. America’s Moment: Creating Opportunity in the Connected Age. W. W. Norton & Company. New York, NY. 2015. Print.