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Distributor's Link Magazine Fall 2021 / Vol 44 No 4


36 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Laurence Claus Laurence Claus is the President of NNi Training and Consulting, Inc. He has 25 years of experience with a medium sized automotive fastener manufacturer, holding positions including Vice President of Engineering, General Manager, Director of Quality, Director of New Business Development and Applications Engineer. In 2012 he formed NNi offering technical and business training courses as well as technical consulting, expert witness and consultation work. He can be reached at 847-867-7363 or by email: You can learn more about NNi at “ANYONE? ANYONE?” – HAS YOUR TEAM DECIDED TO TAKE THE DAY OFF FROM TRAINING? At one point in the 1986 John Hughes classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, we are transported into the Economics class that Ferris has cut, where actor and comedian Ben Stein is droning on in a tedious and mind-numbing monotone. As Stein proceeds through his lesson on the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act, he continually seeks engagement from his students by intoning the now cult classic lines “Anyone? Anyone?” Unfortunately for him, he is playing to a comatose audience, artfully captured as the camera pans around the classroom exposing student after student either in bored stupor or sleeping. We all laugh at such a scene, not only for its hilarity, but because deep down we can all commiserate with these trapped students. Surely at some time in our lives, we have had a similar experience. Of course, if these students are the team of individuals you want to get trained, such an episode is no laughing matter. Training, like just about any other activity under your roof, requires a deliberateness and level of excellence that we cannot simply leave to casual chance. When it comes to training, I consistently observe two things in many organizations. First, training is not really ingrained in the culture. Oh, the organization engages in training, but more because they feel it allows them to “check off a box” to impress a customer or a Quality Management System auditor rather than really bring value to their team or organization. Secondly, most organizations focus on quantity versus quality. Please don’t get me wrong, surely there are many subjects ripe for training in the ordinary fastener distributor and I am not trying to suggest that we necessarily do less training. However, I have yet to have a client ask me about how they can improve the effectiveness of the training they are doing, TECHNICAL ARTICLE because they are not programmed to think about training in this way. From my perspective this is a critical question that all fastener distributors should be wrestling with. Once you have identified what training and development is necessary for every member of your team, then it becomes important to determine how the training they will receive is going to be most effective. This article will explore the different methods for training at your disposal and several tips on how you might go about improving them and making them more effective. Why Train? If I posed this question to you, “why should you train your team”, it is very likely that you would respond with something like “duh, isn’t that obvious?” You might explain to me that your Quality Management System has requirements in it for training, that conducting training looks good to a customer or other individual, or that we are wired to learn so it’s just the “right thing to do”. If I pushed, however, and asked you to really dig deep and think about all the value training brings, several very compelling ideas might surface. [1] Improved Productivity - Study after study show that training makes team members more productive and accelerates the productivity of those new to an organization or role. Although it depends on the job function, recent studies indicate that it normally takes between eight months to several years for new team members to reach full productivity. Training can dramatically shorten that cycle and bring new team members up-to-speed faster providing your organization improved productivity and efficiency. CONTINUED ON PAGE 120


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