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WINTER 2014

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Distributor's Link Magazine Winter Issue 2014 / VOL 37 / NO.1

14 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

14 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 to pass on his knowledge and experience to others in the fastener and automotive supplier industries. In addition to technical and business training courses, he does technical consulting and expert witness and consultation work. He can be reached at 847-867-7363 or Lclaus@NNiTraining.com. You can learn more about NNi at www.NNiTraining.com. WHY FASTENER DISTRIBUTORS SHOULD EMBRACE TRAINING During a visit home in my junior year of college, I was told a story about something that happened to two brothers I had known from scouting. They were a couple of years younger than me and still in high school at the time. Their father had purchased a car for them with expectations that they were to be responsible for its care and upkeep. In their zeal to prove to their father that he had made a wise investment in their development, they decided to change the oil themselves. So they went out, purchased several quarts of oil, a filter, and proceeded to drain and replace the oil. Reveling in their accomplishment they decided to take a “victory lap” around the block and so hopped in the car and took off. They had only gone a short distance when the car began to make funny noises, quickly followed by an explosion as their engine gave its last. They couldn’t “believe” what had just happened, they had done everything they had received guidance to do. They had drained the old oil, put in the new oil, replaced the filter, and the drain plug. How could things have gone so very wrong As they would later find out, it doesn’t help to fill the radiator with oil. They had mistaken the radiator cap to be the filling location for the crankcase and had filled the radiator with several quarts of oil. In retrospect they realized that a little bit of training and experienced guidance would have prevented a costly mistake. In the same way, we often introduce individuals into our businesses with nothing more than a rudimentary initiation into their new job. The further down into the organization one goes, generally, the less training or job preparation an individual receives. In fact, many operators receive little more instruction than a basic safety talk, directions to the cafeteria, and the expected times for them to show up and take breaks. Although modern quality system standards such as ISO 9000 require it, I know of no organization that does a satisfactory job acclimating “temporary” workers to the jobs they are brought in to do for a short time. In fact, it is probably remarkable that more institutions don’t actually experience major calamities at the hands of individuals that have only a short tenure with the organization. However, one doesn’t have to be “new” to a company to make a grievous error due to lack of training. People perform jobs all the time with a limited or incomplete understanding of them. Take for example the recent Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash landing in San Francisco. In this case, the pilots were guiding their Boeing 777 aircraft in for a landing when the plane dipped below safe landing speed and clipped the landing gear and tail section on a seawall at the end of the runway, resulting in a disastrous “belly flop” and subsequent crash landing. This accident cost three passengers their lives and countless others were injured. Although the root causes have not been definitively established, early speculation revolved around pilot error contributing to this accident. The three pilots in the cockpit at the time of the accident were all well respected and veterans of Asiana Airlines. However, the pilot in the left seat (Captain’s position) had only 43 hours of experience in the 777 and had never landed in San Francisco with this plane. The right seat pilot (Co-pilot position) was occupied by a company instructor with 3220 hours of time in a 777, but on his first flight ever as an instructor. please turn to page 172

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