Archive for August, 2014
A well-trained employee is important for any kind of business, from an office setting to the metal forming industry. A solid training and development plan is of vital importance in order to get the best out of your employees. There are two kinds of ways that you can do your training and development: you can either try to get them trained as fast as possible (without sacrificing quality, of course), or you can try to spread the training and development out far enough to allow the information to soak in. Neither of these tactics are bad, they’re merely meant for a different kind of employer. In this article, I’m going to elaborate the strengths, values, and advantages to doing the marathon runner style and hopefully help you understand which kind of trainer you are.
The “marathon runner” style is one that encourages a trainee to better understand the material with which they are presented. The benefits of doing this are not just intended for the trainer, it’s also hugely beneficial for trainees – no two people are alike, and as such, no two trainees are as well. Some trainees can absorb knowledge like a sponge, while others need to run this new knowledge through their heads. This is not to say that they are less capable employees: often, an employee who needs extra training may seem like a hassle, but truly, they prove to be an asset for your company.
This is a very real truth within the metal forming industry. You don’t want to have to rush your employees, yet you don’t want them dilly-dallying. I believe in training based on need. It takes a fine touch to be very good in the industry, as you only want the best quality out of what you make.
For more information about the metal forming industry and training and development, please contact me. I’m always happy to help.
What is project management? If you don’t know the answer to that question, your business might very well suffer for it. We all remember from our school days what it was like to try and finish a major project the night before it was due. Was this your best work? I know it wasn’t for me. Without good project management, your business is in danger of falling into the same trap of missed deadlines and poor quality.
So what does project management entail? To back to the school analogy, there was always that one kid who had everything planned out. They had a timeline to get each step in the project done and left plenty of time to complete and edit their work before it was due. That’s what project management is. In the real world, you are not just risking a bad grade when you do things at the last minute; you are risking the final condition of your product. By taking the time the beginning to really work through and plan how you are going to complete a project, you can ensure that each step is done on time and at the highest quality. Even better, good project management means that when problems do arise, you have the time and the budget to take care of them.
Yes, you may not need to plan out every detail if your project is small. On larger projects, understanding what project management is can mean a serious improvement in your bottom line. By taking the time to implement project management into your business you can ensure that your final product is something you can be proud of.
The definition of process development
Process development, or process improvement, can be defined as the creation and development of a process within the limits, first, of a specified parameter of requirements such as quality and cost and second, of a specified time frame during which a particular set of tasks is to be completed. It is one of five phases in the life cycle of the process, of which the other four, in the other in which they are undertaken, are:
- 1. Analysis—What type of process is to be developed?
- 2. Realization—how to make the process a reality
- 3. Control—what to do
- 4. Deployment—distributing human and mechanical resources in preparation for the work
During the development phase of the process, three basic tasks should be carried through to completion:
- 1. Potential ways of solving a particular need or problem by means of the process are found and evaluated. This step ensures that the process can be transformed.
- 2. A process design is created that outlines how it is expected that the process will solve that need or problem. In this step, those involved figure out how the required transformation is to be met.
- 3. A process model is drawn up that includes activity flow diagrams and everything that is dependent on them. Here, a process transformation model is proposed.
Always room for improvement
As the title of this article indicates, process improvement is always a possibility. No matter how efficiently a given process achieves its desired results, one can always find ways in which the same could be done in fewer steps and in less time.
At the Metalist
At Kryton Engineered Metals, a company in Cedar Falls, Iowa people come to us when they would like to have a metal product of some kind manufactured for them. I should mention, too, that process improvement is really our thing here, for we truly recognize the importance of innovation when it comes to managing and growing any successful enterprise. For instance, we are continually on the lookout for new ways in which a spun piece of metal can be tweaked so that the user can operate at the maximum level of efficiency. One more thing of which we are well aware is that rules were always meant to be broken. Some business people may justify failure to improve their processes by saying, “That’s the way it’s always been done here,” but that’s not the Kryton way.
Business leaders tend to be independent and we grow on the momentum of our own accomplishments. However, the truth of the matter is that no one knows everything and personal development hardly occurs in a vacuum. This is where the trend of peer consultation comes in.
Peer consultation is a process where those on equal employment footing and position request and share feedback with one another. Some arrangements are more formal and supervisory while others may be informal group settings. As a flexible arrangement, peer consultation offers many benefits to many different leadership and work styles.
Forms of Peer Consultation
Peer consultation arose primarily in the field of psychiatry but the model can work for business too.
A structured model would include a “supervisory” peer and the one receiving feedback. The latter would go ahead with their projects while the supervisor observes. After the projects are complete, the supervisor offers feedback. While this model is more hierarchical, the peer receiving feedback is welcome to consider or reject suggestions as seen fit.
Less structured models include peer consultation groups. While the groups adhere to a schedule, there is no further structure besides a time and meeting place. Group members will share ideas and ask for feedback on business situations—general or specific.
Benefits of Peer Consultation
Peer consultation focuses on professional and personal development and not just achieving specific goals or completing tasks. The lessons learned can be applied to all goals and tasks and not just limited to a specific duty in business.
Moving away from a hierarchical structure encourages interdependence between colleagues. Rather than many relying on one “expert”, all have a chance to become experts themselves. A challenge for me may be less of a challenge for a peer and I can learn and expand my abilities. This encourages leadership skills among other types of personal development.
Peer consultation is about choice. Not only can I choose which feedback is most appropriate for me, but I can also choose the peer consultant who is a good match.
No matter our capabilities and past accomplishments, there is always room for professional and personal growth. Other peers and their unique experiences can help shape ours. Try peering consultation today and see how your professional horizons can expand.